by Elin Hilderbrand

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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 trying to sort through the news that she has a serious illness. Her sister, Brenda, has just left her job after being caught in an affair with a student. And their friend Melanie, after seven failed in vitro attempts, is pregnant at last--but only after learning that her husband is having an affair. They have come to escape, enjoy the sun, and relax in Nantucket's calming air. But into the house, into their world, steps twenty-two-year-old Josh Flynn.
Barefoot weaves these four lives together in a story with enthralling sweep and scope--a novel that is as fun and memorable and bittersweet as that one perfect day of summer.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316007269
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 07/02/2007
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 5,967
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

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.

Read an Excerpt


By Elin Hilderbrand

Little, Brown and Company

Copyright © 2007 Elin Hilderbrand
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Chapter One


Three women step off of a plane. It sounded like the start of a joke. Joshua Flynn, age twenty-two, native of Nantucket Island, senior at Middlebury College, summer employee of the Nantucket Memorial Airport, where his father was an air traffic controller, noticed the women immediately. They arrived on a US Airways flight from LaGuardia. Three women, two small children, nothing unusual about that, so what caught Josh's eye? Josh Flynn was a creative-writing student at Middlebury, and his mentor, the writer-in-residence, Chas Gorda, liked to say that a writer smells a good story in the air like it's an approaching storm. The hair on your arms will stand up, Chas Gorda promised. Josh checked his forearms-nothing-and tugged at his fluorescent orange vest. He approached the plane to help Carlo unload the luggage. Josh's father, Tom Flynn, would be at a computer terminal five stories above Josh's head, occasionally spying out the window to make sure Josh was doing what he called "a decent job." Being under surveillance like this provided as unsettling a work situation as Josh could imagine, and so in the two weeks he'd been at it, he'd learned to sniff for stories without giving himself away.

Two of the women stood on the tarmac. Josh could tell they were sisters. Sister One was very thin with long light-brown hair that blew all over the place in the breeze; she had a pointy nose, blue eyes, and she was visibly unhappy. Her forehead was as scrunched and wrinkled as one of those funny Chinese dogs. Sister Two had the same blue eyes, the same sharp nose, but instead of scowling, Sister Two's face conveyed baffled sadness. She blinked a lot, like she was about to cry. She was heavier than her sister, and her hair, cut bluntly to her shoulders, was a Scandinavian blond. She carried a fl oral-print bag bursting with diapers and a colorful set of plastic keys; she was taking deep, exaggerated breaths, as though the flight had just scared her to death.

The third woman teetered at the top of the steps with a baby in her arms and a little boy of about four peeking around her legs. She had a pretty, round face and corkscrew curls that peeked out from underneath a straw hat. She was wearing jeans with muddy knees and a pair of rubber clogs.

The sisters waited at the bottom of the stairs for this third woman to descend. Heavy-breathing Sister reached out for the baby, shaking the keys. "Come to Mama," she said. "Here, Melanie, I'll take him." In addition to the baby, Straw Hat held a package of Cheez-Its, a green plastic cup, and an air-sickness bag. She was two steps from the ground when the little boy behind her shouted, "Auntie Brenda, here I come!"

And jumped.

He was aiming for Scowling Sister, but in his excitement, he hurtled his forty-some pound body into the back of Straw Hat, who went sprawling onto the tarmac with the baby. Josh bolted forward-though he knew he wouldn't be quick enough to save anyone. Straw Hat covered the baby's head with her hands and took the brunt of the fall on her knees and her left arm. Ouch.

"Melanie!" Heavy-breathing Sister cried. She dropped the diaper bag and raced toward Straw Hat. The baby wasn't making any noise. Neck broken. Dead. Josh felt his spirit trickle onto the tarmac as though he'd wet his pants. But then-a cry! The baby had merely been sucking in air, released now in heroic tones. The baby was alive! Heavy-breathing Sister took the baby and studied him for obvious injury, then shushed him against her shoulder. Scowling Sister approached with the perpetrator of the crime, older brother, clinging to her legs.

