The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan ★★☆☆☆ #BookReview #BookBlog

43238545Primary Genre(s): Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Published: 11 Jun 2019 by Crooked Lane Books
Page count: 293
My Format: eBook, ARC
Cover: Eye-catching
Pacing: Painfully slow
Ending: ARGH!!!
Would I recommend it: No
Commission Link:

My rating: ★☆☆☆

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…

My Thoughts
As of today, this book has over 3,500 ratings on Goodreads and it is averaging 4.13 stars. It is rated highly on other sites as well and it has a lot of praise from well-respected sources. So, it appears I am in the minority here, but I don’t think I have ever been more bored or depressed while reading a book. Here are my pros and cons:


  1. The cover is nice. The cover is what drew me to this book.
  2. I will give the author credit for creating a very specific atmosphere in the book – it was almost too real. Sadly since the topics are grief and loss, being so “real” made it also difficult to read (for me).
  3. I will also give the author credit for writing about some very heartbreaking topics with a great deal of humanity.


  1. I’m not heartless. I understand the story – the sadness and the grief that everyone is experiencing. But the sadness and the grief was just overwhelming and hard to take and honestly, for me it just wasn’t pleasant to read. It was too much. Even when Masha started to deal with her grief and come out of her shell a bit, it was too little too late for me.
  2. I really struggled to read this novel. I didn’t connect to the characters at all.
  3. The whole dinner scene at the beginning of the book was so far-fetched and weird for me that I’m afraid it affected how I perceived the remainder of the book.
  4. I wanted more about Sally. I didn’t get near enough Sally.
  5. The best part of the book was at the very end and it felt like it was an afterthought! Finally it was going somewhere – something was happening! And boom… end of book. ARGH!!

I understand that this book is supposed to be about finding your joy, and dancing in the rain, and connecting with others in spite of your circumstances or the tragedies you’ve experienced. It is about living in spite of grief and pain. I didn’t, however, get that from the book personally. To me it was just overly sad and depressing. I actually feel really bad about this but I’m sorry to say I couldn’t wait to finish it so I could move on to something else.

Thank you NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for a free electronic ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing through this link: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!


11 thoughts on “The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan ★★☆☆☆ #BookReview #BookBlog

  1. It’s so hard when so many people like a book and you don’t. I read Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel by the same author and I struggled to get through it. Same thing, incredibly depressing for the first half and didn’t really pick up until I got way over half way through, then it was really good.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If her other books are also depressing I think I may have to give her a pass. I want to enjoy what I read and I just didn’t enjoy this one. Topic was just too tough for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the compliment! I started blogging by just writing posts essay style and I found myself sort of retelling the story instead of actually reviewing it. One day I jotted down my pros and cons for a book to help me get my thoughts in order and I had my Eureka moment! This was how I should do all of my posts from now on! So I started reviewing with a P and C list and the rest is history!

    Regarding this book? It isn’t a bad book per se, I’m just not into reading such depressing stories. It’s a real downer for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oooo I requested this one too and dnf’ed and after reading this review I’m soooo glad that I did! Omg my mental health just couldn’t handle this depressing read. I felt the same about not connecting with the characters too.


  5. Thank you for sharing! I would have DNFed also if it wasn’t a NetGalley arc. I feel obligated (although I prob shouldn’t) to read the books they send me. I think you made the right decision for sure and I’m glad I’m not alone regarding finding this book difficult.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. lol I don’t feel obligated to read anything and I will DNF something SO fast if I’m not feeling it! lmao Idk I feel like life is too short and my TBR is wayyy too long to read something that I’m not enjoying. 🤷🏻‍♀️

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m working on my DNF abilities for that exact reason – too many good books out there to suffer through one you aren’t enjoying! I actually DNFed 3 books last year and I don’t regret it at all. I’m getting better at respecting my time. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree. It is ok. I’m sure there are books I love that others don’t like. The great thing is that there are enough books in the world for all of us to find the ones we love! 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

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