KJ Dell’Antonia’s (THE CHICKEN SISTERS) newest novel, IN HER BOOTS, is a story about finding the courage to be yourself, with a broken mother-daughter relationship at its heart.
THE GIST: Rhett Gallagher has been living the nomad life for twenty years, but it screeches to a halt when her long-term relationship fails and she gets news her grandmother has passed away. She heads home to the family farm, hoping to put down roots. At least one positive thing is happening: the book she wrote under a pseudonym and through the eyes of her alter ego, The Modern Pioneer Girl, has become really popular. She even gets invited onto The Today Show to talk about it, but Rhett’s courage fails at the last second, and she convinces her best friend, Jasmine, to pretend to be her.
The ruse might’ve just been a funny story, except when Rhett’s difficult, stoic mother whom she hasn’t seen in decades arrives at the farm with the intent to sell it, Rhett keeps up the lie, and years’ worth of hurts and regrets come to the surface. Rhett is desperate to finally show her mother that she can support herself and reach her dreams, but to save the farm, her identity, and their fragile relationship, she’ll have to find the courage to finally be herself.
THOUGHTS: I enjoyed this one! The mother/daughter relationship is a popular one explored in books, and I think a lot of people will relate to the “trying and failing to live up to parents’ expectations” thing, but this felt like a fresh take. I liked the message, too—not just “have courage to be yourself” but how trying to see things from another’s perspective, and putting yourself in your enemy’s ‘boots,’ can be a powerful way to heal relationships. Definitely worth the read—and it made me want to live on a farm.
Photo: Frances Gunn