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3.78  ·  Rating details ·  54,083 ratings  ·  3,235 reviews
Visiting Nantucket for the summer, three women seek peace and comfort as they cope with the challenges in their lives--from marriage, infidelity, and the mayhem of motherhood to scandal, tragedy, and illness.
Three women--burdened with small children, unwieldy straw hats, and some obvious emotional issues--tumble onto the Nantucket airport tarmac one hot June day. Vicki is
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published July 2nd 2007 by Little, Brown and Company
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Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  54,083 ratings  ·  3,235 reviews

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Kelly Ballard
Feb 21, 2009 rated it it was ok
Don’t do it. I bought this book after returning from the beach in Martha’s Vineyard this past summer. I thought it was about girlfriends at the beach…What I didn’t know was that none of the female characters were likable. I think this is an important hook for any book – likable characters…instead we are presented with the worst of feminine traits – martyr, hysteria, anxiety, selfish…Ughh.

Honestly I couldn’t get over the beginning when they head to the beach and all hell breaks lose – a child go
May 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for good summer reading
Shelves: adult-lit-2009
I'd like to begin by stating that once I started this book, I truly did not want to put it down. The lives of Brenda, Vicki, Melanie, and Josh are so captivating and genuine, making it hard not to become invested. The setting is summer on Nantucket, and Hilderbrand's artful use of descriptive language truly made me feel as if I was there, providing yet another reason for why I couldn't put this novel down.

While there is a certain, underlying thread of sadness that runs through the story, there a
Sep 15, 2012 rated it did not like it
I'd give it a half a star if that was possible. In fact, I'm contemplating taking the one star away but I figured I had to give it something. This book disappointed me. (**WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD**) First, the book was all over the place. One minute I'm following Viki, then Brenda, then Melanie, and then Josh... oh and then there are flash backs too, so it just gets confusing most of the time. Second, it didn't end at all the way I wanted it to and that upset me. I thought the story of everyone ...more
Carrie Runnals
Jun 23, 2008 rated it liked it
BAREFOOT ~ A beach house, two sisters, and a girlfriend...Sounds heavenly--relaxing, even with a couple kids in tow…

Now, I can handle a bit of vomit and lost luggage, but Hilderbrand mercilessly tugs at all of my feminine heartstrings; marriage, motherhood, sisterhood, and friendship…oh, and that pesky fear-of-death thing.

Meet the Girls:

Melanie deals with infertility overshadowed by infidelity, and then further complicated with pregnancy — “POW!”
Brenda’s promising academic career hangs in jeopa
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Looking for something light and summery, I took the front cover and read the back and thought it'd be perfect for a weekend at the lake. What the back of the book doesn't tell you is that from the very first chapter, the 3 main characters are annoying and never get any better.

There is a martyr sister with lung cancer, a selfish professor sister and a poor-miserable-me friend who escapes because her husband cheated on her then ends up cheating on him. The children are brats, the husbands alternat
Alissa Patrick
Dec 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
On a summer vacation in Nantucket, three women arrive at the local airport- two sisters and one friend-- They're all trying to escape from their real life problems.

Melanie, after several failed attempted to conceive, discovers she is pregnant. Right after her husband tells her he is cheating on her with his co-worker.

Brenda , a prominent professor, has a scandalous affair with an older student that got her fired from her job

Vickie, mother to two small boys, has been diagnosed with lung cancer.
Alright, if you would delete all pages from about 30% to 75% this book might have gotten 4 stars.

