Dalya is the daughter of a cobbler in 1930s Berlin, and though she is only fifteen, she knows she will follow in her father's footsteps. Read more...
Dalya is the daughter of a cobbler in 1930s Berlin, and though she is only fifteen, she knows she will follow in her father's footsteps. When she is forced into a concentration camp one violent November night, she must leave behind everything she knew and loved.
Ray is a modern-day orphan, jagged around the edges in every possible way. She sees an impulsive escape to New York as her only chance at happiness; there, she knows she'll be able to convert her sorrows into songs.
Pinny is an unwavering optimist and Ray's unintended travel companion on her passage to a new life. She inherited from her eccentric mother a fascination with shoes as a means of transformation and expression.
A single pair of shoes entwines these lives. How these women connect across different times and places is an unforgettable story of strength, love, bravery, memory, and the serendipity that binds us all together.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-09-07
- Reviewer: Staff
A leitmotif of shoes underpins Nelsons novel, which unfolds over more than 60 years, jumping from the Holocaust to contemporary orphanage life in Texas, with stops in several other places and eras, including long sections in 1940s New York. The book opens in November 1938 in Berlin, when 15-year-old Dalya, daughter of a Jewish cobbler, and her family are taken to a concentration camp, leaving behind a precious pair of shoes. From there, Nelson follows Dalya through her long life while directing a much narrower lens on two runaway orphans, Ray and Pinny. These three prove to be the storys focus, but many secondary figures are also highlighted; sometimes breaks between individuals tales are so long that flipping back to previous installments is necessary. Nelson (The Sound of Munich) ties up all the threads adroitly, if a little too neatly, with a heartwarming conclusion in New York City in 2013. An extensive authors note explains the inspiration for the book and offers historical background, plus sources for further information on some of the topics explored. Ages 12up. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Nov.)