Cover Image: The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes

The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes

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Member Reviews

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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Thank you to Ruth Hogan and Crooked Lane Books for a copy of this book.

I truly loved this book, even though it made me cry like a baby. Although the story is about death and mourning, there are some hopeful parts. Having recently lost an Uncle, this book resonated with me and gave me all the feels.

I love Ruth Hogan's writing, and can't wait to read more of her work.
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The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes was a slow burn to a great novel. It was set with raw emotions of loneliness from loss and what might have been. The unconventional characters that cross paths to show there is always a rainbow after rain.
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The Wisdom Of Sally Red Shoes
by Ruth Hogan
Ruth Hogan, the internationally bestselling author behind The Keeper of Lost Things returns with an irresistible novel of unexpected friendships, second chances—and dark secrets…
They say friends make life worth living…
Once a spirited, independent woman with a rebellious streak, Masha's life was forever changed by a tragic event twelve years ago. Unable to let go of her grief, she finds comfort in her faithful canine companion Haizum, and peace in the quiet lanes of her town's swimming pool. Almost without her realizing it, her life has shuddered to a halt.
It’s only when Masha begins an unlikely friendship with the mysterious Sally Red Shoes, a bag lady with a prodigious voice and a penchant for saying just what she means, that a new world of possibilities opens up: new friendships, new opportunities, and even a chance for new love. For the first time in years, Masha has the chance to start living again.
But just as Masha dares to imagine the future, her past comes roaring back…
A very sweet book with a quirky cast. Masha and The bag lady  Sally Red shoes. Friends do indeed make like worth living.
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I would like to thank NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The story explained grief in the most beautiful and heartbreaking way.  I instantly fell in love with the characters and how they helped me understand my own grief and sadness.  If you have experienced grief, this book will help you emotionally empathize with losing someone just as the main character Masha did with her son.
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The main character, Masha, is unable to get through her grief and continues to fall more and more into depression each day. She is getting closer and closer to hitting rock bottom. Masha "swims" which translates to trying to feel the sensation of drowning to try and simulate what her son may have felt in his last movements. Throughout the story her life connects with another and she is eventually able to overcome her grief and live again! The story is well told and the characters are excellent. The story is different from manyI have read before and I really enjoyed it.
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I found this to be another enjoyable novel from Ruth Hogan. I’m not sure if all the elements of the plot really came together at the end of everything. I still did find this to be a charming and diverting way to spend a snowy day at home. Even if I felt this novel could’ve used a bit more polish, I will still look for more books to come from Ruth Hogan.
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This is a charming novel that leaves you feeling brim full of that happy sadness when something has jerked at your heart, but in a good way.
It deals with grief and loss, and doesn't shy away from the trauma and mourning process, yet has wonderful flashes of light, in the chance meetings of Sally Red Shoes and the protagonist. 
My only criticism was that I didn't want (as I suspected) a half baked mystery thrown in at the end - the foreshadowing was there in the book, and I was hoping I was wrong, because it is not needed, and the resolution of this mystery, to my mind, cheapens the emotions of the rest of the book. 
Still, a recommended afternoon and cup of tea novel.
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“When the music ends for someone you love you don't stop dancing. You dance for them as well.” 

This book is essentially about death and learning to live with it. It is also an eye opener that makes you want to stare at it right in the face and say 'Seriously?'.

The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes (long title) is about two women. Masha, a grieving mother who has lost her child and Alice, the overprotective mother of her son Mattie. Told through the dual POV of these two ladies (with Mattie sometimes chiming in with his thoughts) the book is a delightful and compelling book. 

“We are so much more comfortable saying ‘fuck’ than ‘dead’. We are happy to let children spend hours merrily slaughtering, maiming and motherfucking in front of their computer screens, and yet balk at them attending the funeral of a dearly loved grandparent in case it upsets them. I think we are teaching them to be afraid of the wrong things.”

Masha is a character you'll end up falling in love with. Her grief is omnipresent in the book, even after so many years. Her ramblings, albeit sometimes too long, are a pleasure to read, filled with little tidbits of facts, word of days, and social commentary. My favorite has to be her little stories about the graves she visits in the cemetery.
Alice, by the time you finish the book becomes a character you feel sorry for. (view spoiler) The other hidden gems in the book - Kitty Muriel, Edward, Masha's mother and not to mention Sally - make the book worth a read. 

I'm not afraid of death, I find the living far more alarming 

What I didn't like was the ending. Although it is a fairly understandable epilogue, I left the book feeling cheated of what could have been something grand.
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I really loved The Keeper of Lost Things, so I was delighted to check out Ruth Hogan's second novel. The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes introduces quirky, but loveable characters. It's a mediation on friendship and grief.
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This was an absolutely delightful book! Hated to have it end. I really want to read more books by this very talented author. I don't think I've laughed so hard over a book in a very long time. You will laugh and you will cry.
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