Chapel Springs, #1Book Cover and Synopsis:
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?
My source for book: Local libraryMy Thoughts:
There's a lot of high praise going around for this book, and I have to say it's well deserved. Upon starting the book, I quickly blew through the first 6 chapters in just one sitting! The characters, the setting, and the deeply interlaced storyline have a way of drawing you in, making it hard to put the book down. There's so much twisted up in Madison and Beckett's relationship, and it's very satisfying to see their interactions when they are--reluctantly--thrust together with a common goal.
The writing is so vivid that I almost felt like I was experiencing everything the characters did. From Madison's fear of water in the midst of taking swimming lessons, to Beckett's guilt over his un-confessed youthful misdeed, the depth of the emotion is so intense that it's like you're right there with the characters. When Madison reached her emotional breaking point, her turmoil actually gave me a rather somber feeling, as if I could truly sympathize with her despite the fact that I've never been through anything even remotely similar. In the same vein, Beckett's situation with his alcoholic father also tugged at my heart, leaving me feeling so sorry for him. The emotions and situations are just so striking that you can't help but connect with the characters.
The length is average for a book of this genre, but yet it actually seemed longer--in a good way--because so much content was covered. I admit that I was able to predict a few of the plot points along the way, but it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the story in the least. If anything, it only proved that I was on the same wave-length as the author, wanting the story to move in the same direction! :)
Overall, I definitely recommend Barefoot Summer. The author has some serious talent on her hands, it's honestly hard to find any fault at all. Though it's just a fraction of the story, I never thought reading about something as mundane as swimming lessons could be so enthralling! :) I also liked Madison's and Beckett's dogs--it's a small detail, but their inclusion made the story that much more real. The bottom line is this: pick this book up, I think you'll be glad you did!
My Rating: 5 stars