"Is the baby okay?" Scowling Sister asked. Her expression shifted from impatient to impatient and concerned.

"He's fine," Heavy-breathing Sister said. "Just scared." She reached out to Straw Hat. "Are you okay, Melanie? Are you okay? Do you feel okay?"

Melanie dusted the tarmac grit off her face; there was a scrape on her elbow, some blood. The Cheez-Its blew off down the runway; the plastic cup rolled to Josh's feet. He picked it up, and the air-sickness bag as well.

"Would you like me to get a first-aid kit?" he asked Melanie. She put a hand to her cheek, and the other hand massaged her stomach. "Oh, no. Thank you, though. I'm fine."

"Are you sure?" Heavy-breathing Sister said. "What about ...?" "I'm fine," Melanie said.

"Blaine will apologize," Heavy-breathing Sister said. "Apologize, Blaine."

"Sorry," the boy mumbled. "You could have hurt your brother. You could have hurt Melanie. You just can't do things like that, sweetheart. You have to be careful."

"He said he was sorry, Vick," Scowling Sister said. This was not joke material. The three women, collectively, were the most miserable-looking people Josh had ever seen.

"Welcome to Nantucket," Josh said, hoping his words might cheer them, though Carlo was always reminding him that he was not an ambassador. He should just tend to the bags; his father would be watching.

Scowling Sister rolled her eyes. "Thanks a lot," she said.


