Title: The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes
Author: Ruth Hogan
Year of Publication: 2018
Number of Pages: 293
Summary: From Goodreads: “Masha is drowning. Once a spirited, independent woman with a rebellious streak, her life has been forever changed by a tragic event twelve years ago. Unable to let go of her grief, she finds solace in the silent company of the souls of her local Victorian cemetery and at the town’s lido, where she seeks refuge underwater – safe from the noise and the pain.
But a chance encounter with two extraordinary women – the fabulous and wise Kitty Muriel, a convent girl-turned-magician’s wife-turned-seventy-something-roller-disco-fanatic, and the mysterious Sally Red Shoes, a bag lady with a prodigious voice – opens up a new world of possibilities, and the chance to start living again.
Until the fateful day when the past comes roaring back…”
Review: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes follows a woman named Masha, who is struggling with grief twelve years after her family was ripped apart. Her friends and family tiptoe around her, always afraid that they’ll say the wrong thing and make the pain worse. Fortunately, for Masha, she encounters two women who help her find a way to start living again. The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes is a heartfelt story full of memorable and inspiring characters, that looks at death, grief, and learning how to live again.
What made me fall in love with this book was the characters. Masha is such a multi-dimensional character, and every chapter made me want to learn more about her. I loved reading about her and watching her slowly emerge from her shell of grief and learning to love again. I also loved that she was interested in the cemetery and that she created stories and lives for the people who were long forgotten. Masha’s eccentric group of friends also made the book incredibly enjoyable. I absolutely loved Kitty Muriel, and I hope that I have that much spunk when I’m her age.
The other thing that I liked about this book is that there was a bit of a mystery in the background. Certain chapters were told from Alice’s perspective, but the book didn’t make it clear who Alice was until the very end. I was able to guess how she played into the story early on, but I liked that we didn’t find out exactly how she fit in until we got to know her better. I also liked how the reader didn’t find out the exact details of Masha’s tragedy until she was ready to take the steps required to start living again.
I also liked that this book deals with some very serious topics. It deals with death, with grief, with cancer, with guilt, and so many other things that people deal with every day. I felt that the way these topics were dealt with and portrayed were accurate and believable and that the author handled them delicately. I also liked that despite all these heavy topics, the book was overwhelmingly positive and that it left me with a smile on my face.
Rating: 4/5 Stars