Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Barefoot Girls by Tara McTiernan

Barefoot Girls by Tara McTiernan
Published By: Bramblevine Press
Release Date: February 10, 2012
Format: Kindle - 772 KB - 457 pages / Nook - 1 MB
ASIN: B00784Y66A
Genre: Women's Fiction / Contemporary Fiction

About The Author:

Tara McTiernan grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut and spent most of her childhood summers on an island in the Great South Bay on Long Island, New York., both of which has been the setting for her novel, Barefoot Girls, as well as short stories. Her stories have been included in literary magazines including Eureka Literary Magazine and Ultimate Writer. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, Ash.


BUY THE BOOK: Barefoot Girls

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and for hosting a virtual book event on my book review blog site.

Virtual Book Event: On Friday, June 15, 2012, author Tara McTiernan participated in a virtual book event with an Author Interview on Jersey Girl Book Reviews.

Book Description:

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 rumors rather than sources.

Deeply hurt and betrayed, Keeley cuts Hannah out of her life. Desperate, Hannah does everything she can to apologize and explain, but her pleas fall on deaf ears. Meanwhile, the rest of Hannah's life 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 since 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 understand her mother and her sister-close friends, she's confronted with the power of forgiveness and the dangers of holding on to the past.

My Book Review: 

Hannah O'Brien has a lot to look forward to in her life: she just had her first novel published; she is engaged to a wonderful man; she lives in a cute little carriage house in Greenwich, CT; and she has the love and support of her mom and three special "aunts", the Barefoot Girls. When a book reviewer from Hannah's hometown newspaper, the Fairfield Tribune, suggests that the novel is not fictional but rather a memoir of her life with a neglectful alcoholic mother who abandoned her at times during her childhood, all hell breaks loose. Hannah's mother, Keeley O'Brien Cohen reads the review and is completely devastated and outraged that her daughter would spread such vicious lies about her, so she cuts Hannah out her life. Hannah tries everything to make amends with her mother, but Keeley isn't having any of it.

Hannah's life is turned upside down and starting to unravel: her landlord wants her to move out; she gets fired from her waitress job; she puts her engagement on hold; and she questions her relationship with her mother.

In an attempt to help their "Baby Girl," the Barefoot Girls: Amy, Pam and Zooey convince their best friend Keeley to send the keys to their cherished summer home, the Barefooter House on Captain's Island in the Great South Bay on Long Island, New York, in the hope that Hannah will get her life back in order. With keys in hand, Hannah returns to her childhood summer home in search of answers to her relationship with her mother, the secrets behind the lifelong friendship of the Barefoot Girls, and coming to terms with her past so she can move forward in her life.

Barefoot Girls is a poignant story of the complexities in a mother-daughter relationship, and the intricate secret bonds of lifelong female friendships. Narrated in alternating perspectives in the present and flashbacks in the past, the readers are introduced to the lives of the Barefoot Girls and their "Baby Girl." The storyline is well written and engaging, it flows smoothly and reaches out to the readers and transports them into the intriguing and fun loving world of the Barefooters. The author does a wonderful job of weaving a tale that is emotionally charged and has so many twists and turns, the reader better buckle up for a roller coaster ride that is sure to pull at the heartstrings.

The characters are all realistic, strong, down-to-earth, fun loving yet flawed bunch of women! The Barefoot Girls: Amy, Keeley, Pam and Zooey are very different in their personalities, but their lifelong bond is so special and strong, that the reader is able to relate and embrace them. Through series of flashbacks to their childhood summers on Captain's Island, the reader learns how the lifelong friendship of these four women was formed and sustained over the years. Through thick and thin, secrets and flaws, laughter and tears, this special bond is unbreakable.

The setting is rich in detail and is every inch a beach lover's dream. As a born and bred Jersey beach girl, I absolutely loved the author's description of Captain's Island, it took me back to my own childhood growing up on the island of Brigantine in southern New Jersey. The author's vivid descriptions easily transports the reader to Captain's Island: where the summers are carefree and spent sunbathing on the beach, visiting neighbors, sailing boats, hosting clam bakes and parties, and walking the boardwalk in the warm summer breeze.

Barefoot Girls is the debut novel for author Tara McTiernan. This wonderfully poignant story about lifelong friendships and mother-daughter relationships is definitely a worthy beach read for this summer, it will stay with you long after you finish the last page.


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