Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter. The first book in the Chapel Springs series.
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?
Having read some of Denise Hunter 's other books before I was eager to pick up her latest, especially with such a gorgeous cover!
Madison McKinley has to race in the River Sail Regatta...and win. Her twin brother had bought a boat and was determined to be the youngest to win the Regatta. But that was before he died. Now Madison is determined to fulfill his dream and win for Michael and finally become at peace with his death as well. But first she has to learn how to sail. The last thing she expected was for her lessons to be given to her by Beckett O'Reilly. He did something to Jade, her sister, and she doesn't know what...but she doesn't trust him. He was the bad boy in high school and was hot and cold with her. Friendly one moment and so cold the next.
Beckett has loved Madison since forever almost. She's gorgeous and way out of his league. He may have changed his ways since his youth but he still knows he's no good for her, coming from such a respectable family and all. He comes from a broken one. But when their thrown together he can't help wondering if it isn't another chance for him to make his move. As they become better friends he falls more and more in love. He just isn't sure how Madison feels. And doesn't real matter, he's sure he'll never be good enough...
Pros: The connection that made the town and characters come to life. It was so strong and present. It made everything so real and cute. I loved how the McKinley family fit together, PJ and Ryan especially were so funny and perfect. There were things you could find that would relate to you...small town or family wise. There was a scene where Mrs.McKinley was teased for letting a baby roll or fall or something of that sort and that's the same thing my mom gets teased for. I loved Beckett and Madison, together or apart they were sweet and great characters. I liked both of them and I though that all the layering (she is doubtful about this, dislikes something here, he fears this caused by this and altogether it causes awkwardness and some fun and tense scenes) was done really well. The plot was interesting, unique, exciting and calm put altogether and coming out into a lovely story all in one. Wrapped up and big-picture-like. And the romance was just so good. Well ground and just lovely! The two words I would use to describe this book would be something along the lines of "extremely sweet."
Cons: There were a fee slower parts or annoying scenes but I couldn't really name any and the good far outweighs the bad. I did feel like the beginning started a little wrong but two chapters in and everything was peachy. Content wise there was an alcoholic father, a fire, a death in t he past, a couple kisses, and attraction.
Overall, this book touched my heart. I haven't read a book in a while that had such a lively and truthful picture of a Christ centered romance that was just beautiful. And the whole book is extremely sweet and its not just the romance, the small town feel adds a lot as well. I would recommend to adult and teen ladies who are looking for a sweet summer read that will leave them smiling.
I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review and the thoughts I've expressed are my own.