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Mama's Shoes Hardcover – September 29, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Abbott Press (September 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1458200671
  • ISBN-13: 978-1458200679
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,651,929 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

From Writer's Digest Rebecca D Elswick's debut novel, "Mama's Shoes," has been chosen to receive the prestigious "Mark of Quality" distinction. The "Mark of Quality" is reserved for books published through Abbott Press that come highly recommended for style and literary merit by the Writer's Digest editorial staff. 


From Publisher's Weekly

The tragic and troubled history of the Richardson family is the backbone of this WWII-era coming-of-age tale...Filled with a cast of eccentric bucolic characters and meticulously built scenes, this novel creates an intricate and beautiful landscape...this is a well-tuned and complex work.

From the Author

Mama's Shoes was one of 50 semifinalists in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest.

More About the Author

I am a child of Appalachia, born and raised in the coalfields where I still make my home. My ancestors emigrated from Wales and settled in these rough mountains because they reminded them of their home. Family is important in my corner of Appalachia, and here we all know each other and who our parents were, and who their parents were, and so on and so forth.

My work has appeared in the anthologies A Cup of Comfort: Dog Lovers II and Christmas Blooms. My short fiction has been published in The Literary Journal of the Virginia Writing Project, The Jimson Weed, and The Sweetbay Review 2010: Anthology of Virginia. In 2010, I won first and third place in the Appalachian Author's Guild Short Story Contest. In 2011 I won the Sherwood Anderson Short Story Contest. In 2012, my work placed 3rd in the Virginia Writers Club Golden Nib Contest for non-fiction. In 2013 I won first place in the Lonesome Pine Short Story Contest. Mama's Shoes is my debut novel.

I am married, the mother of three, and a pet lover. At last count, I have four dogs.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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The story is well written, not over written...in short: well done.
Barbara
You will no doubt, laugh, smile and tear up, which makes Mama's Shoes a book that deserves a second read.
Amazon Customer
Elswick's characters have real lives that feel true, as do the Appalachian town and the WWII era.
Aileen Murphy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mike Mullins on January 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
Over the past 35 years, I've got to know a number of great writers by conducting the Hindman Settlement School's Appalachian Writers Workshop. During this time I have read a great number of books by authors from this region. Hundreds of aspiring writers have been part of our workshop. Out of this workshop there have been some participants who have gone on to become nationally known writers. I think Rebecca Elswick's book Mama' Shoes gives her the opportunity to become such a writer. My wife read this book first and she kept telling me how wonderful it was and read me excerpt after excerpt as she read it. When she finished she
stated that this is," one of the best books I've read in years". When I started reading it, I was hooked after only a few pages and as I read it I kept reading except after excerpt to my wife even though she had already read it. Over the past several months I've ordered most of my books electronically because of the content of the books and the fact I want to save a few trees! But I will treasure my hard back copy of Mama's Shoes and thank Rebecca for the copy she sent me and the kind words she wrote in it. I'm already wondering what Sassy's life will be like as she leaves for college!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Billips on November 3, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
"Mama's Shoes" is a wonderful story set in a small coal mining town in Southwest Virginia. It might very well be the last story about Appalichian women because when you start with the best, it is difficult to read anything else. I just hope that this is the first of many stories to come!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Lindsay on May 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
Awesome book by an wonderful author. Couldn't be more pleased with this book. Would recommend to everyone who loves a good small town story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pam Funke Author of The Apocalypse Series on October 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
Book Synopsis:

By the time Sylvia Richardson is eighteen, she has buried her parents; given birth to a daughter; and become a widow. It is 1942, and World War II has destroyed Sylvia's dream of dancing in red heels through life to the melody of a Hank Snow record. Instead, she is raising her daughter, Sassy, alone in the coal mining town she vowed to leave behind.

By 1955, thirteen-year-old Sassy has been brought up on a stiff dose of Mama's lessons on how to be a lady--even though Mama drinks, smokes, and dates a myriad of men. But everything changes the day a woman accuses Sylvia of trying to steal her husband, forcing Sassy to come to terms with her Mama's harsh teen years. For Sylvia, only the support of kith and kin can rescue her from her mistakes.

Spanning twenty years, Mama's Shoes is a haunting saga of love, despair, and forgiveness as a cadence of female voices weaves a spell of mountain lore and secrets, defines family as more than blood kin, and proves second chances can bring happiness.

I received a free copy of this story from the author for the purpose of review. The review is my honest opinion and I was not paid for this service.

Mama's Shoes is a charming story about the lives of Sassy, Sylvia and Aunt Hat. It takes place during World War II and deals with the struggles of a young teenaged mother who is widowed by the war. Not only does Sylvia have to deal with raising a child completely on her own but she has to also deal with the loss of her husband. It's hard enough to raise a child on your own but to have to deal with not only the loss of your spouse but then months later to have your suitor also killed would have been hard for any grown woman to deal with.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peg Robarchek on June 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
"Mama's Shoes" begins with a very young woman on her wedding day in the 1940s, a young woman who grew up in the hard world of a coal-mining town in the 1930s. The best part of the story centers on the beautiful but troubled Sylvia, striving to overcome life's harshness and raise the daughter she was so ill-equipped to mother. Sylvia's story is poignant and rings very true, as does the small West Virginia town painted in such loving detail by author Rebecca D. Elswick. Whenever I was immersed in Sylvia's point of view, the story moved quickly and kept me turning the pages quickly.

The first third of the book, however, centered on Sylvia's daughter, Sassy. And those early pages of the book moved slowly for me. They focused on creating the Appalachian town and its eccentric characters, sometimes at the expense of character and conflict. The first hundred pages seemed like a series of anecdotes rather than a story with rising conflict.

But just when I wondered if I needed to give up, Elswick took us back to Sylvia's story and I was instantly captivated.

Although the final two-thirds of the book made for a great read, the ending was not as satisfying as I would have liked. The resolution between mother and daughter wasn't fully developed so I felt I missed the first-hand experience as the truth about their relationship came to light and had to be resolved.

However, I recommend "Mama's Shoes" for anyone who is looking for a strong period piece set in a time when the world was in turmoil and a place that is disappearing.
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By Adam Lawler on August 25, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Mamma's Shoes is not my typical genre, but after meeting Elswick at a book event, I wanted to read the story. I'm glad I did. Having grown up in the same general area as the book is set (although about 15 years later), there were many head nodding moments for me (yes, grandmothers did take their grandsons to beauty shops with them in the late 60s). Elswick painted a great picture of the time and setting, and did a great job of developing the characters and building the conflict.

My only two criticisms are the overuse of similes and that Elswick left the reader without a complete resolution of the final conflict. One more chapter would have been helpful.

But despite these minor issues, I really did love this book. Take the time to read Mamma's Shoes and meet Sylvie and Sassy.
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