- Title: If the Shoe Fits
- Author: Julie Murphy
- Publisher: Hyperion Avenue
- Release Date: 8/3/21
- Genre: Fiction
- Age Range: Adult
- Rating: ★★★★
I am a massive fan of a Cinderella story. I love the 1950 Disney film and grew up watching Ever After all of the time. When I saw Disney started a series of adult books of modern adaptations of fairy tales, I was excited to read them. If the Shoe Fits certainly lives up on my expectations. I devoured it and loved every page.
In If the Shoe Fits, Cindy, a recent fashion school graduate, returns home to be the nanny for her three half-siblings. She ends up on Before Midnight (a fictional show with many similarities to The Bachelor) as a favor to her stepmom, the executive producer of the show, when a spot needs to be filled at the last minute. She hopes to get some exposure that we help launch a fashion career, but she ends up falling for Henry Mackenzie, the suitor on Before Midnight.
First of all, I was thrilled that the “princess” in this version of Cinderella is a plus-sized queen. She also seems very comfortable in her body, and the story doesn’t focus on her trying to lose weight. She even encourages Henry’s mom, Lucy, to make her fashion lines more size inclusive. I can imagine how powerful it would be for people to watch Cindy on Before Midnight and to have her as a body positivity role model.
Cindy is an incredibly likable protaganist. It is easy to criticize other versions of Cinderella for not having any flaws, but that is not the case here. Cindy is a real woman who doubts herself and is worried that she’ll never find love. She is still incredibly kind and loyal to her friends and family. This all makes Cindy both relatable and easy to root for. It makes sense that the viewers of Before Midnight
It is also great to see LGBTQ representation in a book from Disney. Beck, one of the producers of Before Midnight, identifies herself as a lesbian and even gets the studio to greenlight a queer version of the show. I hope we see more of this going forward in Disney’s films as well. I also would love to see a queer version of The Bachelor or Bachelorette.
I also loved that Cindy had a good relationship with her stepmother, Erica Tremaine, and her stepsisters, Anna and Drew. The versions of these characters in If the Shoe Fits still made sense as versions of the characters they’re based on without being evil. Erica is a high powered television producer, and Anna and Drew are both Instagram influencers. The fact that they loved and cared for Cindy made the focus of the story more about Cindy’s search for professional and romantic success, which I really enjoyed.
There are also a few little fun nods to the 1950 Disney film. Erica’s last name is Tremaine, which echoes Lady Tremaine from the film. Two of Cindy’s half siblings are Jack and Gus, which references the mice Gus Gus and Jacques in the film. Cindy also refers to Henry as “Prince Charming” when she meets him on the plane before she learns his real name. These little details made me smile.
I look forward to reading the next book in this series. I am so glad that Disney Books has started publishing books for adults who are big Disney fans like me.