IN HER BOOTS
By: KJ Dell’Antonia
Published: July 5, 2022
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
From the Reese Witherspoon recommended and New York Times bestselling author of THE CHICKEN SISTERS comes her newest novel about a 40ish woman who returns home to the farm to start over only to find that it may not be her home any longer. Our book club read and enjoyed THE CHICKEN SISTERS, but I actually enjoyed IN HER BOOTS even more.
Rhett has led a life of adventure and her book The Modern Pioneer Girl has become a huge success. But, when news of her beloved Grandma’s death causes her to return to the farm she grew up on, she finds that not everything is the same. Her sudden popularity and stint on The Today Show also cause her to rethink everything. When Rhett and her best friend Jasmine plan a prank, they realize keeping up the falsehood isn’t easy. Rhett may just lose everything she has worked so hard to achieve and the people she holds the dearest.
When Rhett returns to her grandma’s farm, she realizes that she didn’t appreciate it like she should have while she was traveling around the world. I also grew up on a farm and can say I wasn’t much of a “farm girl” growing up. But, I did what was asked of me and enjoyed taking care of the lambs and gathering the eggs. Now that I’m much older, I often wish I could go back in time and do things differently. Rhett felt the same in this novel. She regretted her relationship with her mom, how she handled her parents’ divorce, and the grief after her father’s death. She regretted being away for so many of her grandma’s final years and that she wasn’t available to help when her grandma really needed her.
You stay in your comfort zone, you get stuck. It happens to everybody. And then we shake it off and do the thing. It’s your turn to do the thing.
A lot of this novel centers around regret and being true to the person we are and not hiding or pretending. Saying what we mean and meaning what we say can be quite difficult, especially around people that challenge us or intimidate us. Rhett learns from some of her closest relationships that she needs to focus on her own expectations and not what others expect her to do.
But no matter how hard you tried to convince yourself that it was better for everyone if you just pretended to fit their expectations, all it really did was turn the roles we were playing into walls that became harder and harder to tear down.
Rhett’s relationship with her best friend, Jasmine, her relationship with her estranged mother, and her relationship with her ex-boyfriend all factor heavily in the novel. But, I appreciated that her friendship with Jasmine was the central focus and not the romance that may have been brewing.
“That’s how we know it’s good advice,” said Jasmine. “Good advice always sucks to follow. Bad advice is so much better. It’s way easier to do dumb things than hard ones.”
If you have dreams of running your own farm stand or raising mini ponies and sheep, you just might want to pull on some cowboy boots and check out this story of friendship, finding your true self, and working hard to fulfill your dreams.