If The Shoe Fits is bestselling author Julie Murphy’s first foray into the world of adult romance. With several major hits including Ramona Blue, Side Effects May Vary, and Dumplin’ which is now a Netflix movie, this first step into the adult romance genre is proof Murphy’s writing magic transcends genres. If The Shoe Fits lands in a unique sweet spot of the adult genre, certain to appeal to not only the early-20 somethings like her protagonist Cindy, but also to teenage young adult readers and older Disney-lovers alike. There’s been a gap in the industry between those lovable teen YA books and the adult novels about a mid-30s someone with kids, and If The Shoe Fits steps in to perfectly fill that gap.
Murphy introduces a refreshingly real and relatable protagonist in Cindy Woods. If The Shoe Fits is the first novel in the Meant to Be series, a new adult series from Disney inspired by the fairytales we all know and love. Lightly inspired by Cinderella, If The Shoe Fits follows Cindy, a recent fashion school grad whose first love is shoes. Lacking creative inspiration and job prospects, she returns to her stepmother’s house in LA with her two (not at all evil) stepsisters, Anna and Drew, and triplet half-siblings. Her stepmother, Erica Tremaine, is the creative mind behind the country’s most popular reality dating television show, Before Midnight, on which women will compete for the heart of the suitor, Henry (and $100,000). When a spot suddenly needs to be filled at the last second, Cindy volunteers in the hopes of jump-starting her career in the world of fashion. Cindy also happens to be the only plus-sized contestant, and she’s immediately thrust into the spotlight, finding herself an icon for body positivity, something she wasn’t expecting. However, her plans are quickly challenged as she discovers she might just find love alongside inspiration on Before Midnight.
This modern take involves cutting-edge fashion, a match-making style reality show with excellent drama, and best of all, Cindy’s plus-size status is beautifully incorporated, providing much needed representation and body positivity in today’s world. If books were shoes, then this one would be a limited edition Jimmy Choo. Murphy perfectly marries the familiar elements of Cinderella‘s classic tale with our modern world. The fairytale moments are balanced out with realistic ones. Cindy’s experience on the set of Before Midnight is just as captivating as the romance between her and Henry. She finds herself the target of one particularly vicious contestant that makes her unsure if she can trust the others, which calls out the truth of how women are often pitted against each other. Her own personal tragedy of losing both parents is broadcast nationwide, though she is still grappling with that grief. This might be a romance novel, but Murphy is able to explore the reality of Cindy’s grief just as well as the lighter moments of the book. She also seamlessly writes in the challenges Cindy faces as a plus-sized person. She’s often unable to find off-the-rack clothes in her size and is dismissed as a serious candidate by the crew of the reality show. It’s an element that grounds the book in reality, making the fairytale romance moments all the sweeter and reminding every woman of every size that they are worthy of that fairytale true love, too.
Murphy delivers a decadent rom-com story as Cindy and her would-be Prince Charming share deliciously sweet moments throughout their time on the reality show. The romance that blooms between Cindy and Henry is electric from their very first meeting. It’s impossible to miss the steamy chemistry between the two protagonists driven by their flirtatious banter and secret stolen moments when the cameras are off. Their story is written so beautifully that no one will be able to resist devouring If The Shoe Fits as fast as they can. Every fan of the genre will laugh, swoon, blush, and squeal at the twists and turns of Cindy’s journey that’s not only a love story but also about finding herself again on the other side of deep, personal tragedy. Murphy delivers a powerhouse love story and all-important message about self-acceptance and empowerment in If The Shoe Fits.
If The Shoe Fits will hit bookshelves on August 3 and is available for pre-order now.