I enjoy Susan Mallery’s books and was very happy when I saw she was starting a new series. Barefoot Season, a Blackberry Island novel, came out a few months ago. This looks like a fluffy summer romance, but it isn’t.
Michelle Sanderson returns home to the Blackberry Island Inn to claim her inheritance and recover both physically and emotionally from the trauma of serving in a war zone. But instead of peace, she finds unwanted physical changes to her childhood home. Her recently deceased mother had made several unwise financial decisions while renovating the inn, and Michelle is facing foreclosure if she can’t catch up on the bills. To top it off, her ex-best friend, Carly, is living in the owner’s suite and is firmly entrenched in running the business.
Despite Michelle wishing she didn’t need Carly’s help to run the Inn, she comes to realize that Carly has good ideas about how to bring in new business. And Carly realizes that working with Michelle isn’t as unpredictable as working for Michelle’s mother. She learns to trust Michelle at her word. As the women work to get the Inn back in the black, they also rebuild their own lives and start to rebuild the friendship they once shared.
Barefoot Season is less “romancey” than Mallery’s Fool’s Gold series. There is a romantic element, but this novel is more about women’s friendships and healing wounds from the past. One of the things I particularly liked about this book is Michelle’s recovery from PTSD. Michelle isn’t infallible, and it takes time for her to realize that she needs help. That plotline added a particularly poignant depth to the story.
Check the WRL catalog for Barefoot Season