I’d been hearing good things about Ruby’s Slippers, the most recent release by multi-published author Leanna Ellis, so when I saw it in the bookstore at the ACFW conference in September, I bought myself a copy.
Who doesn’t love The Wizard of Oz? Perhaps no one as much as the narrator of Ruby’s Slippers, Dottie Meyers, whose grandmother worked on set with Judy Garland during the making of the movie. Dottie has grown up a Kansas farm girl whose father left the family when she was just a child. Her sister, Abby, is currently making her mark in Hollywood, and the girls’ mother, Ruby, has recently died. When Abby comes home to visit, Dottie finds her searching through their mother’s belongings in the cellar in the middle of the night. What’s her highrolling sister after?
But then a tornado comes to this Kansas farm, and Dottie awakens in a recovery facility to discover her elusive father has been to visit and left her a pair of ruby slippers. Could these be the ruby slippers from the movie? When Dottie recovers, she and three friends set off to find her father, while others, including her sister, pursue in search of the slippers. Will Dottie find her heart’s desire?
As you can see, the story is rich in parallels to the famous movie, an irony not lost on Dottie herself. Sometimes I got a little distracted trying to remember what this or that bit might line up with from the movie, but Ruby’s Slippers is its own tale.
I’ve been crazy busy the past few weeks and so I’ve read this novel a chapter or two a day just before bed. I stayed up until nearly midnight (okay, that’s late for me!) the last night to finish, not because I was on the edge of my seat from suspense–it’s not that kind of book–but because I wanted to see how Leanna Ellis brought Dottie’s inner journey to its conclusion.
Here are the opening paragraphs:
Some people wish on candles, others on stars. When I was a girl, nose pressed against the passenger window of our Vista Cruiser, I watched truckloads of hay bales rumbling down the highway near our Kansas farm. Weather-beaten farmers drove thirty miles an hour (or slower), traffic piling up a mile behind them. Momma would ease the station wagon into the left lane to pass the snaking line and say, “Make a wish, girls, and don’t look back.”
My younger sister, Abby, always made a production out of her wishes. She squeezed her eyes closed, pursed her lips toward heaven, and proclaim to all who were within hearing, “I’m gonna…” She leaned forward, her hand on Momma’s shoulder. “Can I wish on every hay bale?”
“Why not?” Momma shook her head with bewilderment as if my sister was a novelty act in a circus. To me, she was.
Read the entire first chapter here.
If you love The Wizard of Oz (or even if you don’t!) and are intrigued by the idea of a modern retelling, check out Ruby’s Slippers.