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The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes

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4.13  ·  Rating details ·  3,563 ratings  ·  533 reviews
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 encoun
...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: June 11th 2019 by Crooked Lane Books (first published May 3rd 2018)
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4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,563 ratings  ·  533 reviews


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Paromjit
Ruth Hogan's experience of cancer informs this meditation on grief, death and sorrow, infused with her trademark eccentric characters, along with joyous wit and humour. This is a darker story than The Keeper of Lost Things, of women experiencing loss, the death of children, hitting rock bottom but finding a way through to initially survive but eventually to live again. Hogan replicates the structure of her debut novel here, with the main strand in the narrative focusing on Masha, and a secondary ...more
Liz
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ruth Hogan can paint a picture like no other. Her words color the page and create a detailed scene. If I started quoting all the phrases I loved, I’d never be able to stop. Her characters are vibrant. She can have me alternating between crying and laughing in the space of a page.

I adore books like this, that give us life with all quirks. Masha lost her little boy 12 years ago and has just been surviving. During a dinner party (hilarious and sad), she realizes it’s time to move on. It’s not an e
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Miriam Smith
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookbridgr
Just look at that cover! Isn't it beautiful? I always love an attractive cover and this one certainly ticks all the boxes.
"The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes" is an exceptional and mesmerising exploration of the simple human connections that make life worth living, about dark secrets, hope, unexpected friendships and second chances.
This is a very, very sad book at times covering some extremely painful issues but I loved the way the author Ruth Hogan introduced humour that was subtle enough to still k
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Phrynne
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 5000-2019
A very brave book about death and about cancer written by Ruth Hogan when she was herself undergoing treatment for cancer. However do not for one moment think that it is a "difficult" or sad book. The sad is outweighed by the optimistic and the good, and there are many light hearted moments.

This is my second book by this author and she has a very recognisable and descriptive style. Sometimes nothing happens for pages but the content of those pages is pure reading pleasure. Her characters are fun
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Helga
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british
“Life is full of small joys if you know where to look for them.”

Ruth Hogan, what have you done to me? Is it fair to make me cry on a Monday morning? My heart is shattered. My face is wet! You are one of those rare authors who can make me cry and laugh at the same time. I never thought anything you write could outshine the exceptional five star The Keeper of Lost Things. But apparently you can and you did. Bravo!

“When the music ends for someone you love you don’t stop dancing. You dance for them.
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Cheri
4.5 Stars

This story begins with an older woman in a graveyard, who “throws open her arms and exhales with a perfect top C,” a note that soars past the headstones through the graveyard, down the hill, who no one else hears except the creatures in the trees or those scampering about gathering acorns. She’s momentarily lost in memories of another day, another year, a moment when she was wearing a fine silk gown almost the same shade as the dilapidated red shoes she wears now, along with her tattere
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Louise Wilson
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Masha was once spirited, independent woman with a rebellious streak. Her life has been 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 the towns lido, where she seeks refuge underwater - safe from the noise and the pain.

This is a well written book that deals with death and mourning it does have its lighter moments though. Masha has never got over the death of her son who drowned at
...more
Fran
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dressed in an oversized, worn coat and wearing scuffed red Mary Jane shoes, an old woman visits the cemetery. She is eccentric. She smiles. She "enunciates her expletives beautifully". Soon she will leave the cemetery, bag of bread crumbs in hand, and feed the crows in the park. It appears that the cemetery is a place of comfort. For Masha, "the cemetery is [my] her sanctuary" as well.

Every week, Masha swims in the Charleston Lido Pool. Actually, she goes there to drown...almost. As a self-profe
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Pauline
Apr 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan is a story about loss and mourning.
I found the beginning on the book confusing and slow. There were some good quirky characters but the subject matter was heart breaking. I would like to thank NetGalley and John Murray Press for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
*https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com
Inevitably readers will want to make comparisons to The Keeper of Lost Things, the first highly acclaimed novel by writer Ruth Hogan. I missed it myself, so I am a newcomer to Ruth Hogan’s writing. The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes is an introspective book that serves up a study of grief, sadness and loss, with moments of joy. Despite the melancholy main subject matter, it is utlimately an uplifting tale.

A highly original tale of the friendships we forge in the
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Lou
Jun 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is both my first book by Ruth Hogan and first from the "women's fiction" genre in many months. A synopsis has to really grab me for me to be willing to give the genre a chance. It gives me a welcome change from all of the crime, fantasy and scifi that I tend to gravitate towards.

