Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter
Thomas Nelson, May 28 2013

Madison’s heart has been closed for years. But one summer can change everything.

In the years since her twin brother’s drowning, Madison McKinley has struggled to put it behind her. Despite the support of her close-knit family and her gratifying job as a veterinarian in their riverside town, the loss still haunts her.

To find closure, Madison sets out to fulfill her brother’s dream of winning the town’s annual regatta. But first she has to learn to sail, and fast.

Beckett O’Reilly knows Madison is out of his league, but someone neglected to tell his heart. Now she needs his help—and he’ll give it, because he owes her far more than she’ll ever know.

Madison will do anything—even work with the infamous Beckett O’Reilly—to reach her goal. And as much as she’d like to deny it, the chemistry between them is electrifying. As summer wanes, her feelings for him grow and a fledgling faith takes root in her heart.

But Beckett harbors a secret that will test the limits of their new love. Can their romance survive summer’s challenges? And will achieving her brother’s dream give Madison the peace she desperately seeks?

Another great read by my go-to author for romance – Denise Hunter. In fact, every time I read a new book of hers, I’m inspired to go back to my favorite book of hers – Sweetwater Gap. It’s winter here, so it’s nice to pick up a book saturated in summer and romance. Makes our dreary days go a little faster!

I liked this story – I liked Madison and the issues she was dealing with. She felt like a woman with heart and depth and I liked her history with Beckett – what a nice touch! She felt like a real person, struggling with real stuff and that stuff interrupts her life on all levels – as it does in real life. My only quibble was with her family. Too many people for me to keep track of well. Maybe the next book in the series I will be able to know who’s who better.

Beckett, didn’t steal my heart. He was a great romantic lead, but for me there was something lacking in him. I’m not even sure what that is at this point. I did love how he patiently taught Madison to overcome her debilitating fear of water. He is misunderstood and having lived with the stigma of the bad boy of high school, he struggles to overthrow it into adulthood. It’s also very possible, people in town never quite believe he’s changed. I liked the story with his father. It was hard but touching to see a relationship begin to slowly repair.

You have written another great book Denise and I’m keen to read more in this series. Thanks!