Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Mama's Shoes Hardcover – September 29, 2011
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
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
More About the Author
My work has appeared in the anthologies A Cup of Comfort: Dog Lovers II, Christmas Blooms, and Broken Petals. 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. It received the Writer's Digest Mark of Quality Award.
I am Director of the Writing Center at the Appalachian School of Law and a Teacher Consultant for the Appalachian Writing Project at the University of Virginia's College at Wise. I am married, the mother of three, and a pet lover. At last count, I have five dogs.
Top Customer Reviews
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!
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have laughed and cried till I couldn't see. One of the most amazing books I've read. Read it on ebook so from the library, but loved it so much will buy a copy to re-read many... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Carol P.
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. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Adam Lawler
Loved the book.Since I live in Appalachian area it was very meaningful to me.
I have met the author and loved hearing her talk about the book and how she got her ideas.
I absolutely love, love, love "Mama's Shoes"! I could hardly put the book down - I had to keep pinching myself as a reminder that the book is a novel, rather than a... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Rebecca Henderson
Above all, Mama's Shoes is an excellent story. As a person from deep southwestern Virginia, I appreciate the author's accurate portrayal of coal country and the way she captured... Read morePublished 20 months ago by JoBeth Wampler
A friend recommended this book to me; we were looking for books for our book club. I absolutely couldn't put it down once I started it, and I'm glad to say that our book club is... Read morePublished on December 30, 2013 by Rebecca Henderson
This book was written by the mother of a friend of mine. That was the only reason I bought it. Loved the story but just wish there was more.Published on November 16, 2013 by Jimmy
Grew up in the coal fields of WV, so I could relate to the area and the characters in this book. I read a lot, but I'll have to say that after I got into this book, I could not put... Read morePublished on August 19, 2013 by Marie