Saturday, 24 November 2012

Book Review - Barefoot Girls - Tara McTiernan

Synopsis - When her hometown newspaper reviews Hannah O'Brien's newly released novel, the nature of her book is called into question when the reviewer suggests it is a memoir depicting her neglectful alcoholic mother - Keeley O'Brien Cohen, the most beloved of the Barefoot Girls - a little too accurately for fiction, citing rumours rather than sources.

Deeply hurt and betrayed, Keeley cuts Hannah out of her life.  Desperate, Hannah does everything she can to apologise and explain, but her pleas fall on deaf ears.  Meanwhile, the rest of Hannah's ;ife starts to unravel, pushing her to risk her engagement to Daniel, the one man who had been able to scale the high walls around her heart.  At the eleventh hour, the Barefoot Girls are able to convince Keeley to send Hannah the keys to the Barefooter house, the home and heart of their friendship.  Barred from their clubhouse when she was twelve, Hannah grabs the chance to visit the little shack filled with memories and perched at the tip of Captain's Island in the Great South Bay on Long Island, New York.

As Hannah battles to come to terms with her equally blessed and troubled childhood and understnad her mother and sister-close friends, she's confronted with the power of forgiveness and the dangers of holding onto the past.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Review - I received this book from the author for review.  At first on reading the prologue my heart slumped as I thought this was going to be a difficult one to review and I had a sense that I would not like the book.  However, as I got well into the first chapter, this feeling lifted and I could see hope for me after all.

My final thoughts are what a well written, if complex story.  Full of difficult relationships, asking many questions, wanting to know truths and topped off with some lovely locations.  I think the author did take a gamble filling so many complex scenarios with the many characters but it paid off.  I did wonder if it would be too much but then it would not have been half as good a book with anything less, as these scenes all played out very well in the end.  And from both the reader's and Hannah's point of view the questions were all answered.  All relationships between a parent and child, particularly so between mother and daughter are fraught with difficulty for a variety of reasons.  This was dealt with very well.  Keeley had a troubled life and in her own way probably did suffer from some form of depression, struggling her best to fight it and doing what she could to raise Hannah under the circumstances.  The bond between the Barefoot Girls was incredible and I have yet to meet and be a part of such a tight fit group of women.  I think we all could relate to Hannah's want and need to have such a close knit group of friends herself.  That need to fit in, particularly after her exclusion from the house from the age of twelve when she felt abandoned not for the first time.  We learn later in the story that this was enforced with the best of intentions to give Hannah the encouragement and freedom to meet children of her own age on the island.

I loved the setting of the Barefooter house and the rentals on the island.  This was very well described giving me the sense that I was there with them on that island.  4*

ISBN-13: 978-1477684108

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