Jane L. Rosen (Nine Women, One Dress) builds a witty, whimsical and heartwarming narrative around a dazzling footwear collection in her fourth novel, A Shoe Story. On the day of Esme Nash's college graduation, she receives a pair of iconic, red-bottomed Christian Louboutin pumps, followed by tragic news involving her parents. Esme boards a Greyhound bus to Manhattan seven years later, after her father's death, to see if the life she thought she wanted is still in reach.
Esme's temporary life in Greenwich Village seems perfect: she makes new friends at the dog park; reconnects with her college beau, Liam Beck; and, for wearing on new adventures, borrows the designer shoes (from Dior to Converse) of the woman for whom she dog-sits. But as the days slip by, Esme questions whether her past plans, including a career working in art galleries and a life with Liam, are still what she's aiming for. With the help of new friends--Sy, a wisecracking retiree; Mrs. Berger, a grumpy shoe-repair guru; and kindhearted bartender Zach--Esme gains the courage to face her losses and think about what she truly wants for her future.
Rosen's love for New York shines through in her joyful descriptions of parks, restaurants and city streets, and she treats her characters (all dealing with their own challenges) with warmth and compassion. A few plot twists (and several sweet subplots) dial up the drama, but most of the fun is in watching Esme step into her new life--with a plethora of truly fabulous shoes on her feet. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams