If you haven’t given this Cinderella-story reboot a chance, you’re really missing out.
I’ve read SO MUCH ROMANCE in the seven-ish years since I first cracked open a romance novel. I’ve read books where the sex scenes are more explicit and some that use more flowery prose to talk about the intimacy of sex. Both absolutely have their place and everyone has their own preferences. When I talk about If The Shoe Fits being closed door, it’s absolutely not an insult.
Especially since Julie Murphy has a background in YA. If you haven’t read Dumplin’, you’ve probably heard of the Netflix movie at the very least. She’s definitely not new to the publishing world, but this is her first foray into writing adult love stories.
And I think she NAILED IT. I laughed and cried and had all sorts of emotional reactions to both main characters’ actions throughout this story. No one is perfect, and Julie Murphy shows just how flawed and authentic her characters are. And there is no greater place to illustrate the flaws of the human race than on a reality dating show. Add in all the complications that Cindy has working against her, and it’s the perfect set up for a great will they/won’t they kind of romance.
I loved what Julie Murphy did with Cindy and Henry in this series. I’m usually not the biggest fan of misunderstanding trope, as I prefer characters who communicate a little better, but in this situation it is absolutely, entirely appropriate. It would be impossible for these particular people to be entirely open with each other. There’s just too much uncertainty for either of them to commit 100% of their trust. And if you are similarly not a big fan, I challenge you to give this Cinderella-retelling the exception. It is absolutely exception-al and is well worth giving it a chance.
Instead, we see hurt people hurt people. Which is so authentic feeling and honest, it had me heartbroken and yet also hoping for that happy ending to come bursting through.
Much of what I loved about If The Shoe Fits was Cindy’s attitude toward other people’s attitudes about her weight. She has no issues with who she is, and is more than happy to live her life as she wants to. When the show, other people, and clothes conundrums challenge her enthusiastic attitude toward her size, Cindy doesn’t change to let other people off the hook. She makes them accommodate her, or she finds a way to make herself known. That is a positive role model.
I wish I had more heroines like Cindy in books I read as a kid. She’s just such a spunky, accepting human who doesn’t need other people to like her to feel like she has something to contribute to the world. That is definitely a character I would have looked up to, hell, she is a character I look up to now, I just wish I had her in my life a long time ago.
Basically, go read If The Shoe Fits. Buy a copy for your friends this holiday season. Share it with your moms, sisters, friends, and strangers on the internet. It’s a fantastic book and should definitely not be Julie Murphy’s only adventure into more adult romance stories.