A pair of handmade shoes travels through time, transforming the lives of those who come into contact with them.
When 15-year-old Dalya Amschel begins work on her future wedding shoes, she never dreams that she will end up in a concentration camp and that the embroidered pink satin footwear will have a wild odyssey of their own. The shoes travel from Germany to Ohio to Connecticut to Texas and finally to New York. While the narrative shifts among multiple tales, characters, and time periods can be distracting and uneven and the repeated shoe theme becomes heavy-handed at times, the novel eventually settles into a natural rhythm, and the stories come together by the end. Nelson’s characters are engaging—from Dalya, Henry, and Aaron in the World War II–era saga to Ray and Pinny in the more contemporary South—and are notable for including among the shoe-wearers sensitive portraits of a teenager with Down syndrome as well as a young boy exploring gender and sexual identity.
An absorbing convergence of coming-of-age stories as well as a thoughtful meditation on shoes and all that they witness and represent. (author’s note) (Fiction. 12-16)