The Barefoot Summer by Carolyn Brown
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via Netgalley
Rating: 3 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017NewRelease, #COYER
Goodreads ~ Amazon
Leaving one widow behind is unfortunate. Leaving three widows behind is just plain despicable. Oil heiress Kate Steele knew her not-so-dearly departed husband was a con man, but she's shocked that Conrad racked up two more wives without divorcing her first. The only remnant of their miserable marriage she plans to keep is their lakeside cabin in Bootleg, Texas. Unfortunately, she's not the only woman with that idea.
Fiery, strong-willed Jamie wishes Conrad were still alive--so she could kill the scoundrel herself. But for their daughter's sake, she needs that property. As does Amanda--twenty-eight, pregnant, and still weeping over the loss of her true love. On a broiling July day, all three arrive in Bootleg...with a dogged detective right behind who's convinced that at least one of them conspired to commit murder. One momentous summer filled with revelations, quirky neighbors, and barefoot evenings on the porch offers three women the chance to make the journey from enemies to friends, and claim a bright, new beginning.
I've read Carolyn Brown before so when I saw her name attached to this title, I didn't hesitate to request it. The Barefoot Summer wasn't exactly what I was expecting but it was a pretty good read.
The premise is what originally drew my attention. Three women realizing they were all married to the same man? And that realization coming at his funeral?? Yeah. And then all three showing up at a cabin they'd shared with said man, ultimately deciding to share it for the summer? Well, it kinda sounded like a fun read. However, the story ended up being a bit deeper - murder investigation notwithstanding - and if the execution had been a tad tighter, it'd have been excellent. As it stands, it was pleasant.
The story overall is about these three women doing some soul searching. Do our decisions determine the direction of their lives? Karma? Fate? God? What makes a family? These are questions they ask themselves and each other as they spend the summer together. It's set in small-town Texas, where everyone knows everyone else's business - and I loved that element. The three wives Conrad left, Kate the oil heiress and determined businesswoman, Jamie the school teacher who is also mother to adorable Gracie, and Amanda the pregnant thrift store owner and youngest of the three, are all so different. And yet there are qualities they share, obviously, as they all married the same man. What they learn about themselves and each other over the course of the summer was a delight to be witness to.
My issue with the story is mostly that everything happened rather quickly and I didn't get to develop a deep connection with the characters. I liked them all well enough but the connection could have been stronger. And there was one element where my suspension of disbelief was challenged. Not sure that element was at all realistic.
At any rate, it was a sweet read. It had so much potential and could have been outstanding if only...