The Lovely Shoes

The Lovely Shoes

Susan Shreve


Franny is constantly embarrassed by two things in her life. One is her left foot, which curls in from a birth defect, so she has to wear heavy, orthopedic shoes. And the other is her mother Margaret: beautiful, extravagant, flamboyant — mortifying, in their small Ohio town.


But high school brings a whole new set of challenges to Franny: Everyone else starts dating, her friends are bugging her to try out for cheerleading, and her first dance is a total disaster. Franny wants to lock herself in her room and never come out, but Margaret responds with a plan that’s crazy even for her: They will travel to Italy to meet Salvatore Ferragamo, who will create a gorgeous pair of shoes custom-made for Franny. The idea is outrageous. The trip is expensive. And the experience changes Franny’s life forever.


It was the night of the last dance at Easterbrook High, dusk, late June, and Franny Hall was looking out her bedroom window to check if choir practice had let out at St. James Episcopal Church next door.


No one was on the street except Mr. Goodly, walking his elderly basset hound in the front garden of the church. Franny hurried down the stairs, checking herself in the mirror in the front hall, something she had been doing recently as if expecting a stranger reflected in the glass. That’s how she sometimes felt, a stranger to her own self, and was almost surprised to see the same straight black hair in a ponytail, the same freckles and wide-set eyes she recognized as Francine Hall of Easterbrook, Ohio, U.S.A.

© 2019 Susan Richards Shreve | Design by Cynthia Frank Design | Development by Abacus Design