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Barefoot: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – August 2, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 328 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From 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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'Wry and moving' Sainsbury's magazine 'Touching and uplifting' U Magazine 'A fun read' Star --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; Reissue edition (August 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316051950
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316051958
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (328 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading The Love Season, I was a little worried about a new book by Hildebrand, but this book blew me away. The story is about 3 women spending the summer together in Nantucket (of course) together to get through some very rough times. The main character, Vicki, has just been diagnosed with lung cancer - it is her idea to spend the summer at her beach house with her two very young children and her sister, Brenda, and best friend, Melanie.

Brenda and Melanie have problems of their own to settle over the summer. Brenda was just fired for dating a student at the college she taught at and sued for throwing a book into a painting. Melanie just found out she was pregnant after months of trying with the husband who has been cheating on her. The girls are all saved by a young college boy home for the summer who baby-sits Vicki's kids and brings normalcy and solace to the women.

If you've ever lost someone to cancer or have cared for someone going through chemo, this is a very emotional and sensitive book to read, it's so dead-on to what you feel and go through when you're involved in something like that.

It was just such a good book, and I would recommend it to anyone.
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Format: Hardcover
The most surprising thing about "Barefoot" was that it had some surprises tucked away for its characters. For a book that seemed to be standard-issue "chick lit" -- which can also translate to "predictable" or "formulaic" -- it was refreshing to not have everything end up as predicted in the opening chapters.

Thankfully, there's also some depth here. The characters explore topics that are pretty weighty for this genre: how to cope with a life-threatening disease, how to deal with infidelity, how to accept one's bad decisions, how to understand the impact of a new child.

A certain sweetness is threaded through this story, even as the women each deal with the ugliness of their realities. It's a sweetness that's mostly delivered by the reliable dose of cuteness, in this book by a combination of cute kids and a cute, nice young man. If you're OK with being manipulated a bit by that literary device, "Barefoot" is a good read indeed.
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Format: Hardcover
Nantucket. Vacation, summer, family, friends, ocean, sand... rejuvenation. At least, that's what it's supposed to be about. For sisters Vicki and Brenda, and their friend Melanie, a small cottage on the island represents each of them a reprieve from their major life crises.

Vicki is facing the terror of a life-threatening illness. With two small sons, she's all too aware of the stakes should she succumb. Brenda's career at a prestigious university has ended in the flames of a passionate fling with a student, even though he was her age. Melanie, after years of in vitro treatments halted by news of her husband's infidelity, has just learned she's pregnant.

Enter Josh Flynn. He and his father are permanent islanders who depend on the tourist season for their living. Tired of working for his dad, Josh takes up an interesting job so he'll have money when he goes back to college in the fall.

Four very different people face four very different turning points while trying to find peace in a small Nantucket cottage. Nobody knows where the summer will lead, but one thing is for sure: when fall arrives, none of them will be the same.

In this fresh take on the "bonding"/"girlfriends" theme, Elin Hilderbrand brings disparate personalities into a seemingly idyllic setting. As with any good bonding story, tensions between the characters begins to build from the beginning. Each person's crisis ebbs and flows like the waves at the beach, in accord with all that's happening with everyone else, leaving the characters dependent upon each other.

Hilderbrand displays a talent for drawing the reader's senses into each scene, allowing vivid mind pictures where the story plays out.
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By A Customer on June 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Home for the summer, Middlebury College student Josh Flynn meets the two siblings (Brenda and Vicki) and their friend (Melanie) at the Nantucket Airport where he works. The three females and Vicki's two young children will share the small cottage owned by their late aunt while escaping their woes and hoping to regain some equilibrium in their respective lives.

Vicki suffers from lung cancer and will undergo chemotherapy. Brenda recently was fired for breaking the prime directive of college professors when she had an affair with a student; albeit older than her. Finally, Melanie who spent years and tons of money seeking to become pregnant finally succeeded only to ironically learn her spouse is cheating on her. These BAREFOOT females spend the summer of self recrimination with Josh at their side wondering what fall will bring.

This deep character study will hook the audience who will want to know what is happening to each of the women. However, at the same time that contemporary fiction fans will appreciate the drama, only Vicki elicits empathy as she philosophizes about what used to be significant to her but those "Things That No Longer Mattered" once she received the medical verdict; Melanie seems more like a whiner who drove her spouse elsewhere and though realistic Brenda comes across as a hard butt with a chip on her shoulder. Still genre fans will enjoy spending a Nantucket summertime with Elin Hilderbrand's three females.

Harriet Klausner
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