Cover Image: The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes

The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes

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Member Reviews

“When the music ends for someone you love, you don’t stop dancing.  You dance for them as well.”

I will admit, it took several chapters to get into Ruth Hogan’s new novel, but it was so worth the effort.  This book shares the loves and losses of several women and the different ways they handled their losses and learned to love again.  Each of their lives became intertwined, and their strength came from each other.  Although I figured out the twist long before it was revealed, I am so in love with Ruth Hogan’s writing and her characters that it truly didn’t matter.  Beautiful story of overcoming loss to live and love again.

Thank you to Net Galley for an advance copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

If I could split this book into two parts, I would. The first half was really slow and I had a hard time getting into it and figuring out where, if anywhere, it was going.  The second part of the book was entertaining and I enjoyed it. 

It follows the lives of two women. Masha who 14+ years prior had lost her son in a tragic accident. She never recovered from the grief and would wander around the local cemetery taking comfort in the solitude and visiting other graves and making stories up about them. She meets a flamboyant bag lady, she calls Sally, at the cemetery who loves to sing. 

Alice is an overprotective mother of a teenage son. She is battling cancer. She has a secret that she is afraid that God won't absolve her of when she dies. 

Masha hits rock bottom and finds out that she can go on living without her son and slowly starts living her life again. 

Near the end of the book there is a twist that I had figured out pretty early on.
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Not often will I intentionally put a book down for the pure reason that the book is so good I don't want to finish it. 

To be honest with you, I could have finished this book in one sitting. But I wanted the book in my life longer. 

The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes is one of the most well-written books I have ever read. I found myself rereading paragraphs to appreciate the beauty of Ruth's words a second time. While the story itself is sad (the death of a young boy and dealing with the diagnosis of cancer) the words that Ruth has chosen make even death sound beautiful. "I hope that heaven exists. Because when the person that you love the most is already dead, it is the one place where you might be reunited, and if heaven is just wishful thinking or an urban myth, the hope of finding them again is gone forever." 

Thank you NetGalley for providing me an ARC of this book in return for my honest review. I can honestly say that when this book hits the shelves I will be purchasing a hard copy to read over and over again.
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This is one of those book that makes you laugh out and moves you at the same time.
I loved it and I couldn't read fast enough but I was sad when it ended.
Everything is well written and likable: the plot, the characters, and the setting.
I look forward to reading other books by this author.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to Crooked Lane Books and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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After reading The Keeper of Lost Things last year, I was eager to read this next book from Ruth Hogan. I think because my expectations were so high, I found this one to be more challenging to enjoy, especially since the narrative involved the ramifications of a death of a child, which I have also experienced. We will buy a copy, for sure, but it wasn't what I was expecting (I downloaded it based on the author's prior novel, and did not read the plot summary beforehand.). Thanks for the opportunity to preview this one.
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This book was a pleasure read. The language flowed so delightfully, I often re-read passages to hear the sound and rhythm of the words themselves. The themes of love and loss were heartbreaking at times. How does a mother live after losing a son? How does she fill her days? Does her heart resume beating? Is there a way to survive after her reason for living is gone? The characters are crafted with care, each one unique with their own problems and joys. This is a book that deserves to be read.

I received an Advanced Readers Copy from Crooked Lane Books through NetGalley. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.
#TheWisdomofSallyRedShoes #NetGalley
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This is author Ruth Hogan's second novel.  I was quite moved by it and plan to read her debut, The Keeper of Lost Things.  She has a talent for describing characters who are fully human, quirky and both struggling and trying their best.

The novel is about two women and those they know, love and/or have lost.  Masha is a mother whose child disappeared a number of years ago and, although not found, was presumed to be dead.  Masha has grieved for him and has struggled to progress in her life.  The reader observes as she moves forward bit by bit, fortified by new and old relationships.  Part of Masha's story takes place at the lido, a favorite locale for me after reading Libby Page's novel.  As in that novel, swimming yields some peace.

Then there is Alice.  She is a mother who is overprotective and very attached to her son.  Her backstory is told with compassion and the reader comes to understand her struggles and decisions.

Sally, herself, is a elderly woman whose past history becomes known late in the novel. She is eccentric and a source of some of Masha's healing.  She reminds Masha of the importance of continuing to dance, both literally and metaphorically.  Other characters include Kitty who has overcome her own tragedy.

While characters in this book have experienced loss, the story is not depressing.  Ruth Hogan writes empathically and I was sorry when the novel ended.  There is a twist that you might see coming but, even if you know, you can enjoy reading about it.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this e-galley.  Ruth Hogan is an author to watch!
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I was drawn to this book because of the title and the cover and the description, however I had a really hard time getting through it. I enjoyed the quirky characters but I had a hard time sorting out who was who, especially at the beginning when the storyline alternated between Masha and Alice. Also Sally Red Shoes made very little appearance for the first third of the book and that was disappointing.  

