Review: Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter

barefoot summer book coverPublisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-1401687007
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Rating: 5

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?


Hmm, where should I start? There are so many things I’d like to write about this book but so little space. When I read Denise Hunter’s Facebook status post about the release of Barefoot Summer, I was so excited. Firstly, I love reading any books written by a member of the Girls Write Out group. Their books are always unfailing good. Secondly, I’ve read and reviewed two of Denise’s books. If Barefoot Summer is anything up to their par, I knew that I would have a great read, and my expectations weren’t disappointed.

Barefoot Summer oozes tension through every page. The agony, guilt and tension that came from the main characters were so palpable. I’ve never read a book, not a mystery or thriller, that has kept me on the edge of my seat so much as Barefoot Summer has. And I’ve never read a romance book that has given me so much angst like Barefoot Summer has. Whenever something right was done or happened, I would just be waiting for the next bad thing to happen. Maybe it’s my pessimism, but it was hard to not anticipate a disaster when the characters were keeping many secrets.

“You’ve always been afraid of feeling, Madison. Sometimes these negative feelings are so strong, they’re overwhelming, and its easier just not to deal with them. But death is part of life Not my favorite part, not by a long shot. But god does not owe us ninety years on this earth. Life is a gift, however long it lasts. It’s God’s to give and take away as He sees fit. We go through life thinking we’re entitled to our ninety, but we’re not entitled to anything. All we can do is trust that He knows what He’s doing. That he has a plan for all of us, and that no pain He allows in our life will go unused.”

—Quote from Barefoot Summer

Right from the start of the acquaintanceship, Beckett and Madison has misunderstood each other more than anyone should. Whether it was a wrong impression, or an action misunderstood, or something else, misunderstandings between them seemed to pile up one after the other. As expected, such a relationship based on misunderstandings and miscommunication would have a rocky start. And what a rocky beginning they had! Many times, as I read, I would wish that one or the other would just ‘fess up and speak out what they’re thinking instead of just bottling everything up.

I love the way the relationship between Beckett and Madison grew. Beckett, despite his seeming toughness and bad boy behavior, is a vulnerable person. Underneath his tough exterior, he had insecurities just like everyone else. Madison, even with her devoted Christian family background, is weighed down by her own personal demons. She has lost nearly all her faith and surprisingly, the last person she expects to point her to the right path is the one who gets her back on track again. It definitely isn’t easy for two people with very different family backgrounds and situation to form a relationship. It didn’t help that both of them were weighed down by guilt that was festering beneath the surface, threatening to break out any any time. Thankfully, both of them had people in their lives who could push them into the right direction. Even with that, they still had to fight to overcome their problems.

Conclusion: There’s nothing that I don’t like about Barefoot Summer. It is the most thrilling romance and faith book I’ve ever read. Any reader would be able to feel the emotions the characters were experiencing. Plus, (and I can’t resist adding this) I liked that there was a character named Evangeline in the story. She made a very short appearance and I certainly wouldn’t identify with an old woman, but hey, I definitely had a “that’s my name!” moment.

denise hunter authorAbout the author

Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she’s been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too! Visit her website at



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author through the Booksneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted on June 13, 2013, in Book Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Thanks for your review 🙂 I have really been looking forward to reading this book!! Hunter is definately one of my favourite authors. Can’t wait to see what she writes next.

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