Barefoot

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Three women arrive at the local airport, observed by Josh, a Nantucket native home from college for the summer. Burdened with small children, unwieldy straw hats, and some obvious emotional issues, the women-- two sisters and one friend--make their way to the sisters' tiny cottage, inherited from an aunt. They're all trying to escape from something: Melanie, after seven failed in-vitro attempts, learned her husband was having an affair, and then discovered she's pregnant; Brenda embarked on a passionate affair ...

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Barefoot

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Overview

Three women arrive at the local airport, observed by Josh, a Nantucket native home from college for the summer. Burdened with small children, unwieldy straw hats, and some obvious emotional issues, the women-- two sisters and one friend--make their way to the sisters' tiny cottage, inherited from an aunt. They're all trying to escape from something: Melanie, after seven failed in-vitro attempts, learned her husband was having an affair, and then discovered she's pregnant; Brenda embarked on a passionate affair with an older student that got her fired from her prestigious job as a professor in New York; and her sister Vicki, mother to two small boys, has been diagnosed with lung cancer. Soon Josh is part of the chaotic household, acting as babysitter, confidant, and, eventually, lover.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Hilderbrand's sixth novel heaps on the trauma as a substitute for realistic connection in this heady mix of beach house, cancer, affair and mom lit. Connecticut housewife Vicki, diagnosed with lung cancer, has packed up her two kids for a chemo-commuting summer at the family's Nantucket cabin; sister Brenda, a newly minted high-powered assistant professor, has just been fired for having an affair with one of her students; Vicki's best friend, Melanie, newly pregnant, has discovered her husband is cheating. The three hit the tarmac of the tiny island airport, where they run into home-for-the-summer Middlebury senior Josh Flynn, who has a summer job there that he hates. Hardened cliché Brenda pines for her stereotypically weathered Australian lover. Melanie is a chronic complainer until she romances grim aspiring writer Josh, whom she has run into again and brought on as the house babysitter. (Josh thinks his old girlfriend should "locate her center" and "operate from a place of security.") Of the three women, only the suffering, stubborn Vicki, who keeps a list of "Things That No Longer Mattered" and cries when she can't seduce her visiting husband, draws readerly sympathy. There are some tender moments in Hilderbrand's latest beacher, but others are as irritating as sand in your swimsuit. (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket. Hilderbrand's saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she's fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie's husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he's believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki's bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death. Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand's hands it's easy to get lost in the story.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316018586
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 7/2/2007
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Elin Hilderbrand

Elin Hilderbrand lives on Nantucket with her husband and their three young children. She grew up in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, and traveled extensively before settling on Nantucket, which has been the setting for her five previous novels. Hilderbrand is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the graduate fiction workshop at the University of Iowa.

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Read an Excerpt

Barefoot


By Elin Hilderbrand

Little, Brown and Company

Copyright © 2007 Elin Hilderbrand
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6


Chapter One

JUNE

Three women step off of a plane. It sounded like the start of a joke. Joshua Flynn, age twenty-two, native of Nantucket Island, senior at Middlebury College, summer employee of the Nantucket Memorial Airport, where his father was an air traffic controller, noticed the women immediately. They arrived on a US Airways flight from LaGuardia. Three women, two small children, nothing unusual about that, so what caught Josh's eye? Josh Flynn was a creative-writing student at Middlebury, and his mentor, the writer-in-residence, Chas Gorda, liked to say that a writer smells a good story in the air like it's an approaching storm. The hair on your arms will stand up, Chas Gorda promised. Josh checked his forearms-nothing-and tugged at his fluorescent orange vest. He approached the plane to help Carlo unload the luggage. Josh's father, Tom Flynn, would be at a computer terminal five stories above Josh's head, occasionally spying out the window to make sure Josh was doing what he called "a decent job." Being under surveillance like this provided as unsettling a work situation as Josh could imagine, and so in the two weeks he'd been at it, he'd learned to sniff for stories without giving himself away.

