1920s Paris. The ‘Crazy Years’. English society beauty Genevieve Shelby King parties till dawn with the artists and writers of bohemian Montparnasse. She has a rich husband, a glamorous apartment and an enormous shoe collection. But there is something hollow at the centre of Genevieve’s charmed life.
When she spots a pair of unique and exquisite shoes on the feet of her arch rival one night, her whole collection – indeed, everything she has – seems suddenly worthless. The exclusive designer Paolo Zachari, renowned for his fabulous shoes and his secretive life, hand-picks his clients according to whim. And Zachari has determined to say no to Genevieve.
As her desire for the pair of unobtainable shoes develops into an obsession with their elusive creator, Genevieve’s elaborately designed life comes under threat, and she is forced to confront the emptiness at its heart.
I first read Anna Davis in her novel Cheet, a novel about a woman who carries a different cell phone for each boy she's with. I was shocked when I found out The Shoe Queen is by the same woman! This is a complete change in genre, yet she doesn't fall short. This novel is filled with mystery - yet nothing that would not be found in any other woman's life in this time period. It's about the love versus duty. It is not - as the title implies some shopping crazed woman - Genevieve has great character depth. She's a real woman - which I love. Its hard to describe, but too often characters become mostly flawed, or mostly good. Genevieve does not have "flaws" or "good attributes" - she just is. I think Davis's approach to characters is my favourite thing about this novel. Everyone is real - its not separated into good or bad.
I also think she did a decent job depicting the bohemian life - although I can't say I have done much research in that area. All of the situations were plausible - in fact most of them were based on real events during that time.
A good read. Great character and plot development. A well researched book that feels very real - the way life really happens - no happy endings nor life shattering tragic endings.
Chick lit and historical fiction readers. Any one who understands the beauty of shoes.