The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 28 May 2019

Member Reviews

This book left me with so many emotions! Loved it from start to finish and it easily sets an example that there is still joy in the world even after tragedy!
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This book is tragic. I can’t even say that I really enjoyed it because one of the characters wants to die for the entire book. It’s so sad to read about. It does get better when she meets Sally Red Shoes, but I am personally not a fan of reading about death. Thanks netgalley!
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When I first began reading this book, I worried that a novel whose main character was grieving the loss of a child would be too difficult for me to read, but in her charming way, author Ruth Hogan created a beautiful, uplifting piece of writing that made me both laugh and cry.

Although The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes focuses largely on Masha, a bereaved mother attempting to make her way out of the deep waters of grief surrounding the long-ago loss of her toddler, Gabriel, a supporting cast of friends both new and old - including the profane and charismatic older woman Masha nicknames "Sally Red Shoes" for her bright red Mary Janes - supplies some comedic relief and helps Masha re-discover the joy of living.

In a parallel plot line, Alice - a mother of a 13-year-old boy - is battling illness, the previous loss of children, and the desire to be overprotective of her teenager.

I really enjoyed this book. I was able to read it quickly, and although I had a feeling where the story was going and how Masha and Alice's plot lines might intertwine, I was still moved by its conclusion. I only wish the ending hadn't wrapped up so quickly - I could have done with the book being 30-50 pages longer.

I highly recommend this book. Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for access to this charming, quirky and poignant story.
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*Thank you to the publisher for an  ARC of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

I enjoyed this quiet story of a woman who has lost her child and, as a result, her love for life. She is merely existing until she learns to let go and take the advice of Sally to dance for the fact that her child once had life. Full of eccentric characters that will bring a smile to your face, this one is worth the read. I'm looking forward to reading the author's previous two novels.
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I admit to being lost and confused, but happily so. This is a story of drowning, physically, attempted, emotionally. This is a story of salvation. This is a wonderful book which I loved and hated to turn the last page and that page was a killer. The writing is gorgeous, poetic, descriptive “...the daylight is dwindling into a crepuscular shadow world and the park resembles an Arthur Rackham illustration with tall black trees stretching their spindle limbs across a purple bruised sky.” 

Masha (not her real name but one she has adopted) observes a woman “bundled up in a patched tweed coat... a red woolly hat with a Pom-Pom and red Mary Jane shoes with brown socks.” This is Masha’s Sally Red Shoes (also not her real name but one that identifies her) with a gracious demeanor and a tangled verbal dictionary. They follow and intersect each other through the book but there is another couple who shadow the story. And this is where I kept floundering but never mind. 

Ruth Hogan has created the most wonderful, clever and interesting characters, including an energetic, ill-behaved dog, Hazium, named after the Archangel Gabriel’s horse. Hogan teaches us that grief is not linear but something that can unstitch us through a smell, sight or sound. She believes that “When the music ends for someone you love you don’t stop dancing. You dance for them as well.”

The ability to blend such enigmatic and colorful characters while creating an atmosphere and dynamic that moves the story along while you devour the prose is genius writing.

Thank you NetGalley and Crooked Lane for a copy
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Quirky characters, a Victorian cemetery and a lido. Sounds like a joke but it was  a pretty enjoyable book about the journey of a woman in the wake of a health issue. I think it would be a great book club book.
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Masha is grieving in the way a young woman should never have to grieve, and her friends and family are grieving with her and for her. Then one night, she has an epiphany. She wants to live—not just to breathe and exist, but to really be alive! But, how do you do that with a broken heart? She will need the help of 2 very special women to step out of the cocoon in which she has been encased for so long.  

Ruth Hogan has created a masterpiece. My favorite thing about this book is Masha. She thinks thoughts that we all think and the author is brave enough to allow us to peek into Masha’s mind. She is the kind of person you want as a friend. "The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes" bowled me over and changed me in some beautiful way. I can’t stop thinking about the lovely characters I met in this quintessentially British book. 

The plot enraptured me from the start. It’s something we must all deal with at some time—grief, and moving on. “I am trying so hard to change; to let go of the grief that hobbles me. And sometimes I can. But grief is not a linear thing. It reboots unexpectedly at a certain smell or sight or sound, and some days I still feel as though my world is like a patchwork quilt that’s coming unstitched.” –Masha

I always comment on any potentially offensive content. There are several instances of swearing, but they weren’t really offensive to me. Sally Red Shoes regularly greets passersby with a cheery “F--- Off!” She doesn’t intend to, but her mind is muddled and that’s what comes out. There is no explicit sex.

