Hilderbrand's sixth novel heaps on the trauma as a substitute for realistic connection in this heady mix of beach house, cancer, affair and mom lit. Connecticut housewife Vicki, diagnosed with lung cancer, has packed up her two kids for a chemo-commuting summer at the family's Nantucket cabin; sister Brenda, a newly minted high-powered assistant professor, has just been fired for having an affair with one of her students; Vicki's best friend, Melanie, newly pregnant, has discovered her husband is cheating. The three hit the tarmac of the tiny island airport, where they run into home-for-the-summer Middlebury senior Josh Flynn, who has a summer job there that he hates. Melanie is a chronic complainer until she romances grim aspiring writer Josh, whom she has run into again and brought on as the house babysitter.
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What chick lit novel set in magnificent Nantucket with three women spending the summer there and a young hunk thrown in would not be a fun and sassy read? This is Elin Hilderbrand, and there is so much more than chick lit here. There is the depth of these characters and their individual personal struggles that you come to care about that makes this so much more than that. Those who cherish close relationships with their friends and share their joy as well as their pain and pathos will become effortlessly involved in their stories and find it a hard to put The Land of Mango Sunsets down.
In a loving marriage and family, spirited and courageous Vicki makes it is easy to pull for her to win this war and defeat the dreadful enemy. As a professor, Vicki has been fired for committing the unpardonable act of getting involved with a student.
Having a history of not making the best choices in life, as Vicki often reacts emotionally rather than rationally, makes her a character who is bound to do more than just fret over a lost job while caring for her sister. The third woman in the group is Melanie, who has recently found out that she is pregnant.
After years of unsuccessful in-vitro attempts to have a baby, Melanie should be elated, except for her discovery that her husband has been having an affair. Josh seems wise beyond his years as he provides something for each of these women and, in turn, for himself. He is a great support for Vicki as his time with her sons gives her some time to herself that she so desperately needs as she fights her cancerous enemy. Josh also encourages Brenda to write and takes her mind off her current dreadful situation.
At the same time, he is just the simple, straightforward person Melanie needs to have listen to her troubles. The characters all appear fairly believable given the situation. Do you like them all? Do you think you know where all of this will end up at the end? Perhaps, but that is why you keep reading as all is not always as it seems. Funny, involving, and sometimes frustrating, The Land of Mango Sunsets delivers a good time with as each character and their stories intertwine on the way to a not-so-predictable ending.
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Reading Group Guide
Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode.
Sign up for our newsletters! Barefoot shifts in perspective between four primary characters: Brenda, Vicki, Melanie and Josh. Which character made the strongest first impression on you? Did you find that your favorite character shifted as the novel progressed? The island of Nantucket plays a distinct and significant role in Elin Hilderbrand's novels.
Added by 33 of our members. Barefoot A novel by Elin Hilderbrand. It's summer on Nantucket, and as the season begins, three women arrive at the local airport, observed by Josh, a local boy, home from college. Burdened with small children, unwieldy straw hats, and some obvious emotional issues, the women--two sisters and one friend--make their way to the sisters' tiny cottage, inherited from an aunt.