Tuesday, 26 June 2018

The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan @ruthmariehogan @TwoRoadsBooks #SallyRedShoes

Masha's life has stopped. 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. But just as Masha dares to imagine the future, the past comes roaring back ...

The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan was published in hardback by Two Roads Books on 3 May 2018, it will be published in paperback in September. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes is the author's second novel. I read and reviewed her first, The Keeper of Lost Things, here on Random Things in December 2016 

So here we are again; that much anticipated second novel from an author who totally delighted me with her first book. Whilst I was very excited to receive my copy of Sally Red Shoes, I had that feeling of fear too. Would Ruth Hogan be able to match The Keeper of Lost Things? Would I be as enthralled or would it be a disappointment?

The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes is a very different story compared to the author's first novel. It's a little darker, with themes that are distressing at times. However, her writing is just as wonderful and her characters just as joyous as her first book. Fans, you have no need to fear, this is another beautiful story from an author who writes like a dream.

The lead character, Masha, is a troubled woman. Her life changed beyond all recognition twelve years ago, and although time has moved on, her heart is still heavy. Her life revolves around the local lido where she practices drowning, yes drowning, for heartbreaking reasons. She also spends time in the cemetery; making up her own stories about the people who lay in the graves.

The story is so sad, Masha is tortured and at times it's difficult to read about her pain and grief. However, the chance meeting with not one, but two, extraordinary women do lighten the load for both the reader, and for Masha. Ruth Hogan's characters are a joy to discover. As the reader, and Masha grow to know Kitty Muriel and Sally Red Shoes, the story becomes more uplifting and there's a delicate, if sometimes dark humour running through it.

Once again, Ruth Hogan has delivered a story that will delight her readers. The differing points of view, the various voices and the themes explored are handled with compassion and delicacy. There are issues that will strike a chord with most readers, yet this author artfully handles them.

Emotional, moving and beautifully written. The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes is cleverly crafted, charming and a complete joy to read.

About the Author, by the Author
Hello dear readers, please allow me to introduce myself...

I was brought up in a house full of books, and grew up with an unsurprising passion for reading and writing. I also loved dogs and ponies, seaside piers, snow globes and cemeteries. So of course, I was going to be a vet, show jumper, Eskimo or gravedigger.

Or maybe a writer...

I studied English and Drama at Goldsmiths College, University of London where I hennaed my hair, wore dungarees and generally had an amazing time. And then I got a proper job. For ten years I had a successful if uninspiring career in local government before a car accident left me unable to work full-time and was the kick up the butt I needed to start writing seriously. 

It was all going well, but then in 2012 I got cancer, which was bloody inconvenient but precipitated an exciting hair journey from bald to a peroxide blonde Annie Lennox crop. When chemo kept me up all night I passed the time writing and the eventual result was THE KEEPER OF LOST THINGS, my first novel, which was published in January 2017, and has now been selected as a Richard and Judy Book Club pick.

My second novel, THE WISDOM OF SALLY RED SHOES, published in May 2018 and you can order the book now. 

I live in a chaotic Victorian house with an assortment of rescue dogs and my long-suffering husband. I am a magpie; always collecting treasures (or 'junk' depending on your point of view) and a huge John Betjeman fan.

My favourite word is 'antimacassar' and I still like reading gravestones.


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