Two of the women stood on the tarmac. Josh could tell they were sisters. Sister One was very thin with long light-brown hair that blew all over the place in the breeze; she had a pointy nose, blue eyes, and she was visibly unhappy. Her forehead was as scrunched and wrinkled as one of those funny Chinese dogs. Sister Two had the same blue eyes, the same sharp nose, but instead of scowling, Sister Two's face conveyed baffled sadness. She blinked a lot, like she was about to cry. She was heavier than her sister, and her hair, cut bluntly to her shoulders, was a Scandinavian blond. She carried a fl oral-print bag bursting with diapers and a colorful set of plastic keys; she was taking deep, exaggerated breaths, as though the flight had just scared her to death.

The third woman teetered at the top of the steps with a baby in her arms and a little boy of about four peeking around her legs. She had a pretty, round face and corkscrew curls that peeked out from underneath a straw hat. She was wearing jeans with muddy knees and a pair of rubber clogs.

The sisters waited at the bottom of the stairs for this third woman to descend. Heavy-breathing Sister reached out for the baby, shaking the keys. "Come to Mama," she said. "Here, Melanie, I'll take him." In addition to the baby, Straw Hat held a package of Cheez-Its, a green plastic cup, and an air-sickness bag. She was two steps from the ground when the little boy behind her shouted, "Auntie Brenda, here I come!"

And jumped.

He was aiming for Scowling Sister, but in his excitement, he hurtled his forty-some pound body into the back of Straw Hat, who went sprawling onto the tarmac with the baby. Josh bolted forward-though he knew he wouldn't be quick enough to save anyone. Straw Hat covered the baby's head with her hands and took the brunt of the fall on her knees and her left arm. Ouch.

"Melanie!" Heavy-breathing Sister cried. She dropped the diaper bag and raced toward Straw Hat. The baby wasn't making any noise. Neck broken. Dead. Josh felt his spirit trickle onto the tarmac as though he'd wet his pants. But then-a cry! The baby had merely been sucking in air, released now in heroic tones. The baby was alive! Heavy-breathing Sister took the baby and studied him for obvious injury, then shushed him against her shoulder. Scowling Sister approached with the perpetrator of the crime, older brother, clinging to her legs.

"Is the baby okay?" Scowling Sister asked. Her expression shifted from impatient to impatient and concerned.

"He's fine," Heavy-breathing Sister said. "Just scared." She reached out to Straw Hat. "Are you okay, Melanie? Are you okay? Do you feel okay?"

Melanie dusted the tarmac grit off her face; there was a scrape on her elbow, some blood. The Cheez-Its blew off down the runway; the plastic cup rolled to Josh's feet. He picked it up, and the air-sickness bag as well.

"Would you like me to get a first-aid kit?" he asked Melanie. She put a hand to her cheek, and the other hand massaged her stomach. "Oh, no. Thank you, though. I'm fine."

"Are you sure?" Heavy-breathing Sister said. "What about ...?" "I'm fine," Melanie said.

"Blaine will apologize," Heavy-breathing Sister said. "Apologize, Blaine."

"Sorry," the boy mumbled. "You could have hurt your brother. You could have hurt Melanie. You just can't do things like that, sweetheart. You have to be careful."

"He said he was sorry, Vick," Scowling Sister said. This was not joke material. The three women, collectively, were the most miserable-looking people Josh had ever seen.

"Welcome to Nantucket," Josh said, hoping his words might cheer them, though Carlo was always reminding him that he was not an ambassador. He should just tend to the bags; his father would be watching.

Scowling Sister rolled her eyes. "Thanks a lot," she said.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand Copyright © 2007 by Elin Hilderbrand. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 703 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 21 – 40 of 705 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2013

    A wonderful and heartwarming book!

    I couldn't put this book down! A great read that makes you happy, hopeful, and cry all ay the same time! I higlu recomend it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2012

    Great story!

