Brought to you by Toni Linenberger Blonde Betty reviews The Illustrious Leader of the Intrepid BBs 5/8/14
I have long been a Roxanne St. Claire fan. I found her Bullet Catcher series years ago and then followed her into the contemporary realm when she made the switch. Her books have always had a big heart and lots of depth, no matter what sub-genre she’s tackling head on. I find her romantic suspense amazing, but there is something about the Barefoot Bay books that truly speak to me. Clearly this is true of many of her fans as she’s chosen to continue the series in a new trilogy focused on the Barefoot Brides.
In Barefoot in White, the first book in her new trilogy, Roxanne St. Claire returns us to the world of Barefoot Bay. Barefoot Bay is working on becoming the new place for destination weddings. The first step in that process is to create a world-class wedding planning team. Ari, Gussie, and Willow are just such a team.
Destination wedding consultant Willow Ambrose has fought a battle with the scale for much of her life, but she has finally won the war. By putting her past behind her and cutting off all contact with anyone who knew her before and, of course, controlling everything she can, Willow has carved out a new body and a new life. But when she comes face to face with someone who left an indelible mark on her heart years before, all that threatens to crumble.
Navy SEAL Nick Hershey is on medical leave, doing a friend a favor as a stand in “man of honor” at a beach wedding. He might not be that interested in the nuptials, but the wedding planner catches his eye the minute they meet. When he realizes Willow is really a girl he knew in college—and a girl he unintentionally hurt to the core—he knows he has some making up to do.
Willow has learned how to beat every temptation…but Nick’s sweet-as-candy kisses just might be the one thing she can’t resist. But the closer they get, the more the past threatens to tear them apart. Can they finally let go of a painful past in order to find a forever future?
In many ways this book combines the best of both worlds. The hero, Nick Hershey, is an active duty Navy SEAL on leave due to hearing loss. Willow is the daughter of a rock god and well-known designer. They both are trying to rewrite the past: Nick to excise the demons of Iraq; Willow to erase the younger, overweight, version of herself. Both are only successful when they face the past instead of trying to make it go away. Nick and Willow both help the other through this process, bringing them together as they go.
There are some interesting threads that begin in this book that I’m interested to see more of. Gussie is known for her outlandish wigs and makeup; Willow’s father correctly surmises she’s hiding something. It will be interesting to see her story play out. Ari and Gussie have a penchant for betting hard to find candies on just about everything. The source and reason for this obsession is a great story, I’m sure. There is also a pact between the three women related to never getting married. Clearly the pact is going to fail, but there seem to be more to it than just the endless trials that wedding planners are subject to by Bridezilla brides. I really want to know how Nick and Willow’s wedding plays out in light of the pact.
My only disappointment was that there is no set up of the next story. I’ve gotten used to authors kicking off the next book at the end of the previous. St. Claire opts not to go this route. There is a teaser of the next book at the end, but it is not woven into the existing story. A minor quibble, I’m sure.
With minor visits from returning Barefoot Bay favorites, as well as a strong female centered group of friends the Barefoot Brides do not disappoint. If you are new to Barefoot Bay, this is a great place to begin. If you are a frequent visitor, pull up a chair and favorite beverage and be prepared to want to stay forever.