The Shoemaker: A Tale of Love, Magic and Unnatural Acts


DARK FANTASY:  Edward is a shoemaker’s son in the country village of Houndstooth.  He is forced to quit school and take up the trade when his father passes away even though he detests making shoes.  Edward’s unfortunate wife is Anastasia - a sweet, book-loving girl whose childhood encounter with a fire has left her face and body scarred.  Their marriage is difficult, but Anastasia does the best she can.  Edward eventually finds a wealthy patron in the princess of the realm who demands a new pair of exotic shoes daily.  Edward believes his fortune is made, until the princess begins to demand more than shoes from him…and it is more than he can afford.


This is a re-telling of the “Elves and the Shoemaker” fairy tale, and this dark version is far more Grimm than Disney.  Edward is a self-centered, greedy character who refuses to do any honest work, and the princess is perverted and malevolent.  The sex that occurs in this book is never about love, and there are a couple of scenes that border on rape.  The flowing, fairy tale language beautifully creates a make-believe world that takes on more depth as the story unfolds.  The reader desperately wants Edward to realize that beauty is not only skin-deep, but the longed-for epiphany never comes.  Aside from that, “The Shoemaker” is a fascinatingly twisted tale whose moral comes through loud and clear – you can’t get something for nothing!  


Leslie Stokes