Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review: Barefoot Season by Susan Mallery

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Mira; Original edition (March 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778313387
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778313380

Book Description

Michelle Sanderson may appear to be a strong, independent woman, but on the inside, she’s still the wounded girl who fled home years ago. A young army vet, Michelle returns to the quaint Blackberry Island Inn to claim her inheritance and recover from the perils of war. Instead, she finds the owner’s suite occupied by the last person she wants to see. Carly Williams and Michelle were once inseparable, until a shocking betrayal destroyed their friendship. And now Carly is implicated in the financial disaster lurking behind the inn’s cheerful veneer. Single mother Carly has weathered rumors, lies and secrets for a lifetime, and is finally starting to move forward with love and life. But if the Blackberry Island Inn goes under, Carly and her daughter will go with it. To save their livelihoods, Carly and Michelle will undertake a turbulent truce. It’ll take more than a successful season to move beyond their devastating past, but with a little luck and a beautiful summer, they may just rediscover the friendship of a lifetime. “This poignant tale of family dynamics, the jarring impact of change, and eventual acceptance and healing is sure to please Mallery’s many, devoted fans.”

About the Author


Susan Mallery is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction novels with heart and humor. Her funny and sexy family stories have been named to Booklist's Top 10 Romance Novels lists of 2007, 2008, and 2009.

Mallery's gift for writing humor and tenderness make all her books true gems. -Romantic Times

Romance novels don’t get much better than Mallery's expert blend of emotional nuance, humor and superb storytelling. -Booklist

From Susan's website:

Make-Ahead Berry French Toast Casserole

2012 is going to be a big year for me. In addition to putting out four brand new Fool’s Gold books plus one Fool’s Gold novella, I’m launching a new series set on fictional Blackberry Island, Washington. The first Blackberry Island novel will be BAREFOOT SEASON, which will be released on March 27. BAREFOOT SEASON is available for pre-order now. Here are a couple of places where you can pre-order it: Barefoot Season from Amazon | Barefoot Season from Barnes & Noble.

As we speak, my webmaster is hard at work on www.blackberryisland.com. The website will have a free excerpt of the book, the bookclub discussion guide, a map of the island, pictures, a little history of the island, and lots of delicious, original blackberry recipes. (You don’t want to miss my Blackberry Chipotle Sauce, which is shockingly delicious.)

I decided to use Christmas as an excuse to come up with one more delicious blackberry recipe, though this time I mixed it up a bit with other berries, as well. I prepared the casserole on Christmas Eve and put it in the fridge. On Christmas morning, I popped it in the oven, and it cooked while we had a relaxing cup of coffee and opened presents. I thought about waiting to share it but then realized that you might like to have the recipe for a late brunch on New Year’s Day.

You'll find a printable version of this recipe at SusanMallery.com/recipes.php.

Recipe: Make-Ahead Berry French Toast Casserole

1 loaf of French bread
8 eggs
1 C buttermilk
½ t cinnamon
1 T sugar
¼ t salt
1 3-oz package of cream cheese
1 16-oz bag of mixed berries, divided
½ C corn syrup

Cut the French bread into 1-inch chunks and place in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs through salt. Pour over the French bread and toss to coat thoroughly. Spray a 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray. Add half of the bread. Dot with half of the cream cheese and a quarter-cup of berries. Add the remaining bread and dot with the remaining cream cheese and a quarter-cup of berries. Refrigerate overnight.

Put the remaining berries and juices in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan with the corn syrup. Heat to a simmer, stirring constantly. Continue to simmer until the mixture is thickened. I did this the night before as well, so it only had to be warmed up in the morning.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the casserole for about 30 minutes, until browned on the top and firm in the center. Serve with syrup.


My Review

Barefoot Season is the first book in a new series by one of my favorite romance authors, Susan Mallery.  The new series is set on fictional Blackberry Island in the Northwest's Puget Sound.  This latest  book does not focus on romance as much as it does friendship.  The characters wrestle with very current issues such a single parenthood, the aftereffects of serving in the armed forces and the struggles of dealing with parents who have let us down.  I'm sure this is going to be a wonderful new series.

I really enjoyed the book.  Be sure to pre-order a copy and visit Susan's new website.

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