Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tuesday Review: Barefoot in the Sand

Barefoot in the Sand
By Roxanne St. Claire
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: April 24, 2012


A hurricane that destroys the home on Barefoot Bay that Lacey Armstrong inherited from her grandparents frees her to pursue her dream of a bed and breakfast inn in the spot where the old house once stood. Some people might think she’s lost everything, but Lacey knows that as long as she and her daughter are safe, the storm can serve as the impetus she needs to propel her into realizing her dream. All she needs is the right architect, and she thinks she’s found him in Clay Walker--if the well-known North Carolina architect is willing to take on such a small project. But the Clay Walker who shows up on her beach is not the big name architect but his son, a younger man with a vision for Lacey’s future that exceeds her own and a body that raises her temperature and fuels her fantasies.


Clay Walker has something to prove to his father and to himself, and building the resort he envisions on Lacey Armstrong’s beach property will allow him to do it. He has a lot at stake, and he’s not reluctant to use his charm to get what he wants. But he never expected Lacey herself to be such a distraction. The chemistry between them is powerful, and soon Lacey is at the heart of all Clay’s dreams.


Of course, in romance fiction, the path to true love is always one strewn with obstacles, and in Lacey and Clay’s case, the obstacles include hometown opposition to change, Lacey’s teenage daughter who has her own agenda, and complications from both their pasts.  Lacey’s three best friends arrive to help her recover from the ravages of the hurricane and remain to offer advice and support. But in the final analysis, Lacey and Clay must make their choices about what they are willing to risk for a love that promises more than either of them ever expected.


I’m not a great reader of romantic suspense/thrillers, but Roxanne St. Claire is one of a handful of writers in that subgenre whose books I never miss. I was excited when I learned that she was writing a quartet of contemporary romance and placed my request as soon as the first book was available via NetGalley. Barefoot in the Sand did not disappoint. It has the strong characterization and steamy romance that I look for in this author’s books. Lacey is an engaging mix of optimism and fear, of strength and vulnerability. As a single mother, she has become accustomed to putting the needs of her child first and is a bit slow accepting her right to what makes her happy. This quality rings true for me, as does her concern about Clay’s being seven years younger.


It’s a minor point, but the hero’s name was a problem for me since it evoked the country singer by the same name, who did not at all fit my image of St. Claire’s hero. Once I moved beyond that association, I found Clay an interesting and likeable hero, one with intelligence, humor, and complexity enough to make him more that a hot hunk.


I also appreciated the role of female friendship in the story. Jocelyn, Zoe, and Tessa are intriguing characters in their own right, and St. Claire reveals enough about each of them to leave me eager for the other three books in the series. But they serve a purpose in Lacey’s book beyond setting up their own stories. The history, the jokes, the girl talk, and especially the deep affection the women share reveals an additional dimension of Lacey’s character. Barefoot in the Sand is a superb introduction to what promises to be another excellent series from Roxanne St. Claire.

What's your favorite romance novel that combines a great romance with a tale of friendship?

Congratulations to PJ, the Randomizer's choice to win a copy of No Longer a Gentleman by Mary Jo Putney. PJ, email me to let me know your preferred format.


9 comments:

Manda Collins said...

I really enjoyed this one too, Janga. I was totally bummed when St. Clair announced that she'd be leaving romantic suspense for contemporary, but I shouldn't have worried. Though I did miss the suspense, she is just as deft with contemporary as she was with RomSus. I didn't make the connection between Clay and the country singer, though I did keep thinking the name was familiar.

As somebody who lives near the coast, I thought she really captured the politics of development on a barrier island, and the push and pull between those who want no change at all and those who want to bring the place into the 21st century.

I'm looking forward to the next one in the series. And I thought she set up some really intriguing possibilities for Lacey's friends.

As for other books that celebrate friendship, I'll go with the one that put "kindred spirit" into my vocabulary: Anne of Green Gables. :)

PJ said...

Thanks, Janga! I'll email you the info.

I'm a huge fan of Rocki's writing and so lookng forward to this new series. I have BAREFOOT IN THE SAND and can't wait to get started!

Manda, I'm not surprise that Rocki was able to capture the politics you described as she lives on a barrier island.

quantum said...

I seem to be the only one who hasn't read this book! LOL

I have started on one of her suspense novels 'Space in his heart', attracted by the space exploration theme. Very impressed so far so will definitely want to try her contemp. series.

Manda's comment reminded me to check Amazon for 'How to Dance with a Duke' but alas still no kindle edition ...... grrrrrrr!

quantum said...

I seem to be the only one who hasn't read this book! LOL

I have started on one of her suspense novels 'Space in his heart', attracted by the space exploration theme. Very impressed so far so will definitely want to try her contemp. series.

Manda's comment reminded me to check Amazon for 'How to Dance with a Duke' but alas still no kindle edition ...... grrrrrrr!

Janga said...

Manda, if I ever pack for a desert isle, my Anne of Green Gables books will definitely go in the trunk. I've been reading them for more than half a century, and they still warm my heart and make me smile. And they truly are a hymn to friendship.

Janga said...

PJ, you're going to love Barefoot in the Sand. I think the whole series is going to be great reading.

I'll be looking for your email.

Janga said...

Oh, no! That's too bad about HTDWAD, Q. You definitely don't want to miss Manda's book. I'm glad you're enjoying St. Claire's RomSusp. She really is one of the best.

irisheyes said...

I just downloaded this one to my Nook, Janga. Looks like a good one.

Though I'm sure I've read tons of romances with friendships in them the only ones that keep coming to mind are LK's Wallflower series and Nora's Bride series. Lisa and Nora both do a great job with female and male friendships.

Janga said...

Let me know what you think, Irish. I certainly agree with you about Nora Roberts. The friendships in the Wedding Quartet are wonderful, as are those in the Key trilogy. And I like the age variety in the In the Garden books, but I think Jude, Brenna, and Darcy in the Gallaghers of Ardmore trilogy are my favorites.