Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-06-051721-2
Contemporary Romance, 2003
Things must really be going wrong when I start to fantasize how the slipper in If the Slipper Fits will fit down the throats of the two really annoying main characters. This isn’t a modernization of the Cinderella fairy tale as much as a story of Cinderella and her Prince sitting in a Jerry Springer studio and demonstrating a million ways to prolong ten thousand big misunderstandings without really trying. This book must be Elaine Fox’s very own blood pressure kit. If you haven’t gotten a stroke by Page 100, your blood pressure is okay.
Connor Emery and Anne Sayer were teenagers in love. But he was a rich kid and she was the maid. That summer was beautiful… until she broke it off with him without even leaving a glass slipper behind. Today, ten years later, he’s a richer guy and she’s an even more worn-out doormat. He travels abroad, she stays in Candlewick Island and runs a party catering business as well as running the house which Connor intends to sell. Oh, but he can’t sell! What about the bunch of eccentric, busybody staff she hired? Of course, this leads to our heroine and every one of the staff doing stupid things like pretending that the house is haunted. Getting new jobs – or leaping off the cliffs of Candlewick Island – is probably too much an effort on these useless parasites’ parts.
Of course, a nasty man tells Connor that Anne has been a slutty type, and Connor, who is a slutty type himself, is enraged. Hussy! And of course, Anne can’t tell him. She will keep secrets. And she will. And she will! She will! Which is good, because he won’t listen, never will, don’t care, once a hussy always a hussy, et cetera. And on and on and on they go, bickering and kissing and hating each other and repeating the whole nonsense again and again, until I really want to skewer the heel of a stiletto through this book. Reading these two people just refusing to talk even when opportunities arise every other page is enough to make my head spin.
When a story sees the two main characters thrust in a crux of a miscommunication problem, the author should give them room to work it out like adults. But no. Here comes “funny” women and men! Ho, ho, look, there’s Connor’s nasty stepmother! And hee-hee, look, everybody wants to matchmake Connor and Anne! How do they know that Connor and Anne are meant to be? Why, everybody knows their history, and never mind that now those two can’t even talk, they must be soul mates because they have a thing going when they were stupid kids! It’s like having your parents forcing you to marry that stupid kid you lost your virginity to years ago in a party when everyone was drunk, smelly, and stupid. Isn’t it romantic, kiddies?
It is bad enough that the main characters rarely do anything sensible, Anne, being the heroine, has the privilege of upping her stupid quota into unbelievably irksome levels. Anne believes that her employees will be happy she is keeping them in the dark about their impending loss of jobs because, as Anne reasons, there are not many jobs on the island so it’s not as if they’ll be losing anything by waiting a little longer anyway, hee hee hee! They must hire people like Anne at Enron.
This is a bizarre book of perplexing behaviors and stupid characters. It is a book of agonizingly prolonged misunderstandings. If the Slipper Fits for you, that is, if you don’t mind endless repetitious circles of coitus-interruptus punctuated by accusations, refusals to speak/listen, and self-recriminations as well as ridiculous “funny” antics by obnoxious busybodies, then go ahead, run to Elaine Fox’s pretty little ballroom for the party. I’ll just stay behind and scribble graffiti on the guests’ carriages.