Thanks to NetGalley, the author and publisher for an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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This was an interesting read. I normally don't like books that go back and forth between stories however this one was well done and kept my interest once I got a little further into it. 
The portrayal of how grief can take over and get the better of people was handled with respect and compassion.
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Awesome book.  Artfully written

I'm not sure I've ever read a book as deep and moving as this book.  I was provided an ARC by NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in exchange for an honest review.  The author, Ruth Hogan has an amazing grasp of the English language.  The sentences are descriptive and filled with emotion that pulls the reader into each new page.  The subject matter will seem rather grim until you are fully into the book, do not stop reading.   Each page, each chapter is better than the last.  The community of characters are drawn together frequently meeting in the community's cemetery and nearby park.  The narrative is shared by two characters that will keep you guessing through to the end. 

The close group of characters and the people they meet along the way build a close relationship and begin to feel the weaknesses that is shared by the experience of losing a loved one.  Ms Hogan pulls moments from each that connects them with each other as they recognize the similarities they share without openly speaking of their losses.  

 I found myself giggling out loud at some of the antics shared by the narrator, wiping tears at points of sadness.  Ruth Hogan takes the reader on quite the ride.  The sentence construction and occasional "word of the day" pulls the reader directly into the story, the scenes.
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Having loved Ruth Hogan's last book,I was so excited to she what she did here. 

This is a heartwarming yet heartbreaking kind of book, but something many people can relate to. Life. Love. Heartbreak. Grief. All done with such astute charm and character.
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This was an enchanting book that I really enjoyed. It dealt with life and grief. There were some sad parts in the book but also parts that made me joyful. I think that this book will be one that my patrons will enjoy at the library. I know many people liked her first book. The keeper of lost things.. Cant wait for it to come out.
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Sally Red Shoes, given this name because of her red shoes. She's eccentric, feeds the crowd bread, sings to the tombstones, confuses her words. Yet she is a woman of stage wisdom. Live life to the fullest, enjoy where you are, what you're doing and who you're with. Especially, don't worry about what people think.
Masha is a psychotherapist. She lost a son when he was two. No body was found. They believe he drowned.  She blames herself.
Alice is a single parent with a teenage son. She has also been diagnosed with cancer. She has a lot to get in order before she dies.
Life is full of twists and turns, ups and downs. 
This is wonderfully written book. The characters are "alive" and relatable. Awesome storyline. 
Extraordinary! A definite must read!!
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This novel was intricately layered with emotion and tough subjects. Marsha struggled to find happiness after a tragedy took her young son from her. She only felt peace when walking through the cemetery or when she practiced drowning herself. The characters she meets along her journey further address the complexity of human emotions: mental illness, love, guilt, loss of identity, cancer. The list goes on.
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Masha lost her only child Gabriel in a drowning accident more than a decade ago. She finds comfort when she visits her local Victorian cemetery regularly. It becomes part of her grieving process. This is where she meets Sally Red Shoes, a fascinating bag lady who has a love of birds and has lots of wisdom to impart.

Alice is the mom of a teenager and she is terminally ill with cancer.

I found the book boring more than anything else. The story did not interest me and the writing style fell flat for me. The ending was abrupt and felt rushed. I struggled to get through the book.
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A beautiful story of love, loss, friendship and family. This is not only a story of a woman's grief but also of hope and laughter,
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Wow! An absolute gem of a story. The cover, title and author all called my name when I saw this and was not disappointed. It’s a story of death, sickness, grief and guilt told with just enough humor thanks to 3 lovable, quirky women. It was slow going at first but the storytelling became very engaging and the prose kept me enchanted. I found myself pausing and reflecting on many occasions on the quiet bits of wisdom, of which there are many.
I would like to thank Net Gallery for an ARC of this novel and I’d especially like to thank the author Ruth Hogan for writing such a gem while fighting your own battle with cancer.
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This story of Masha, is one that I think of most of us can identify with. Tragedies seem to be a very challenging part of life. So when I read that Masha, a strong, independent person, had suffered a tragedy so great, that it severely affected her life, I was eager to see how things turned out for her.

When she meets two very different women, Kitty and Sally Red Shoes, life as Masha knew it, changes for her in ways that she never imagined. I really got into this story, mostly because I felt for the main character, and just wanted everything to work out for her.

Ruth Hogan gave the reader, a story well worth reading, right from the very first words, to the end full stop. I loved how she made the reader feel as if you were there, living everyday with Masha. It inspired me to be grateful for what I have.
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Who could guess that a baglady could bring such change to one's life?  A thoughtful, surprisingly, richly peopled novel studded with poignant and captivating moments.
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hat a beautiful story about love loss and learning to to live again. This is an incredibly moving story about learning to live life to the fullest after suffering a loss of someone you love. The characters are beautifully written and and intriguing. The main character has suffered the loss of her child and this story is her journey through the grieving process and learning to dance again. It is set amongst a beautiful cast or eccentric characters who will grow to love and be genuinely fond of. It is not a depressing book but rather uplifting. I saw the end coming but in a slow follow the bread crumbs kind of way. My only disappointment was the ending. I understand why it ended it where it ended and the point of the story was taken but I wanted MORE. I was ready to follow these characters further through this life and I wanted to see everyone’s story fully play out. If you have ever experienced a loss this is a book for you. I want to thank Netgalley for my advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
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