This dark fairy tale, in every sense of the words dark, fairy, and tale, is just too dark for me. The character development is engrossing as the stories of the past and present intertwine from the point of view of the woman who would be the fairy godmother of of a princess and a shoemaker. While there is a bit of Cinderella here, it’s written in blood with an obscenely expensive stiletto heel.
Set in the gritty world of “bespoke” shoes and designer fashion, the stories of three women are braided like a horsewhip of betrayal, violence and rape. The ending goes where it must, but I did not feel that the central character achieved her redemption or release, but only added another layer to the midden of her life. I was glad when it was over. But the writing is so good, I had to read to the end, always hoping for some spark of light and release that did not appear.
With a size 11WW foot, the idea of being able to commission a shoe of say, elephant hide, that would actually fit my foot, and to be able to walk in it, is beyond fairy tale fantasy for me. But even if I had the means to live in that world, I can’t imagine being only an assemblage of retail receipts, and not a person in my own right. That is exactly where the main character is, though she wears vintage Chanel.
The Telling of Shoes is well-told, and the writing unwavering. If you like that sort of thing, you will pulled into this maelstrom for a ride you won’t soon forget, no matter how hard you try.
Maven, fairy godmother,
Thanks for reading and the review!
C. W. Ingraham.