Romancing the Shoe

Once upon a time, before I met my friend Bridget (who started quite a lot of bad habits in me), I used to have one or two pairs of shoes, cross trainers which I wore for every occasion. Then Bridget came along, and now my shoe closet is full to the brim and overflowing with high heel shoes, boots, flats, and the usual cross-trainers (though now I own more than one). I still wear the same pair of shoes all the time: a well-worn pair of Merrell pace gloves which I love, but having options in case of emergencies or special occasions is fun!

So yes, I think shoes are very important to a woman’s life (and possible to a man, as well). But in Jessica Day George’s Dragon Slippers, shoes are important to everyone: men, women, and dragons. In fact, they are the trigger around which the entire plot revolves!

I finished reading Jessica Day George’s Dragon Slippers a couple days ago and enjoyed it very much. It’s a light and easy read, and I read through it fast. The novel follows the story of Creel, an orphan peasant girl. Creel’s aunt decides to sacrifice her to the village dragon in the hope that somebody might rescue, marry, and altogether take Creel off the aunt’s hands. Instead, Creel makes a bargain with the dragon and gets a pair of shoes (shoes! Notice where this is going!) from him for the road. Creel does not intend to go back home. She wants to go the big town, where the palace is, and make her fortune by weaving and embroidering.

Creel makes friends easily, befriending not only the girls in the shop where she finds work, but a dragon, the youngest prince, and the prince’s bodyguard. She also makes enemies fast — or at least gets on the wrong side of the foreign princess about to marry the royal heir. Many adventures befall Creel, because even though she refuses to see it, the shoes she received from the dragon are magic. The foreign princess knows and wants them. The dragons know, but prefer to keep Creel ignorant. Only once she loses the shoes does Creel finally understand how important they are, and now her world is turned upside down as she realizes she could lose all her new friends unless she gets those shoes back!

I find it funny that both Jessica Day George books I read so far have a lot to do with shoes. In Midnight Ball (which I wrote about here) the whole hullabaloo starts because the princesses wear out their dance shoes every night. In Dragon Slippers Creel’s shoes possess a strange power over the dragons without which the conflict of the novel would not exist. Jessica Day George wrote several other novels, and I wonder if the theme of significant shoes continues in them. If I find the answer, I’ll be sure to let you know.

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Sigal Tzoore (650) 815-5109