Josie’s life is a roller coaster. So much has happened.
As I feared, Vincent, who is actually her father, tried to rape her. He is all charm at first, telling her that they could pretend she is his daughter, and he hugged and kissed her chastely. But then things change and he starts groping and rubbing against her, and Josie knows that this is not right. Yet, Vincent tries to scare her, warning her that if she tells on him, he will tell Ivy she has been up to no good and she will be sent to an orphanage. So Josie keeps quiet, but when she is ten, Vincent tries to rape her, but she remembers what her mum did to those officers when one of them also tried to abuse her, so she kicks her in the stomach and flees the house.
Josie finds herself in the park, and it is there where Daisy Kavanagh finds her. Josie tells her what has happened, and when they go to the house, Daisy tell her mother. Josie stays with them for a couple of days, then Mrs Kavanagh tells her that she should go home. She has talked to Ivy, and Vincent is not living there anymore. When Josie goes to the house, Ivy looks ten years older, and for the first time Ivy lets her guard down. She talks about Mabel and how guilty she has always felt. It was a sad but nice moment between aunt and niece, and despite their rocky start, things seem to go better now.
Time goes by, and Josie and Lily grow up. Josie is going out with Ben, who has expressed his love for her since they were children. Lily is dating Ben’s friend, Francie, but one night the four of them go out, a comment from Lily sends Francie reeling. The young man insults Lily, and even though Lily begs with him, he doesn’t want anything to do with him. I have to say that Lily as a child was charming in the way she expressed herself, but now her bossy manners are quite overbearing. After Francie’s fiasco, Lily goes through different stages: first she wants to be a nun, then get into the army, but neither plan comes to fruition. Then Josie sees an advertisement, offering jobs in some kind of holiday resort, and she and Lily decide to go. It will be for just a few months. However, this means the end of her relationship with Ben, who doesn’t understand why she has to go and leave him. He doesn’t understand that he will be doing the same when he leaves for university.
Josie and Lily go to the resort, and it is quite a disappointment at first. The accommodation is dismal, and there are not the countless young men that Lily hoped for. Things get better with time, and then Josie gets to know one of the actors in the resort, someone called Griff. She loses her virginity to him, and they enjoy several months of lust and passion. Josie knows it is not love, just a physical thing, as they don’t really know each other but for their bodies. Griff even jokes about getting married, but Josie knows he doesn’t mean it.
The end of her stay is coming closer, and Josie is worried what she will do afterwards. A while ago Mrs Kavanagh wrote to her, telling her that her aunt Ivy was back with Vince, so there is no way she can return home. So she needs to find herself a home and employment. Then she sees an advertisement, requiring a live-in secretary in Liverpool. Actually, the house where she ends up working is Barefoot, the one in the title. Her boss Louisa is a very rude, peculiar old woman. She likes Josie from the start because she is young and has no problem speaking her mind. Josie stays with her for three years, and in the meantime she has another boyfriend Ronald, but nothing comes out of it. Then Louisa has another stroke, and when she gets better, she speaks frankly to Josie. She has realised that Josie can’t stay with a dying woman and bury herself in this house. So she lets her go, but she has a present for her: a paid holiday in New York for a whole month. She also gives her an envelope that she is instructed to open in 1974.
Josie goes to New York, and she has the time of her life. Then on the last night of her stay she sees a man in a café, and she thinks this is the man of her life. She feels she is in love, and when they meet, there is chemistry between them. So instead of leaving America, Josie decides to move in with this man, whose name is Jack, a playwright with very liberal thoughts who comes from Liverpool as well. I have to say that I am surprised to say the least. In her other relationships Josie always claims that she couldn’t marry someone she didn’t know, and now she meets this stranger, and she thinks he is the love of her life? I can’t say I approve of her decision. I’m also miffed because I like when the action is in Liverpool, and not in sophisticated America. I have the feeling that this won’t last. Maybe it will go well, but my hunch is that this can’t be love. How can she love someone she doesn’t know? And can she stay in America without applying for a visa first? I guess that she will regulate her situation now. I hope that the rest of the novel is not just in America. I want her to return to Liverpool where Lily and the Kavanaghs are!!!