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.
“An absolutely wonderful novel, its setting a beautifully realized small Appalachian coal town, its characters so vivid they’re practically jumping off the page.” —Lee Smith, author of Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger and The Last Girls