I read and enjoyed the first book in the Barefoot Bay series, Barefoot in the Sand and really enjoyed it. I've been reading Ms. St. Claire for years and love to read her books. But somehow books 2 and 3 got shoved aside for other reads. They've been staring me in the face for months. So I thought when I received Barefoot by the Sea I would read them first. Of course life and other reading happens and I've been on a YA kick lately, so I had to jump into book 4 without reading the previous 2. Something I do not like to do, but something I found didn't matter too much with this series. Yes I will go back and read the previous books I missed, but I enjoyed reading Barefoot by the Sea just fine. In fact like it does so often when I return to my first love genre, romance, I'm reminded why I love reading this genre. The books are happy, have some conflict to make them seem real, have heat between the characters and make me appreciate and love my husband every time I read one of them.
Barefoot By the Sea is about Tessa. Tessa does not like secrets, so of course Ms. St. Claire introduces her to the one man on the island with the most secrets, John Brown and there is instant attraction. Tessa also wants a baby feeling like having a child will complete her life. However Tessa has a secret from her friends as well. There is lots going on with the characters in this one. Tessa struggles with whether to keep her main secret from her friends. She struggles with a new secret and she struggles with feelings for a man who she still feels is keeping secrets. So I would say the theme is trust. And Tessa isn't very trusting, however her romance with John Brown has her begining to trust again and falling in love with the one man she doesn't want to fall in love with.
John has his secrets and they are big. He's currently the love 'em and leave 'em type but he hasn't always been that way. But then he meets Tessa and he finds himself drawn to her and wanting to tell her his secrets but he can't. The main storyline is whether he can be honest with her before it is too late and whether they can have a life together. I liked John and Tessa both. They both have struggles and I felt them. Ms. St. Claire wrote these characters very true to life and their situations hit home with me. I also like the way they fell in love. Yes there is instant attraction and one hot scene in the bar, but then they take things slower and John begins to "woo" Tessa. I enjoyed their getting to know each other and the progression to falling in love.
For the plot, it all pretty much boils down to John's secret, Tessa's desire for a baby, a small secondary plot involving another secret to provide interest and involve former characters and Tessa and John falling in love. The conflict was put together perfectly. The secondary plot was interesting and relevant. And the romance was wonderful. I started this one on Friday night and finished it Saturday afternoon. Once I dove in I had to finish and find out how these two would get their HEA, because at times it really seems like it will be impossible. But it's a romance and even though you know they will get their HEA, you still read it because it's the journey that is fun. And Ms. St. Claire really makes the journey in this one full of bumps and bruises but a great ride nonetheless!
As I mentioned before, I love returning to romance novels, it's like coming home. I really enjoyed Barefoot by the Sea because I loved visiting Barefoot Bay again and the best friends that make up these four books. The book provided me with just what I wanted, romance, conflict and a HEA. It was perfect for me. I think it could be perfect for you as well. And the nice thing is yes reading the first three would probably make the experience a little more fun since you would know more of the backstory on the other three couples, but this little romance nugget of gold can be read all on it's own. But I warn you if you do read it by itself, you will probably want to go back and read the first three. And do it before the next trilogy centered around Barefoot Bay comes out in the future. I read the tease at the end of the book and I cannot wait for more Barefoot Bay novels to come out!
Check out the giveaway for the full set of Barefoot Bay novels at My Reading Room