Published by Brilliance Audio
Released on January 3, 2017
A con man is murdered and the police investigation digs up not one, but three widows. All are shocked and all are down-right determined to spend the summer at his lake-side cabin for the summer. It was a fun premise, a favorite author, and a narrator I already love so I kicked off my sandals and joined the gals at the lake.
Kate Steele has had a marriage in name only for many years now to Conrad and an acrimonious one at that when he found out he could trick her into marriage, but not out of her oil company inheritance. But, even she was shocked when he was shot and she becomes the number one suspect followed by two more wives who thought they were Conrad’s one and only. Her workaholic no-nonsense mother wears a sour ‘I-told-you-so’ expression and tells her to get out of Dallas until the dust settles and then she needs to come back prepared to take over the business when her mother retires. Kate is unsettled about all that gets revealed, but also about Waylon the nearly retired detective on the case who is a full time cowboy and getting away gets her to thinking hard about other paths and new desires.
Elementary school teacher, Jamie always wondered about Conrad’s need to be away so much, but never in a million years did she think he was a cheater and she’d end up a fake wife. She holds her anger to herself because her adorable daughter Gracie should be allowed to grieve her daddy. She doesn’t know about the other two wives, but she’s taking her child to the lake-side cabin for a summer of fun before reality has to set in. If she has to share with the other two, so be it.
Amanda is caring the man’s baby and thought she had found the love of her life. Her anger is directed at those other two lying hussies who aren’t Conrad’s wives. There are divorce papers, surely. She needs to look to her child’s future and she intends to spend the days before the birth at the cabin where she had her honeymoon with Conrad. Those other two might insist on being there and they don’t even more his passing, but she was his true wife, right?
The Barefoot Summer is about three very different women from different walks of life. They are hostile, resentful, and even suspicious at first. But, slowly, they find common ground as they share their lives and experiences and start to compare notes about the man who tricked and used them all. Gracie is the sweet distraction and becomes their shared focal interest. She pulls them out of their wallowing and they all make an effort for her sake.
As with any book by this author, there are friendly neighbors, small town happenings, ranch life, country living, and relationships and family. At first, romance wasn’t a strong element, but two of the women have love interests. I got a kick out of feisty Kate and phlegmatic Waylon’s romance. He really does suspect her as the killer even while he gets a kick out of her snippy airs toward him. She relaxes and softens out in the country and it is Kate who got the lion’s share of the story narrative.
It was fun having Kate, Jamie, and Amanda interacting and all sharing the cabin. Just as Kate changes when she gets a chance to see a different life possibility, the same happens for the other two as well. Conrad was despicable, but he did give them that and the chance to know each other.
It’s a gently-paced story with no big drama moments or much tension, but it was engaging and heartwarming.
Donna Postel is a narrator I came to appreciate when she did another Carolyn Brown book. She has a husky yet versatile voice that gets a slight drawl and good distinction of character voices. There is a sparkle to her work, if I might call it that. I relaxed and enjoyed the story as a result and definitely want to listen to more of her work.
All in all, The Barefoot Summer was a great escape listen and encapsulated the summer season and the Texas country setting by the lake. I can definitely recommend it to those who enjoy women’s fic crossed over with contemporary romance.
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