Shoe Strings by Christy Hayes

"She'd climb mountains for him, wrestle demons, and face fire-breathing dragons if that's what it took". 

I just have to put this out there before I ramble on. I haven't enjoyed a book as much as I enjoyed Shoe Strings in a long, long time. 

Based in the bustling city of Atlanta, Angelita Barrows is on her way to great things. With her shoe business, 'Atlanta Wears' about to expand, times are exciting for her and her best friend and business partner, Sophie. But when Angelita pops back to her boutique before she jets off on holiday, she finds her father standing outside of her pride and joy. Thinking quick, and eager to get away before her father spots her, Angelita keeps driving until she finds somewhere to stay, somewhere to sort out her muddled and confused thoughts.
Quickly googling "mountain cabins", she finds one to rent in a charming little town called Sequoyah Falls. When she arrives and she's surrounded by nature, woodland and an enticing man, she has no desire to rush back home. 

Calvin Bloodworth is the owner of Bloodworth cabins, and has been for thirty four years. Ellie, his darling wife who sadly passed away due to cancer, once stood proudly by his side. Now it's just Cal, renting the cabins out to seasonal tourists and trying to keep a regular income. When colorful Angelita turns up, ready and willing to rent a cabin for two weeks, with intention to stay longer, Calvin can't believe his luck. The lonely man has waited a long time for someone to bring the small place back to life, and suddenly it seems possible with Angelita. 

Jesse Bloodworth is Calvin's son. With his chiseled jaw and mesmerizing hazel eyes, he is a winner with the ladies. But putting his reckless years to the past, he's now focusing on his raft business for the tourists, and his teenage son Ty. With a history of running wild and not sticking around for long, Jesse knows why females steer clear of him but with his jaw dropping good looks and muscly, masculine physique, he's just far too tempting. 

Kerri-Ann is Jesse's ex wife and mother of his son. Jesse and Kerri-Ann have a past, but they both know it was never true love. Married at a young age and pregnant with Ty at just seventeen, Kerri-Ann works hard and rarely ever plays. Juggling her work at the Pizza Den and looking after Ty, she's a busy woman with no time for love. She knows her heart never really belonged to Jesse, no matter how handsome he may be. She knows who it does belong to, but she's sure the man in question deserves so much better. 

Bryce Jenson is hulky, big and full of masculinity. He's been in love with the same woman for years, but he's never once worked up the courage to finally make his feelings known. The blue-eyed lawyer can only take so much more before he explodes and takes the woman he loves down memory lane. 

With so many people in the small town of Sequoyah Falls, it's hard for their lives to not intertwine at some point, and it's not long before they all fall into place, alongside each other. 

Becca's thoughts

Shoe Strings by Christy Hayes really reminded me of a novel by Jill Mansell, and what I mean by that is if you've ever read one of Jill Mansell's books, you'll know that her point of view is rarely ever based around just one character. In Shoe Strings, we meet Angelita, Jesse, Calvin, Kerri Ann and Bryce. The author has beautifully switched the viewpoints between these main characters, and it gives the reader the BEST experience of the story, in a third person narrative. I read Shoe Strings as an eBook edition on my Kindle.

The pace of Shoe Strings is lovely and smooth. It's not that rushed that you get no detail, but it's not spoon fed to you either. Everything is perfectly in proportion and that's what makes it such an enjoyable read. The viewpoint changes almost every time a new chapter begins, so it's easy to keep up with which character you're reading about. I know some authors who have tried writing with this technique fail because they just spend so much time writing about one character, the reader has forgotten who the other characters are by the time they reach the next chapter, but this is interesting, appealing and mid length, something you cannot put down, and when you do put it down, you feel the need to pick it straight back up again. 

All of the characters, even though they're fictional, are completely credible. Christy Hayes has really managed to bring each and every one of them to life on the pages. Angelita with her exotic, foreign look and her dark chocolate eyes. Jesse with his muscles and dirty blonde hair. Calvin with his tanned, calloused hands and silver hair. Kerri-Ann with her slender body and blonde hair, and Bryce with his huge body and hypnotizing blue eyes. Each and every one of the author's characters have been created perfectly. 

There aren't many settings in the novel, which I can really appreciate, because I feel I tend to get a bit muddled and lost when characters in a story are travelling here, there and everywhere. Luckily in this story, it's all based in the same country, with just a jump to Sequoyah Falls and then back to Angelita's home, Atlanta. Again, Christy Hayes has a talent for bringing her settings to life with her visual imagery based on nature. She describes the trees and the woodland, the sunsets, the gravelly paths and the rocky roads. She's just absolutely fantastic at creating something in her own mind, and then transferring it perfectly to the reader's. The contrasts between Atlanta and then Sequoyah Falls are so huge, and this is what makes it such a retreat to Angelita when she arrives at Bloodworth Cabins. In her home city, life is rushed, traffic goes by constantly, it's skyscrapers and offices, but when she arrives at the cabins, it's beautiful. The nature is serene and peaceful, just what Angelita needs. 

I really, really cannot put into words how much I enjoyed reading Shoe Strings. The reader is transported into each character's mind, getting each and every aspect of what's going on. It's such a wonderful story, filled with brilliant characters, beautiful settings and a whole lot of emotions and relationships. I'd definitely recommend this book to anybody who enjoys novels by Jill Mansell. If you're into the romance genre, I'd say this is something that you do not want to miss out on reading. I'd never heard of Christy Hayes before now, but I know 100% I'll be adding more of her novels onto my to-read list. 

So from me, Shoe Strings is receiving a very worthy score of 9/10!
A fantastic novel that you NEED on your to-read shelf, I can promise you that.   


  1. Rebecca, Thank you so much for the review and the recommendation! I loved writing Shoe Strings and I'm thrilled you enjoyed reading it. I've taken the character of Ty Bloodworth and given him his own story as the start of my Golden Rule Outfitters series. Book 1 is Mending the Line set in South Central Colorado. Ty is all grown up and ready for love. You'll get a peek at the lives of Jesse and Angelita and Kerri Ann and Bryce.

  2. Thanks so much for the comment Christy! It means a lot! As you can see, I've only recently started Becca's Books up, and to have you comment has made my day! :D I'm definitely up for reading about Ty! Thanks again xxxx