This book caused me to laugh out loud, many times, and also caused me to cry. There are 2 different stories told from 2 different points-of-view. Until you become clear on who the characters are and how they fit together, this can be confusing. It didn’t take me long, though, to figure out who’s who. 

I recommend The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes, especially to anyone who loves honest stories of pain, love, and growth. It is available for presale until it is released June 11, 2019. I give The wisdom of Sally Red Shoes 5 well-deserved stars

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.”
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Ruth Hogan writes beautifully about how a mother copes with her grief.  After years of self-inflicted condemnation, Masha becomes aware of the impact her grief has on her family and friends.  She begins a slow awakening, seeing people through a new lens. A well told story with an unexpected ending.
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The power of love, death, reflections, friendships, and ultimately our ability to see a celebration in light of tragedy.
Life is meant to be lived!
Plain and simple with all its complexities, intricacies, and turmoil both good and bad. It's meant to be shared. It's meant to be challenging making us move beyond our boundaries to a whole new realm of possibilities.
I love everything about this novel and I love Ruth Hogan!
She has never disappointed readers and this newest work is no exception to her magnificent writing.
The colorful plot thickens with characters that hold their own and make you walk the line with them on their journeys.
Even the companion who is fluffy and adorable has a story to tell .
The bag lady is a connector to the cemetery ghosts and the stories that they tell will leave you breathless.
The individual stories are delicate and beautiful; heartbreaking and awe inspiring; madness and calm all at the same time.
We do know that Masha (nickname) has been dealing with a terrible tragedy at the loss of her beloved son Gabriel.
What is magical is how Ruth gives readers bits and pieces woven throughout the novel that forces you to keep reading and moving along.
As those pieces are developed and dropped it's the visual that's coming together that moves the readers to another place.
There was no funeral for Gabriel and perhaps for good reason.
Perhaps in dying we learn our life had meaning and learn that life is more than just living.
The story behind Alice who is facing her biggest health battle yet along with her marriage to Michael at such a young age adds that extra bit of wisdom and madness.
The twister with Alice is pure magic!
What more can I say this is a must read for 2019!
Thank you to Ruth, her publisher, NetGalley, and Aldiko for this ARC in exchange for this honest review.
PS> Make sure you read Author's Notes at the end as they are equally powerful. Hugs to Ruth!
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This a hauntingly sad book about a mother who loses her only child when he is very young and the ensuing decade plus of mourning for him. It is also about her learning to live again, with the help of some very interesting and supporting people along the way.

I really enjoyed the author's writing style and really liked the character of Masha. However, I did guess the ending very early on in the book (about a quarter of the way through it.) And, I would have really liked the ending to have been played out more and developed. I felt like the ending was too fast, and I really wanted to read more about Masha's reaction to the end. Perhaps there will be a sequel? Even so, I really enjoyed the book and look forward to reading more by this author.
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A wonderful story about grief, loss and friendship. I really enjoyed this. Ruth Hogan is a wonderful author. It keeps you interested and turning pages. There are tears both of sadness and joy, really recommended a great read.

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
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I enjoyed the sophomore novel by Hogan just as much as her debut. Great characters and powerful themes of loss, grief, friendship and joy. Highly recommended.
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I found this booking moving and difficult to read at times.  It weaves a complex story around people who have experienced death and loss.  The characters are well  developed and it is easy to get a sense of their emotional well being. It brings into the open the issues surrounding love, death and loss and how ;human fraility sometimes doesn't recognise or value these emotions.  Trying to lock them away and stay safe from for many a defence mechanism that is their only source of protection.

The book allows you to enter into a world of sadness and despair but it also demonstrates the different ways in which it is possible to live alongside grief and not let it define you.  In a way it becomes a friend rathestrr than an enemy.  

A well written book which i felt was a well woth the read but not for the feint hearted!
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I absolutely loved the keeper of lost things and The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes is no different. This book was mesmerizing from the very first page (and obviously the cover!) books don’t usually make me cry, but this one sure as heck did!  Must read for everyone.
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I'll be honest..I really struggled with this one. It took me a long time to actually get into it and finally at the 50% mark I started to devour it! It was a bit predictable and the ending left me wanting a little more. I enjoyed the chapters being each character's perspective but I feel like we didn't get enough of Alice's backstory until right at the end. I give this story 3 stars.
Thanks to #NetGalley for the ARC
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Masha is a single woman grieving the death of her son. It's been twelve years since the tragic accident that took her son's life and Masha is still trying to find a way to continue living. She is lonely and, in an effort to sort her feelings after his passing, she goes to the local cemetery day after day in hopes that her graveyard visits offer some hope and company to those that have already been forgotten. 

