The Shoestring Club

Join the Shoestring Club

Wanted: Two girls to share a one-of-a-kind dress in dark pink silk chiffon

Guaranteed to make you look drop-dead gorgeous.

All enquiries - ask inside

When the love of her life, Ed, announces his suprise engagement to her best friend, Julia Schuster is distraught but determined not to let them see how much she's hurting. She spies a remarkable dress in Shoestring, her sister's designer second-hand shop, and knows she'll only be able to stagger through the wedding day, showing everyone how over Ed she is, if she's wrapped in its soft silk chiffon. Unfortunately it costs mega bucks and she's barely hanging onto her job as it is.

Arietty Pilgrim can't and won't attend her fiercely competitive school reunion unless she can arrive wearing exactly the same dress. But working as an elephant keeper in Dublin Zoo does not a millionaire make.

But fate has a funny way of bringing people together. Just as Julia start to flounder amidst family troubles, problem drinking and a broken heart, she meets Arietty and together they set up The Shoestring Club - time sharing one extraordinary dress and beginning a life-altering friendship.

Background to the Book (Website Exclusive)

This book has had a long gestation period. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I could actually write another full length novel; after nine books in a row (not to mention producing three children and writing many books for younger readers) I wasn’t convinced I had anything left to say as a writer. It wasn’t so much writer’s block, as writer’s exhaustion and writer’s doubt.

I’ve always promised myself that if writing started to feel like a chore, I’ll go straight back to bookselling, a job that I loved very much and miss every day and I was seriously considering it. But then something happened, something unexpected and rather wonderful. I found a character I desperately wanted to write about. That character is Julia Schuster.

At the heart of the novel is the relationship between Julia, 24, and Pandora, 29. Their mum died of breast cancer when Julia was only nine, and ever since Pandora has been trying to mother her younger sister, with mixed results. But Julia has been hiding something from Pandora all her life, a secret that she fears will blow the close knit family apart. But if she can’t face up to her past, how can she face into her future?

I cried buckets writing Julia’s story. I have lost family to cancer and I nearly lost a dear friend, and I know it’s something that unfortunately affects many, many people. But it’s a subject I felt I was ready to tackle. I also wanted to talk about binge drinking and the damage it can cause, both mentally and physically. I wanted to write about girls in their twenties, that heady, intoxicating time in your life when everything seems possible, when the whole world is stretching out in front of you, when you have everything still to play for – in work, in love and in life. When being a good friend and a good sister mean everything, and when love could always be just around the corner.

I’m very proud of The Shoestring Club and I do hope you enjoy reading it. Do let me know what you think –

And breaking news - the second book featuring the Schuster sisters, The Memory Box, will be published in 2013!

Reviews for The Shoestring Club

Thought provoking and highly original, I couldn't put it down.     Katie Fforde

A fabulously warm and witty read, filled with adorable characters - you'll love it!     Melissa Hill

I laughed like a drain and sobbed like a baby - everything a girl wants from a book.     Veronica Henry

Sarah Webb has done it again with another wonderful read! A book full of wit and wisdom, friendship and fun.      Marita Conlon McKenna (Full review below)

Sarah Webb has done it again with another wonderful read! Julia Schuster’s life is falling apart. Her so called best friend is marrying Ed, the guy she loves. She’s lost her job and she cannot seem to control or manage any aspect of her life. What a disaster!

Pandora Schuster has no time for love or romance as she struggles to raise her daughter and make a success of ‘Shoestring’ her designer second hand shop.

Julia may have lots of faults but one thing she’s good at is styling. Putting things together and somehow making it work! At their Granny Bird’s insistence Julia finds herself working alongside her older sister, trying to turn the business around.

When the most beautiful pink chiffon dress arrives into the shop Julia knows instantly it’s ‘The Dress’ she must wear to Ed and Lainey’s wedding!

One perfect designer dress… but it costs a fortune! So Julia clubs together with customer Arrietty, who needs something fabulous to wear toher dreaded school re-union, and together they set up ‘The Shoestring Club’ to buy ‘The Dress’ and share it!

With great perception Webb explores the relationship between the two sisters and the reasons for Julia’s chaotic lifestyle and lack of trust in those around her. Forced to confront the loss and sadness of the past Julia begins to realise the importance of love, family and good friends.

A book full of wit and wisdom, friendship and fun, as Julia rediscover’s happiness and ‘The Dress’ works its magic!

By Marita Conlon-McKenna.