Excerpted from Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand Copyright © 2007 by Elin Hilderbrand. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Barefoot 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 720 reviews.
TheChicCherryBlossom More than 1 year ago
This was my first novel by Elin Hilderbrand. It was a bit hard to get into at the beginning, but I read on nonetheless. Soon the pace picked up and I became attached to the story and characters. Each of them comes from a different background and stage of life, yet they all share the common thread of being in the midst of a journey to grow and find themselves despite the challenges they're facing. It was easy to get emotionally invested in each of their stories, and I found myself not wanting to put the book down because I wanted to know how it would all turn out. Wrought with real emotion, genuine love, and heartbreaking circumstance, I think you would be hard pressed to find yourself disappointed in this one. A light summer beach read it is not; instead, it quickly establishes itself as a more serious story that leaves a warm feeling behind at its conclusion.
BLUEEYEBE More than 1 year ago
I became immersed in this story of these very interesting, complex women and the major man, not to mention the two little children. Reading about Vicki's cancer had me physically going through it with her. I found the characters so multi-dimensional that I felt as if I knew them.
LAJR More than 1 year ago
I glanced at the detail of this book because the price was low. At first I didn't want to read it but I decided to give it a go on my NOOK. All I can say is GREAT! This book is a definite keeper and re-read. There are some serious topics that make you think outside of the box. I also learned a lot on various subjects. The characters pull you in and you are able to identify with some part of each one. Even the philosophical parts held my interest and made me want to know more. I was very pleasantly surprised!
alhill04 More than 1 year ago
This book gave me much to think about. I was a bit of a skeptic given that I have been disappointed by Hilderbrand's books in the past. But in this book, you truly feel as if you know these characters, and you get caught up in their emotions. Hilderbrand gives you ups and downs throughout the entire book through romance, sickness, etc. When finished with the book, you are left with a sense of completion and not having to worry about wanting more. Definitely a worthwhile read especially if you are looking for a book to bring on a trip, or just to pass the time. An easy read, so it seems to fly by.
Maria_hall13 More than 1 year ago
**SPOILER ALERT** This is the first novel I have read of Elin Hilderbrand's. And to be quite honest, I loved it. It took a few pages to keep the 3 women from getting mixed up, but once I got to the 3rd page I felt like I knew them. Josh was my favorite character, he reminds me of my best friend, the guy next door, etc. As the story went on, I didn't want to put it down, I had to force myself to finally go to sleep. I finished it in about 3 days, and the only thing I can say that was a dissapointment was that it had me wanting to know more. Did Melanie end up staying with Peter or did she finally leave him and fess up that she really loved Josh? Did Brenda ever get her screenplay into a movie and did she ever get another job or get married to Walsh? I know Hilderbrand doesn't writing sequels, but I wish she would for this one. :)
sheri869 More than 1 year ago
I was in visiting Boston and happened into a wonderful little store where they showcased authors I'd never read before. This being one of them. I absolutely LOVED this book and her writing style. I've already started my next book from Hilderbrand. The characters and the story Really find a way into your heart. I don't tend to be a fast reader but I flew through this book in a couple of days and then wished it wasn't over! Though, I will say, though the end was somewhat of a happy ending it did leave me feeling like it was a little unfinished. Or maybe I just wanted more of the characters and their story.
Dawn3d More than 1 year ago
This story was much more dramatic than I thought it would be. A great book about the bonding of sisters and friends during some traumatic times in each of their lives. The three ladies go to Nantucket for the summer to "escape" their troubles for a while, but of course nobody really escapes from trouble. The new relationships and bonds that are formed and how the characters all grow and transform make for very moving and enjoyable reading. I know when I am enjoying a book when I read and don't notice time flying by and this book did just that for me.
meadowcrek More than 1 year ago
I was surprised with the book and the engaging characters. I did not expect to become so enthralled with their outcome, I planned this to be just a light vacation read. The plot twists of their ordinary lives when faced with extraordinary circumstances is a must read. The ending is not expected and it leaves you wanting to know more about how their lives went on. It was nice to take a break to a vacation spot via the characters and enjoy the time frame of a long beach resort summer. I would recommend this offbeat romantic escape for all and consider this a must read for the beach or a rainy day!
NatalieTahoe More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up because every now and again, I need to pick up a light read to bring me up a bit. Well, this story isn't the lightest to read as far as topics are concerned as it deals with cancer, infidelity, etc., but it is one good book to read quickly. It was easy to connect with the characters, and the storyline truly had you cheering for everyone. I highly recommend it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I usually like non-fiction, but I thought I would try this for the summer. It was a great summer read. I could almost smell the air. It reminded me of Sex and the City. Especially the Brenda/Samanth, Melanie/Charlotte connection. I am now looking for another book by the same author to finish the summer off.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm an avid reader and typically read a book within a couple of days. I began this book and found myself struggling to get into it. After reading about 70 pages, I put it down. Some three weeks later, I found myself spending 12-13 hours a day at the hospital with a family member, so I decided to bring the book one day. I'm so glad I did! I finished it in a day and a half and found myself wanting more....
