Romancing the Weekends: Barefoot in the Rain by Roxanne St.Claire
PJV Quickie: This second installment in the Barefoot Bay series has an emotional plot line and a strong heroine. I think though, that maybe she’s too strong, because about halfway through I was ready for her to let someone else hold the reigns for awhile. Even so, I’d say Barefoot in the Rain is a nice solid romance .
Title: Barefoot in the Rain
Author: Roxanne St.Claire
Type: Contemporary Romance
Published: October 30, 2012 byForever
As town Sheriff, Jocelyn Bloom’s father was a powerful and violent man; when she left Barefoot Bay at age 18, she wore the physical and emotional scars to prove it. As a child, her one saving grace was her best friend, Will Palmer. As they grew older, their feelings grew too, until the night before Will left for college when they acted on those romantic feelings – and Jocelyn’s father caught them. Guy Bloom threatened to shoot Will and end his future career in baseball. Then he went home and beat Jocelyn within an inch of her life.
15 years pass, and Jocelyn has a successful career as “Life Coach to the Stars”. She’s only returned to Barefoot Bay twice – once for her mother’s funeral, and once to help a friend in need (see book 1, Barefoot in the Sand). Now, she’s caught up in a Hollywood scandal: she’s accused of cheating with the husband of one of her clients. It’s not true, but she can’t go public about what really happened, so she comes back to Barefoot Bay to hide until it blows over.
Barefoot in the Rain got off to a great start – the prologue will have you gasping and turning pages as fast as you can. Then, as we forward to present day, we meet our main characters again. Gone are the innocent teenagers, replaced with a heroine who has been hardened by life’s early lessons, a hero who’s resigned to the quiet life he’s living, and a man who used to be a monster but now spends his days doing cross-stitch and watching home improvement shows.
While your heart immediately broke for the teen-aged characters in the prologue, the present-day characters had changed enough that some of that initial affection wore off: the problem with writing a heroine who is ‘closed off’ to the possibility of falling in love with the hero is that she’s also difficult for the reader to warm up to. I found myself getting frustrated that Jocelyn wouldn’t open up to Will and that made me like her less. Part of it, I think, was also her anger at her father. The complication of her father developing alzheimer’s disease and not remembering the abuse brought out a lot of emotion, and not the “oh, I hope the hero/heroine get together and life happily ever after” kind. It was hard to focus on the romance because of the domestic abuse story line. That being said, Ms. St. Claire’s writing is excellent, because I didn’t want to like Guy and was kind of mad at myself that I felt sorry for him.
I didn’t really get the ‘sleeping with Hollywood star’ plot; it didn’t make sense to me because what she was trying to accomplish didn’t work so I couldn’t figure out why she was doing it. It felt like a plot device to bring her home to Barefoot Bay.
I did like Will; I thought he was a great leading man. Sweet and thoughtful, his understanding of Jacqueline’s hesitation and his willingness to fight for her was a pleasure to read.
Recommended for fans of second-chance romance and romance where the conflict is internal: no crazy bad guys out to kill anyone, no will stipulations that they can’t be together, just character interaction to move the story forward.
Other books you might like, similar to ‘Barefoot in the Rain’:
What I Did For Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Any Man of Mine by Rachel Gibson