Author Elin Hilderbrand pens yet another novel set on the quaint island of Nantucket. Barefoot chronicles a summer in the life of Connecticut native and mother of two Vicki, recently diagnosed with lung cancer. She is joined by her best friend, Melanie, who is finally pregnant after countless fertility treatments, and her sister Brenda, recently fired from her teaching job for having an affair with an older student. The women are set to retreat to Vicki and Brenda's family cottage in Sconset for the summer. When the entourage descends on the small island, Josh Flynn, a local college student home for the summer, is struck by their presence.
While Vicki undergoes her chemo treatment, the other women try to resolve issues of their own. Melanie comes to terms with the fact that her husband has been having an affair and the irony that she is finally pregnant after years of unsuccessful tries. Brenda pines for her Australian student and lover who was the reason she lost her job as a professor in New York.
Josh becomes an integral part of their lives as he babysits for Vicki's two young children from time to time and becomes Melanie's love interest. However, he is burdened by his former girlfriend, Didi, who thinks nothing of asking him for money, showing up uninvited, and generally wreaking havoc on his life.
As Vicki continues her treatments and puts her life into perspective, she makes a mental list entitled "Things That No Longer Matter." Her perspective seems to wear off on the other women as they, too, begin to assess what really matters in their own lives. Each woman engages in soul-searching and introspection as the summer progresses.
Barefoot is characterized by rich character development and an especially detailed description of Nantucket Island; readers will feel as if they have sand between their toes when they turn the last page.
Author Elin Hilderbrand lives on Nantucket with her husband and children. An alumna of John Hopkins University, Hilderbrand also attended the graduate fiction workshop at the University of Iowa. Hilderbrand has written several novels, including Castaways, A Summer Affair, The Brach Club, and Nantucket Nights.