While Masha spends her time at the cemetery and at the lido swimming her days away, we meet Alice-- a single mom of a teenage boy that she cannot help but overprotect. Mattie is a vibrant kid, with lots of friends and lots of energy. But Alice holds dark secrets that threaten not only her well being but her relationship with Mattie. 

The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes is a story about grief and repentance. The character of "Sally", though only sporadically mentioned, offers insights that Masha uses to catapult her into letting go and start living a life without her precious son. 

Although, I can see where Ruth Hogan was trying to go with this book, it lacked a cohesive enough story line to keep me entertained all the way through. The beginning of the book was challenging. it was difficult to follow a story that seemed to be plopped out of nowhere. The characters felt incomplete and sometimes even rushed. I wish she would have spent some more time developing the character of Alice, which held way more importance than was alluded. I felt like the book should have left me with more of a cathartic feeling, especially being a book dealing with grief. Instead I was left with more questions than answers and a lot of frustration. 

I am deeply disappointed in this book. I went into it with high hopes, especially having read the reviews of some of the other novels that Ruth Hogan has written. I wanted to love it, but it just wasn't my cup of tea.
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This is an outstanding book, filled with loss and hope in equal measure. At the heart of it is a mystery of sorts, but one which stays in the background to let the events of the present day take centre stage.
Masham is slowly emerging from a stage of mourning for her son, Gabriel, helped on her journey by a colourful cast of friends and acquaintances, including Sally Red Shoes. Alice is a woman coming to terms with what the future holds for her and her teenage son. The former blossoms out of her grief, the latter is fading into it,. The reader knows they must be linked in some way but the narrative doesn’t push the detail, rather letting the truth dawn gradually.
The characters, main and peripheral, are wonderfully written with a sharp eye for realism and tone and a perfect ear for dialogue. Descriptions of sensations, feelings and places are equally rich and adept.
The book is heartbreakingly sad in places but never mawkish. I wanted the resolution to come but I didn’t want it to end. It deals sensitively and realistically with death - of children, of friends and of old habits. Despite the subject matter there are some marvellous scenes of humour, Masha’s thoughts in particular are sharply amusing.
As well as knowing precisely what to include the author knows what to leave out too and the impact of the ending is all the better for this. I can’t recommend this book enough and I look forward to sharing my thoughts on it upon publication.
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Cleverly written and enjoyable read. I liked the moments of humor sprinkled about, and the rich characters. There’s some emotional moments, which are beautifully expressed. I didn’t recognize some of the references which apparently are people well known in England.
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What a lovely introduction to Ruth Hogan's writing! I love a good book that makes you really feel something, and with this one, there were so many quotes and passages that alternately felt like a punch in the gut or that took my breath away that I feel as though I highlighted nearly half the book!

The Keeper of Lost Things has been on my TBR for quite some time, so when I saw that this was available on NetGalley, I requested it right away. I was a little worried that this would be a very heavy read, given some of the subject matter, but it really wasn't. She handles topics like death, illness, and grieving with a sense of poignancy and grace. With the addition of humor (which had me actually laughing out loud at times) and a set of quirky characters to lighten the mood, the story felt perfectly balanced. This book was very well-written and compelling, and rather than being a page-turner, it was one that I wanted to slow down and savor.

Besides Sally, of course, Masha was my favorite character. She absolutely came to life for me, and she felt to real. I loved watching her character develop, as she went through grieving and learning to live again. I rooted for her the whole way, and she ended up feeling like a dear friend.

As for the plot, I love a good duel narrative, and this was no exception. I had an inkling of how everything would turn out, but I didn't see how it would all happen. I feel very satisfied with the ending, and I loved seeing how it all came together. 

Overall, this is a wonderful, compelling story, filled with emotion. I was so pleased with Hogan's writing that I must get my hands on The Keeper of Lost Things very soon. This is one of those books that will make you feel a lot and give you a lot to think about. I know Sally Red Shoes will stay on my mind for some time to come.
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This book stirs deep and slow as you dive deeper into the story. The writing style is simply brilliant and even on such sensitive subjects and moments, it was still really beautiful.
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