Running a chick-lit blog is somewhat bad for my free time - I constantly find new books that look brilliant and consequently my "to be read" pile has gotten out of control! I am trying hard to read all the older books on my list, but some of the new ones are jumping to the top because they seem so good! Emma Bowd's debut novel looked so funny, and the fact it was just a short book caught my attention. I decided I wanted to read it, and I did so in just over a day, it was excellent!
Jane Meadows is a mum - and a shoe addict. Jane loves all things shoes, she has hundreds of pairs in her cupboards and has learnt to judge everyone by the shoes that they wear. But when baby Millie is born, shoes take a back seat to sleep and just getting through the day. Her friends Liz and Rachel can't understand how Jane has let herself go, but Jane's passion is relit when best friend Fi falls in love with a shoe designer. Is Jane going to make anything of her new-found hobby? And will Jane be able to save her flailing marriage from going underfoot, or have Jane and baby Millie got to put their best feet forward alone?
I have to admit - when I saw the title of this book I wasn't entirely sure what sort of story it was going to be. It sounds a little outlandish but as soon as I started reading the book, I just knew I was going to love it. It begins introducing us to Jane, and the various shoes she's worn through different stages of her life. But despite this funny beginning, it soon dives into the real story of Jane's life as a mum, and indeed a career woman as well. It is one of those books that immediately draws you in, and I thought it was a great beginning.
As well as the constant mention of shoes from our leading lady, each of the chapters is ended with a page from the Shoe Princess blog that Jane reads. These excerpts are hilarious and although they aren't anything to do with the story, they keep the tone light-hearted and shoes at the forefront of the reader's mind! I thought this was really good as the blog is regularly mentioned throughout the book and it therefore allows us a glimpse into Jane' life somewhat. The author has been very clever in this because its a great device to use and allowed for humour and more shoe info to be inserted into the book! Not only is the shoe aspect done in humour, there is some proper information about shoe-making and the like inside the book which was a great addition and fascinating to read.
The characters were well written, and I am sure a lot of women will be able to relate to the character of Jane and her troubles with juggling work and being a good mum to Millie, and a good wife to her husband as well. She was believable, and thats what I liked most about Jane. All of her dilemmas were ones I understood, and its nice to read that in a character. The first person narrative of Jane throughout allows for a real look into her mind and thoughts which is fantastic - she's funny, personable and the writing style is so easy to read which makes for an enjoyable book. The other characters in the book include Jane's friends and her husband Tom, and although they are well written, we don't see enough of them, I would have liked to see more of Fi and man-eater Rachel!
This story is a good twist on the usual "new mother" stories that have been done time and again in the "chick-lit" genre. I enjoyed Emma Bowd's writing style, and I am sure she is going to be successful in her writing career. She already has a blog about her book, and I hope that she will continue writing more fiction as well. The book moved at a really good pace, and travelled from London over to Italy as well which was great to read as Bowd has clearly done her research. Also, the information on making the shoes was fascinating, I didn't know how much work went into making just one shoe! I really love how Emma Bowd wrote in a shoemaker into the characters so that this side of shoes could be explored. It was a brilliant read, and didn't take me too long at only 276 pages. Recommended as a brilliant summer read!
ISBN: 978-0747594048. Published by Bloomsbury in June 2009. The paperback has 288 and has an RRP of £7.99.
Author's blog: http://theshoeprincess.wordpress.com/
Thank you for reading!