Guest More than 1 year ago
Its nice to find a novel that is not only enjoyable and light in reading, but also holds much meaning. The characters are well developed and leave you wondering inbetween sittings what could possibly happen next. You will find your self indentifying with them and hoping the best works out for them. If you are familiar with Nantucket this is a wonderful story and if your not it will make you yearning to go.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Home for the summer, Middlebury College student Josh Flynn meets the two siblings (Brenda and Vicki) and their friend (Melanie) at the Nantucket Airport where he works. The three females and Vicki¿s two young children will share the small cottage owned by their late aunt while escaping their woes and hoping to regain some equilibrium in their respective lives.---------------- Vicki suffers from lung cancer and will undergo chemotherapy. Brenda recently was fired for breaking the prime directive of college professors when she had an affair with a student albeit older than her. Finally, Melanie who spent years and tons of money seeking to become pregnant finally succeeded only to ironically learn her spouse is cheating on her. These BAREFOOT females spend the summer of self recrimination with Josh at their side wondering what fall will bring.------------- This deep character study will hook the audience who will want to know what is happening to each of the women. However, at the same time that contemporary fiction fans will appreciate the drama, only Vicki elicits empathy as she philosophizes about what used to be significant to her but those 'Things That No Longer Mattered' once she received the medical verdict Melanie seems more like a whiner who drove her spouse elsewhere and though realistic Brenda comes across as a hard butt with a chip on her shoulder. Still genre fans will enjoy spending a Nantucket summertime with Elin Hilderbrand¿s three females.--------------- Harriet Klausner
bremmd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm never really sure about what qualifies as "Chick Lit". Is it just books about mainly women or is it women empowerment novels? Either way I guess on the whole I'm not attracted to stories just because they're deemed "Chick Lit" but then again, I'm not totally turned off by them either.That being said I'm not sure whether or not "Barefoot' would be fall in the category but it was a girly kind of book. The story of three women and their summer in Nantucket. Two sisters and one of the sisters friend come to hide and heal in the families summer cottage. One sister is fighting cancer, the other sister is hiding from a scandal that cost her her job and reputation at the college where she taught, and the friend has found out after seven tries she's finally pregnant just as she also finds out about her husbands affair. So, yeah, I guess this is "Chick Lit".I've never read any of Elin Hilderbrand other books but I believe she is quite popular. I got this one for $1.99 on my Nook so I thought what the heck. It was not a great read. I thought she dealt with the character's cancer fairly well but the rest left me kind of flat. None of the characters jumped out at me and made me really care about them. Well, that's not true - the twenty-something guy they hired to be their babysitter - his story line was interesting but not enough to carry the book.If my reading list wasn't so long I might try another of Hilderbrand's novels from the library but for right now I'll have to leave her to her fans. Maybe next year.
meags222 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I got this book in the mail a few weeks ago as part of the Library Thing Santa Thing. This is my Secret Santa's favourite book and I have to say that while I really enjoyed reading this novel the characters sometimes really got on my nerves. Melanie, who is pregnant with her cheating husband's baby, spent most of the time wallowing in her pity and completely ignoring the fact that her best friend has lung cancer. I mean come on get out of your head for minute. I realize that finding out you're pregnant right after finding out your husband is a huge douche is pretty bad there are still some things to be thankful for. She also starts having an affair with someone who is 15 years younger than her while still being pregnant. I just wanted to yell at her. Vicki on the other hand is the sister who has 2 children and lung cancer. She decides to skip one of her chemo treatments and at the time I felt frustrated with her but I could see how that may happen. I've never undergone chemo but I'm sure you are downer than down. It would drain every ounce of energy from you and I can fully sympathize with not wanted to go to every chemo treatment. I did feel bad for the other sister, Brenda who had an affair with one of her college students who just happens to be one year older than her. She got fired for this affair and is in some legal trouble due to her temper. While she should have waited until her student wasn't her student anymore I do not feel that she deserved to be fired for this offence. As I said before I really enjoyed reading this novel. Hilderbrand writes really well and draws you into the story. You want to know more and more about the characters and what happens in the end. While some of the characters annoyed me I think that may have made me enjoy the book. It made me want to see how these characters would change over the course of the story. Overall I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.
bakersfieldbarbara on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Three women take a vacation together, and the friendships and relationships are daily tested. How they deal with their individual personal lives and decisions makes for a great summer reading, and it leaves you wondering how you would react with any of the women's lives, if you were one of them. Fun reading no, but interesting, and engrossing.
