“The Shoe Queen” by Anna Davis

Genevieve Shelby King has it all, the rich husband, the glamorous apartment, an incredible shoe collection and parties like there’s no tomorrow amongst the artists, poets and writers of 1920s Paris with her best friend, the fabulous Lulu of Montparnasse. When she spots one of her aristocratic associates in a pair of exclusive Zachari shoes, Genevieve is determined to become his newest client, and her desperation to obtain the elusive shoes leads her to evaluate her own desire and the past she hoped to forget.

This is such a deceptive book, starting off with a seemingly shallow tale of a beautiful, rich young woman coveting the exclusive, exquisite shoes made by Zachari, but as the story progresses, we learn of where Genevieve’s obsession with shoes stems from and the emotionally charged story of her past. The female characters in the story are so well written, and we get exposed of all sorts of women, from the bohemian artiste Lulu of Montparnasse to Olga, the severe assistant of the shoemaker. Even the briefest of glimpses into the life of secretary Marie-Claire are a fascinating insight into women’s lives in the period.

I love Genevieve’s journey in this book, as she grows and faces up to the past she has been trying to forget, and learns about herself and the direction she wants her life to take. The ending was a surprise for a book of this style, and I was very satisfied with how the story ended, and I can’t say anymore than that without giving it all away!

The only other thing I would say is that I personally don’t covet shoes, but I could picture the beautiful shoes that Genevieve desires so badly, and I suspect even I would fall in love with the unique, hand crafted masterpieces made by Zachari as they are so beautifully described in how they look, the process of designing and making them, the way they caress the foot and how they make the wearer feel.

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