From the publisher—
Set in the South Carolina Lowcountry and packed with Southern charm and memorable characters, Her Sister’s Shoes is the story of three sisters—Samantha, Jackie, and Faith—who struggle to balance the demands of career and family while remaining true to themselves.
Samantha Sweeney has always been the glue that holds her family together, their go-to girl for love and support. When an ATV accident leaves her teenage son in a wheelchair, she loses her carefully constructed self-control.
In the after-gloom of her dreaded fiftieth birthday and the discovery of her husband’s infidelity, Jackie realizes she must reconnect with her former self to find the happiness she needs to move forward.
Faith lacks the courage to stand up to her abusive husband. She turns to her sisters for help, placing all their lives at risk.
In the midst of their individual challenges, the Sweeney sisters must cope with their mother’s mental decline. Is Lovie in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, or is her odd behavior normal for a woman her age? No one, including Lovie, understands her obsession with a rusty key she wears around her neck.
Southern fiction is one of my very favorite genres and I was delighted to have the opportunity to read and review Her Sister’s Shoes which can also be considered women’s fiction although I really dislike that term. What could be called “men’s fiction” is more likely to be known as action-adventure or the like. Back in 2012, David Granger, the editor of Esquire described men’s fiction as:
“…plot-driven and exciting, where one thing happens after another…and also at the same time, dealing with passages in a man’s life that seem common.”
To which author Jami Attenberg replied:
“It’s a good thing we lady writers are busy writing books that are boring, and where nothing happens. We wouldn’t want too much excitement. We might faint dramatically. We might have to take to our beds for weeks on end. We are delicate things, we lady writers.
Did you hear me? I said we might fucking faint.”
There are, of course, men also writing so-called women’s fiction but it frequently gets labeled as general fiction. So, I choose to refer to Her Sister’s Shoes as Southern fiction and just stay away from that whole squabble 😉
Chief among the many good things I found in this book are strong characterizations of the three sisters but also of the secondary players. This was not a surprise to me as I had already recognized Ms. Farley’s ability to create well-drawn characters in her first book, Saving Ben. Each sister has her own set of crosses to bear and her own personality—Sam feels the need to be everybody’s rock, Jackie has an inferiority complex that she tries to hide behind money and image and Faith is timid and exploited and feeling trapped.
How these women deal with their issues individually but also as family is what lies at the core of the story and is a nice example of the strengths that one can derive from family, whether it be by blood or a different kind of family. By telling the tale through each sister’s point of view, I felt close to each and gained a real understanding of what these women were all about and how their environs helped to shape them as they grew into adulthood. Much the same can be said for the older and younger generations and I would love to return to the small Lowcountry town of Prospect to see what happens with these very appealing people.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2015.
About the Author
Ashley Farley is a book blogger at Chronicles and author of Saving Ben and Her Sister‘s Shoes. She is a community volunteer in Richmond, Virginia, where she lives with her husband and two college-aged children.
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