First off, no one can identify with these characters. The women are all totally pessimistic and broken, the children are your typical American kids: spoiled brats and all the men have macho-man issues (with the exception of John Walsh, but we don't get to know him well enough). I understand that sometimes life gets you down and occasionally you might feel like there's nothing left except despair, bu
Sep 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was the first book I've read by Elin Hilderbrand, and I really enjoyed it. While I would initially classify it as a chick lit beach read, it deals with some serious issues that make it a little less fluff. There's the gorgeous "Sconset setting, the women and the beach house, marital and family issues. But there's also cancer. The characters are really well developed, all different and compelling in their own ways. Hilderbrand's writing is flawless and easy, I couldn't put this book down.
Apr 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010-read
Let me start by saying I was expecting this to be a throw-away book. Something I could start, put down if something else caught my attention, and/or never pick back up (and never regret missing out on if I didn't return to it). I think that impression was the fault of the editors, or whoever put the front cover together. With the tagline, "Three women. Three Secrets. One long, hot summer." and a quote reading, "Summer reading fun. ... Twenty pages in, you'll be ready to drop everything and head ...more
Aug 30, 2009 rated it did not like it
This book was horrible. One star is really too many. This was my first Elin Hilderbrand novel and frankly, I will never read another one. Can someone please tell me why this book was a national bestseller? It read like a soap opera would if it were a novel. The characters were one dimensional, at best. I kept waiting for a climax to the book and there never was one. These women supposedly were to experience this summer that would change their lives, but they never changed. Vicki beat cancer, Mel ...more
Three women and two children step off a plane in Nantucket. There's Vicki, mom to the small two boys, who has recently learned that she has lung cancer. There's her sister, Brenda, an academic reeling from losing her job after having an affair with one of her students. And then there's Vicki's friend, Melanie. After many IVF treatments, Melanie is finally pregnant; but, she's also found out husband, Peter, is having an affair with a colleague. They've come to Nantucket to try to heal Vicki--who ...more
Angie Hay
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-books, audible
It is about these three ladies in their 30’s that go to Nantucket to get away from their life issues from CT and NY. One character is named Brenda who is a promiscuous type character but goes after much younger men than her, at least that is what it seems. She ends up losing her job as a professor at a well-known college because she was caught having sexual relations with her student. Meanwhile, as she is having an argument with some of the staff that is in her English program, she accidentally ...more
May 28, 2009 rated it did not like it
Maybe I don't like "chick lit" or a "great beach read" but Barefoot doesn't even come remotely close to either of these. There are "chicks" and a "beach", but just getting to the beach is a simple task that almost defeats these three women. None of the characters were very likeable, and Melanie was just plain pathetic. I realize this is fiction, but I personally like fiction to have a story line that at least makes sense. Sadly, Barefoot fails there also. Not many lung cancer patients are out di ...more
Kathy McC
Apr 25, 2008 rated it liked it
This is the story of three women and the trials that life brings to them. It is a bittersweet novel depicting the importance of family and friends when life hits a rough patch. It also demonstrates that one never knows where help might come from. This was a well written fluff novel. It dragged slowly by in certain parts. I felt the end wrapped up too nicely and too neatly for all of the characters. It would be great if life worked in such wonderful ways, but alas I found the ending unrealistic.
May 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
It's summer, and even lovers of YA books need a beach read sometimes! I picked this up at my local public library because the cover was about worn out--proof it has been loved!

Three women arrive on Nantucket for the summer. Vicki needs to get away from home because she has lung cancer and needs to begin chemotherapy. She doesn't know how to handle it--but at least her two boys can play at the beach if she's at the family cabin. Brenda is running away--she was just fired as a university professor
Oct 11, 2017 rated it did not like it
"Oh poor us! We are just so fabulously wealthy and have so many problems! We just have to spend the summer on an island doing nothing but wallowing in our sorrow! And even though we aren't, like, working or anything we are still going to hire someone to watch the kids! And it's a boy, isn't that so funny? Hahahaha a guy watching kids, just imagine that! And we will drag him into all our rich people problems and ruin his happy summer too!"

Ugh. Just awful.
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a great read to bookend the summer with!

Elin Hilderbrand is becoming a fast favorite of mine and Barefoot is my third novel by her.

