You don’t have to read Pride and Prejudice before you pick up E.V. Hewitt’s debut novel Stilettos For Me, Please! (Barnes & Noble Press) but you might enjoy her sense of humor that much more as you carouse around London with Kate Seeley and her friends.
Reminiscent of Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, Kate has a gaggle of friends who are as obsessed with footwear and love affairs as she is. “I had a shoe obsession,” she says right up front, “and I was not ashamed to admit it.” Her girlfriends Emma, Olivia, and Elizabeth are right behind her, as well as the requisite sassy gay friend David. Together they shop, gossip, and fall in and out of love or, in David’s case, in and out of lust.
Kate’s addiction to Pride and Prejudice pops up on nearly every page. She’s read the book over and over and she’s seen every film version that’s ever been made. She’s concluded, finally, that the four lead male characters are representative of the men she meets and the shoes she wears. In the book, Mr. Collins is sensible, plain, and boring; hence, sensible, comfortable shoes are “Collinses.” Mr. Bingsley is handsome and agreeable, but still prim and proper. Kate would wear a pair of “Bingsleys” to impress at a business gathering. “Wickhams” are naughty and sinful shoes, like Mr. Wickham is dangerously irresistible.
But of course, Mr. Darcy wins out in the end, and in Kate’s World of Shoes, a pair of Darcys would be winners as well: classic, elegant, beautiful and perfect. She lusts after those black Louboutin pumps.
Hewitt’s prose is lively and animated, her characters endearing; even the snarky, sanctimonious David, self-proclaimed fashion arbiter and breaker of hearts. Olivia frets over the relationship with her handsome husband, Emma learns to let loose, and Elizabeth continues to be a know-it-all. “Have you learned nothing from me?” she asks Kate. “I keep telling you, take a chance.” Maybe she does know it all.
WHERE’S THE LINE FOR LOVE?
Kate finds the line between her job and her love life dangerously blurred. She seems to be better at recognizing “Wickhams” when it comes to shoes, and she’s less shrewd when it comes to men. She needs her friends. They laugh, love, shop and argue, but their friendship is solid.
Stilettos For Me, Please! is escapism at its charming best, where everyone is good-looking, clever, and makes enough money to buy at least one pair of Christian Louboutin pumps. Hewitt doesn’t tie up all the loose ends by the end of the book; readers may find themselves hoping for a sequel.
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