Jemima79 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In her novel Barefoot, Elin Hilderbrand tells the story of three women from New York who spend a summer on Nantucket. Two of the women are sisters and one is a friend. They are all running from their problems and spend the summer trying to forget the reality of their situations. The friend Melanie, has just discovered her husband is having an affair and that she herself is pregnant with their first child after years of trying to fall pregnant. Brenda has just been fired from her position as an English professor due to her relationship with one of her students. She has also been charged with vandalizing a very expensive piece of art (after throwing a book that accidentally damaged it). Brenda's sister Vicki is having to deal with lung cancer. She undergoes treatment on the island. Also along for the summer are Vicki's two small boys. I was not particularly fond of this book. It moved kind of slow and was obviously fairly depressing. The way in which everything was resolved in the end seemed a bit unrealistic in Brenda's case and kind of annoying in Melanie's case. I thought that the thread about Vicki was probably the strongest. So Barefoot was not a book I would specifically recommend.
lchs.mrso on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In Elin Hilderbrand¿s Barefoot, three friends go to Nantucket for the summer to run away from their problems. Melanie has found out that after her several failed attempts at in-vitro, she finds out that she is pregnant but her husband has been cheating on her with his co-worker. Brenda who just got her first job as an English teacher at a university had a relationship with her student and got fired. Vickie, mother of two sons, has just been diagnosed with cancer. When they all arrive on the island they are observed by a local named Josh who works at the airport. Soon Josh becomes a part of the household, creating a relationship with one of the girls, being a babysitter to the boys, and in the end everyone figures out where they have been and where they need to go and what to do to get there. The cover of this book is very intriguing as the book itself. I recommend it to young women who would like to read a good romance.
JessicaStalker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Barefoot is a story about three women who take to Nantucket for the summer to escape their personal problems that linger at home. Dealing with cancer, an unexpected pregnancy and a career-ending mishap respectively, these women learn something about themselves if little about each other. As the summer wears on, the women begin to rely on a young man with problems of his own who becomes a vital part of their unusual family. I found the status of each relationship to be interesting though not at all satisfying in a conventional way. Similarly, each woman¿s resolution leaves me with something to desire but I can appreciate Hilderbrand¿s thought process for the conclusion. Best of all, its setting made for a nice read to fend off the mid-winter doldrums.
TerriBooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summer in Nantucket? Maybe you wouldn't want to have all the adult angst that follows these three women, but like all good beach reads, it works out in the end and it's fun getting there. Not a memorable book but enjoyable.
jenn_stringer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good summer read. More realistic than you would expect.
bearette24 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought the characters in this book were well-drawn - Brenda, the selfish younger sister; Vicki, the type-A older sister who is suddenly felled by cancer; Melanie, the shy, codependent pregnant woman who flees from her cheating husband; and Josh, the hunky 22-year-old who steps in for the summer as the babysitter. I found the ending a little unsatisfying, and the plot dragged a bit for the last 50 pages or so. Also, the writing was not terribly original, though the author is a good observer of human nature. All in all, an enjoying diversion but I probably won't be reading any more by this writer.
MichelleRose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As chick lit goes, this was pretty good. I loved the total devastation that the younger sister caused in her life. It was a total wreck and entirely of her own doing. I tend to be a cautious person, so this really gave me a shiver. The almost dying of the older sister made me feel manipulated and I resisted the urge to cry (but of course, I finally gave in). There was another friend, but she was a pretty whimp and I couldn't connect to her at all. The relationship between Josh and his high school girlfriend felt familiar. It was strange how her death was sudden and shocking, but the lingering illness of one of the main characters was supposed to make you reflect on life and death in a kind of 'big picture' way. I guess it goes to show you that you never know how and when it will all end.
KC9333 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well done....more substantive than expected. Three women each facing difficult times in their lives must make decisions for their future. Author avoids stereotypes and provides a realistic look at the messy lives we all live. This is an easy but worthwhile and enjoyable read .......
JoniO on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Three women are headed to Nantucket to spend the entire summer - each for her own reason. Vicki, the mother of two young boys, has been diagnosed with lung cancer. Despite her husband's wishes for her to stay home and get the best possible care - Vicki is hoping the sand, sun, and water will make her chemo treatments more effective.Brenda, Vicki's sister, is also spending the summer at Nantucket. Brenda is supposed to be there to support her sister....but she is running from her own reality. She was just fired from a prestigious job as a college professor for having an affair with a student, although the student was older than her. She is also financially responsible for damage she did to a rare painting. Since Brenda no longer has a source of income, she decides to write a screenplay based on a rare book she taught in college.Joining Brenda and Vicki is Vicki's friend Melanie. Melanie has struggled to get pregnant - she has had seven failed in-vitro attempts and a husband that has started cheating on her. She escapes to Nantucket because not only is her husband cheating on her, but she is finally pregnant and her husband does not know.Josh Flynn enters the lives of the three women - Josh is a twenty-two year old native faced with an unpromising summer of working at the airport. From the first time he sees these three women arrive at the airport, he knows that he will somehow be a part of their lives.It ends up being a summer of lessons and all four of our main characters learn from their unique situation. Although summer doesn't solve all of their problems, each one has grown and the time spent together will have an impact that goes beyond the summer....