Barefoot take you on a Nantucket summer journey with three women, three women with three very different sets of problems as they embark on a summer together.
Vicki, diagnosed with lung cancer and on the verge of starting chemo, terrified that she’ll die and her two young sons will be left without a mother. This summer she is determined to soak up every sun-filled
Nov 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Barefoot is a book that was recommended to me (Thanks Lani) because I really enjoyed The Castaways by this author and I wanted to read more of her books. I actually started out not liking any of the characters, and surprisingly by the middle to end, I ended up loving them all! Each character had their own reason for being who they were, and I was endeared to each of them. However, it wasn't until halfway through the book that I became involved enough with the characters that it became a page tur ...more
Nov 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Life was too short to fritter away in a constant state of yearning, aching, wanting. Waiting for something to happen.

Let me just say it upfront. Barefoot will more than likely not be my favorite of Elin Hilderbrand's writing. Narrated by four different characters- sisters Vicki and Brenda, friend Melanie, and summer babysitter Josh, these characters arrive in Sconset with their summer beach bags and their emotional baggage.

This is coming from a place of love and respect for the author, but
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I never fail to shed a few tears when reading any novel by EH.
Kelly  Seifert
Feb 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Good story but was a little too wordy for me. I found myself getting bored & skipping a lot of paragraphs 🙁 ...more
Deacon Tom F
Not my style. Way to much drama and escapism. I was hoping for a beach book. This book was depressing.
Arlene Hayman
Feb 20, 2013 rated it liked it
As I delved into this book, it occurred to me that our book club has enjoyed some amazing books this year, and so by comparison, this novel seems rather trite or ordinary. The tale is entertaining enough, but I think that the author has failed to fully develop the characters in the story. Josh was not portrayed in depth, and as a result, I had difficulty in understanding his attraction or interest in these three older women. I think that I would have become significantly involved as a reader if ...more
Feb 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of three women and their young, male babysitter unfurls during the hot summer in Nantucket. All of them have a story. Vicki has lung cancer, Brenda, Vicki’s younger sister is in disgrace after having an affair with one of her students and Melanie, Vicki’s friend, is newly pregnant with a long fought for baby, only to discover her husband is having an affair. Josh is a twenty one year old writing student on his summer holidays in the right place at the right time.

Vicki and Brenda have i
Mar 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Yes
Recommended to Marilyn by: My friend Lou-who gave me the book
This is about 3 friends that have had catastrophic recent events in their lives, who escape for the summer to Nantucket. Very good character/relationship study.
Aug 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
The criticisms of this book may be true but Hilderbrand writes beach books that are like candy. I love them!
Susan Crowe
Lovely book. Heart wrenching at times. Definitely deals with real life situations.
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a cute story, and let me say that having one of the main characters named Vicki (my name and spelled like mine) might have helped a little bit. :)

I read so many fantasy, romance, historical fiction, and other genres that reading this one was just refreshing to me. The story is about three women, Vicki, Brenda (her sister), and Melanie. What I didn't expect was the new kid on the block, Josh, who is added to the mix in ways I wouldn't have thought. Each woman has her own set of real life is
Sherri Thacker
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book.
Aug 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: entertainment
***Spoilers included***
There are many issues with this book, one of the least severe being that no one in the novel titled Barefoot actually goes barefoot aside from perhaps the kids! Why were there continuous inclusions of people stuffing sand in each others’ shoes (my worst nightmare) when Hilderbrand desired the title to be the opposite? Maybe the publisher had her change it.
I read in her Acknowledgement that this book marks a new beginning for Hilderbrand, which I guess means she had kids.
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Madison County NC...: Barefoot 1 3 Apr 02, 2020 04:26PM  

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Elin Hilderbrand lives on Nantucket with her husband and their three young children. She grew up in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, and traveled extensively before settling on Nantucket, which has been the setting for her five previous novels. Hilderbrand is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the graduate fiction workshop at the University of Iowa.

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