Luke McBain has spent fifteen years estranged from his family. His ten years in the French Foreign Legion has taught him to fight and kill, a fact that he is haunted by. He reunites with his sister in France. Gussie absolves him of the guilt he has carried because of his involvement in that fateful accident that scarred her. She convinces him to return home to the U.S. and Luke agrees when he discovers that the threat who drove him into the Foreign Legion has died. He is determined to make a life for himself in Barefoot Bay, one far different from in the Foreign Legion and France. An old high school colleague offers him a job of building a house on property he inherited, but the woman he literally runs over while previewing the land, threatens to cost him that new start.
I have been intrigued about Luke since his introduction in BAREFOOT IN LACE, book two in THE BAREFOOT BAY BRIDES trilogy. I knew from the clues the author dropped that his back-story was going to be heart wrenching. His life has been anything other than perfect. The accident that scarred his sister set off a chain reaction of back luck, and those trails help sculpt him into the man he has become. Yeah, it has its cons because Luke is skittish about risking his heart or following a career outside of building. I felt Arielle was the cosmic medicine he needed to let the past remain in the past, to close the door on the mental ghosts that haunted him. I love the nickname he chose for Arielle after learning how she got her name. I thought it was quite fitting and cute. I laughed how he could not quite get her Native American grandmother's name right.
Arielle has perked my curiosity since book one, especially how often Willow and Gussie relied on her intuition about certain decisions and people. I admit most of my interest was to learn where the source of her mysticism stemmed from. The direction Roxanne St. Clare took with it pleased me, and I love how she chose a tribe not widely known to be Arielle's Native American ancestry. Yes, I even googled the tribe's name to see if they actually existed. Arielle has weathered her 'weirdo' status well, without letting people's thoughts and opinions turning her jaded or cynical. She embraced her grandmother's teachings even knowing others may eschew her. I approve of how proud she is of her bloodline and her determination to preserve any Native American history, not just her own tribe. Arielle's mother rather reminds me of my husband mostly on his disinterest in learning about his Cherokee heritage. But what I loved the most is how she got the name Arielle. Up until that scene, I had been mispronouncing her name.
As much as I enjoyed the story, and Arielle and Luke, some parts baffled me. Chiefly I could not understand why neither Luke nor Gussie saw the importance of finding undocumented Native American artifacts. Even if the history is not prudent to you, it is still significant. I just had a rough time with that.
BAREFOOT IN PEARLS is the heartwarming finale to Roxanne St. Claire's BAREFOOT BAY BRIDES trilogy. The story had the right amount of suspense and danger to keep me riveted, with a dash of mysticism without crossing the book into the paranormal. I am sad to see yet another chapter in the BAREFOOT saga ended but hope for more spin offs.