Saturday, February 11, 2012

Barefoot Season by Susan Mallery

Michelle Sanderson is returning to Blackberry Island after years at war. She has a hip injury from being shot and PTSD but she wants to go take over the inn left to her by her father.
But the place she left isn't what she remembers. For one, her ex-BFF, Carly Williams, is now the inn's manager. Why is she ex? Well, it seems that Carly found her fiance and Michelle (our heroine?) in bed together. A pregnant Carly married the man anyway and he promptly ran off with all her money. But Michelle's mother helped Carly out and now she's running the inn, even living there with her now-ten-year-old daughter.
Michelle tries to fire Carly but finds out that under the terms of the second mortgage on the inn (it seems she left her mother to run the place, and she did, right into the ground,) Carly has to stay in charge. Michelle obviously can't stay so she finds an apartment on her own.  In order to save the inn, Michelle and Carly will have to figure out a way to work beyond their past.
This is a great look into the life of a returning soldier. Certainly more realistic than most romance novels, including Michelle's problems with alcoholism.
This is not a traditional romance. There are some handsome men in the story (at least one ech for Carly and Michelle,) but the book is really more about exploring the rebuilding of Carly and Michelle's relationship. While the writing style is fairly similar to her other stories, the type of story is a departure from the other Mallery series I've read but a very welcome and enjoyable one. (But please don't stop the Fool's Gold series!)

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