BOOK REVIEW: The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan

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 under water, 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…
Publisher: Two Roads
Pages: 352
Ruth Hogan’s debut novel, The Keeper of Lost Things was a huge hit last year and received plenty of attention when it was included in The Richard and Judy Book Club. I loved the book and told so many people about it. I was very excited to be contacted about the author’s latest book, The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes but also a little anxious in case it didn’t live up to expectations. I needn’t have worried as it is brilliant and once again showcases Ruth Hogan’s beautiful talent as a writer.
The book focuses on Masha who has suffered a tragedy over 12 years ago. She is still getting by day by day yet she is merely coping rather than actually living. She spends a lot of time in her local Victorian Cemetery and also at the local lido. Then she meets Kitty Muriel and Sally, both of these women are extraordinary in their own way. They make Masha take a step back and look at her life and maybe start hoping and living again.
Ruth Hogan is the Queen of eccentric characters; The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes has many memorable and quirky characters, you cannot fail to remember them long after the last page. I loved all of the details about the cemetery and the way they dealt with mourning. Hogan demonstrates how there is no right or wrong way, Masha is the only one who can control her grief, the only one who can start living again and embracing the future. She just needs that spark and Kitty and Sally may be the ones to provide it.
If you haven’t ready anything by Ruth Hogan yet then I urge you to get her books. Her writing is beautiful, raw and poignant and this one has a cover just as stunning as her debut!

Many thanks to Two Roads for allowing me to read and review this book via Netgalley.

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