Unfortunately, I struggled to connect to this novel. The story is accomplished and is well-written and plotted, but there was something missing for me. The characters are quirky and interesting, it certainly wasn't
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Holly
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes is a story of transformation as well as atonement. Masha lost her young son 12 years ago and has never fully recovered. Grief has paralyzed her and she holds on to it as a way to assuage the guilt she feels for Gabriel losing his life. While Masha is alive and fully functional, she is merely going through the motions of living. She takes her dog Hazium for walks in the cemetery where she converses with the dead. Masha aspires to be a cemetery guide and she makes up ...more
SueLucie
Apr 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I am so sorry not to feel able to rate this higher. I was very taken with Ruth Hogan’s first novel and had high hopes of enjoying this one equally, but it didn’t quite hit the spot for me. In her afterword, she says she worried she had ‘already used my best plot, most engaging characters and cleverest phrases’ and I fear there is a grain of truth in that. The whimsy and quirkiness of the first novel that I enjoyed so much - its characters, their interaction and dialogue - were lacking for me in ...more
Ruthy lavin
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think I’m one person in the minority here who read this second novel by Ruth Hogan before the first - although ‘The keeper of lost things’ has been on my TBR list for ages and ages.
I have very high expectations for it now that I’ve read this - what a fantastic book.
I loved, loved, loved it!!
Great combination of humour and loss, written so unbelievably well - it was one of those rarity’s that I couldn’t wait to snuggle up with. I actually pined for the next chapter when I reluctantly had to t
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walkingfortheloveofbooks
Book Review - The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan. Women's Fiction.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for gifting me the ARC.
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This book has two main characters, Masha and Alice.
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Mashas likes to swim and also likes taking walks through the cemetery. Masha in this book is actually dealing with grief of the death of her son, 14 years ago, fed up with living in the past she tries very hard to turn over a new leaf. Her wolfhound called Haizum keeps her company. At the swimming p
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Catalina
Rather conflicted about this one.
One the one hand I truly loved the main plot: I've liked the quirkiness of the characters, the dialogues, the sarcasm, the grief was so real and believable, the writing style was just perfect and the Britishness of it all was exquisite. On the other had I've kind of hated the subplot. I believe the book would have stood up on itself just fine without it, even if arguably has given some depth to the story.
BUT, and this is a huge BUT: I absolutely HATED the resol
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Lucy Banks
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A prime example of how heart-wrenching, upsetting subject matters can still be uplifting and lovely.

Gosh. I finished this last night and sat for about twenty minutes, processing what I'd just read. It was remarkably well done, and all the more so for being so accessible and fun.

There are two principle characters in this book - Masha, a woman in grieving for her two year old son, and trying to learn how to live her life again, and A
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Sarah Connor
I wanted to love this book more than I did. It has so much going for it - an intriguing plot, a great character list, the whole swimming thing...

However, it was just too short. None of the characters got chance to grow. I was expected to care about somebody on the basis of a funny name and a couple of paragraphs. There were almost too many events, too quickly, and not enough connection in between them, and I think it tried to do too much. it could have been three times as long, and really explor
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Tracy Fenton
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You know those books that you literally speed read eager to find out what happens next, turning the pages super fast devouring the words?  Well this is NOT one of those books.  In fact this is completely the opposite.  I found I was actually pacing myself and savouring the words, deliberating putting the book down several times just to think about these incredible characters and to appreciate the story-line.

This is Ruth Hogan's second book (I loved The Keeper of Lost Things - read my review here
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Miriam Smith
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookbridgr
Just look at that cover! Isn't it beautiful? I always love an attractive cover and this one certainly ticks all the boxes.
"The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes" is an exceptional and mesmerising exploration of the simple human connections that make life worth living, about dark secrets, hope, unexpected friendships and second chances.
This is a very, very sad book at times covering some extremely painful issues but I loved the way the author Ruth Hogan introduced humour that was subtle enough to still k
...more
Jessika
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 r
...more
Anne
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
...more
Heather
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
⭐⭐⭐⭐💫 Review to come... ...more
Bojana
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing

I find it hard to write this review properly, since I've just finished book and I'm overwhelmed with emotions, happiness and melancholy at the same time. In the beginning I had a kind of struggle, but story soon started to develop and I stared to enjoy it. And I enjoy it very, very much.

I'm not even sure what I like more - the part of story about life: (unexpected) friendships that make life worth living, hope and second chances, or part about death: grief and sorrow that it brings, but even mor
...more
Jen
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Masha is drowning in her grief. 12 years ago her beloved son drowned. Masha can’t move past this enormous loss and the local cemetery becomes her sanctuary. She meets two women who will help her out of the muck and reclaim her life. This is a beautiful story of grief and how humans can overcome life’s hardships. A heartwarming story of friendship, human complexities, the impact we have on others, and what a beautiful gift life is. It took me awhile to get into this book, as the first third moves ...more
Lisa
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
I loved this family drama - it made me laugh and it made me cry - in equal measures!
I won't go into the plot as a. Other people have done it much better than I could and b. No spoilers here.
If you love character driven novels and are interested in people coping with life more than big plot driven stories then this is a book you will enjoy.
I recommend this as an audio book.
Sally Boocock
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Totally loved this book. A story about love and loss, drowning, cemeteries and hope. For anyone who loved Eleanor Oliphant, Harold Fry or any books in that genre.
Lydia Bailey
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Ruth Hogans writing! We’re currently away on a family break in Brighton so I’ve been reading during the early hours as I couldn’t put this down. It wasn’t as easy a read as Keeper of Lost Things & it is one you definitely need to concentrate on to keep abreast of her meaning. Definitely not one to skim read or you’ll miss the whole point. It took me until precisely page 64 to ‘get into it’ ....Some will say the subject matter is macabre but it has so many layers of humour & humani ...more
Alice
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I adored ‘The Keeper of Lost Things’ so was very excited to read this second novel by Ruth Hogan. I enjoyed this one almost as much. Much like ‘Lost Things’, it was well written with characters you really cared about. However, ‘Sally Red Shoes’ deals with a much more serious subject matter - death and mourning - and this made it a slightly harder read. Sally’s piece of wisdom that runs through the book is very profound though and touched me deeply. All in all, I enjoyed this book and would defin ...more
Mikayla
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my God I can't even deal with this. It was so good and so sad and I just don't even have words at the moment.... 😭
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I was born in the house where my parents still live in Bedford: my sister was so pleased to have a sibling that she threw a thrupenny bit at me. As a child I read everything I could lay my hands on: The Moomintrolls, A Hundred Million Francs, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, the back of cereal packets and gravestones. I was mad about dogs and horses, but didn't like daddy-long-legs or sugar i ...more
“When the music ends for someone you love you don't stop dancing. You dance for them as well.” 5 likes
“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 baulk 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.” 1 likes
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