    What a wonderful story! The story brings you into their lives right from the start and you grow with them. Very enjoyable and recommend

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  • Posted July 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Anne B. for Readers Favorite I recently received th

    Reviewed by Anne B. for Readers Favorite

    I recently received the audio version of "Barefoot: A Novel" by Elin Hilderbrand. Hilderbrand won my admiration when I first read "The Castaways". Since then I have read "A Summer Affair", "The Island", and now I can add "Barefoot" to that list. I have quite a list of favorite authors and Elin Hilderbrand is at the top. To some degree her books remind me of Nicholas Sparks. His books touch the heart, and are character driven and realistic and usually make me cry. I can say the same things about Hilderbrand’s books. Mr. Sparks definitely has competition! "Barefoot" is my favorite Hilderbrand novel to this date. This is not a book you can halfheartedly read; the plot demands your full attention. In "Barefoot" we meet Vicky, Brenda, and Melanie as they disembark the plane at Nantucket along with two children. Each female is facing a situation. Vicky has lung cancer and returns to Nantucket for the summer, where she feels secure. She invites her sister and best friend to accompany her. Her sister Brenda tags along to take care of Vicky and the boys while she works on her screen play. She was recently fired from her position at a college for dating one of her students and vandalizing a painting by hitting it with a book. Vicky’s best friend Melanie has just discovered she is pregnant and that her husband is having an affair. Brenda soon realizes she cannot handle her two young nephews, take care of Vicky and work on her screen play all at the same time, so they hired a young college student, Josh to help out. They soon discover that he is a help to all of them.

    Hilderbrand’s characters are beautifully created. At first I wasn’t sure I liked Melanie; she whined a lot and seemed pretty useless when it came to helping out around the cottage. Brenda comes across as hard nose but soon we discover her softer side. Vicky is fighting for her life; she is terrified. I quickly came to care about each woman. I was caught up in their lives. I found myself in tears more than once before finishing this book. Until Hilderbrand’s next book comes out, "Barefoot" is her best!

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  • Posted July 9, 2012

    Loved it!!

    Another great read by Elin Hilderbrand. What can I say but to keep them coming. Believable characters in believable situations.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2012

    Loved this book!

    Great summer read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2012

    I LOVED this book. After the first 20 pages the book flew by. I

    I LOVED this book. After the first 20 pages the book flew by. I really thought I'd be reading this for at least two weeks but I was done in 5 days. Loved the characters and their stories and I felt like part of the family. I just finished it last night and all day the story has popped into my head and I'm sad to see it end. This is my first book of reading this author and look forward to reading another one of hers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2012

    Her best

    This book was by far my favorite book of hers. I really connected with the characters. Great read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2012

    Not my usual type of book...

    I was pleasently surprized... enjoyed it very much! Couldn't put it down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2012

    Good book

    I did read this book on my nook. But when I did read this book I loved it, I really enjoyed the book and I would definitely read it again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    Loved it

    It started off slow for me but once I got into it I couldn't put it down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    Enjoyed

    Nice reminder about how precious life is

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2011

    Good book

    Great beach read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2011

    Loved it!

    Great story and perfect for a beach read!

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  • Posted October 9, 2011

    Love

    Great book.... thus book had me RUNNING out to buy more of this author's work

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  • Posted July 20, 2011

    MUST READ!!!

    I bought this book because it was on sale at Barnes and Noble store by my house and I must say it was a steal. This was the first novel that I ever read that was written by Elin Hilerbrand and I must say when I was done with this book and I went out and bought her other novels. She is now one of my favorites. This book made me cry, laugh and wonder what if. I felt like i was actually part of the book. You will enjoy this book. Its a great read!

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  • Posted July 9, 2011

    Great beach read

    Very entertaining

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2011

    Barefoot

    I was hooked from the start, my first read with this author. I too, like other nook readers can find her books cheaper, what is wrong with this picture. Loved the book, great summer read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2011

    Hilderbrand impresses!

    Barefoot is such a great book,I became very connected with each and every character. Although a little slow in the beginning, the action picks up and then I couldn't put it down. You have to read this book, and you cannot beat the price! : )

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  • Posted June 17, 2011

    Excellent

    Read this after it was recommended by a Barnes & Noble sales person. It was engrossing and very well written. I loved the characters and now that I rushed through it because I couldn't put it down, I find myself wanting more!

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  • Posted June 3, 2011

    LOVED IT--A MUST READ!

    Terrific book! Great beach read. This is the first I have read by Elin Hilderbrand and I must say I love her style. The way in which she tells the story, every word, pulls you in closer to the characters and what they are feeling and going through. I look forward to reading more by this same author.

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