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If you read One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London (2020) last year and loved the premise of a plus-size Bachelorette, then you should add the following book to your TBR Meant to Be: If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy.
I did enjoy One to Watch, however I felt that at times it was a bit problematic in the fat representation. For the men in the show, almost all of them had the perfect six pack body. The romance was all over the place as the heroine just dates in the show. It is not clear who the hero will be until the very end of the book. One to Watch was a frothy women’s fiction book.
If you are looking for a body positive, romance novel then check out Julie Murphy’s adult debut novel Meant to Be If the Shoe Fits. This is a loose Cinderella retelling, however the heroine gets along with her step-sister and step mother. The heroine is a contestant in a Bachelor-esque show where spoiler alert she met the hero before going on the show. This book has zero conflict. It was an easy read.
I love the body representation, the conversation about fashion and being plus size. As someone plus size who struggles to go shopping in regular stores, I really love what Julie did, having the heroine be a shoe designer who loves fashion and takes risks. This book inspired me to shop on my closet for non-pandemic legging wear to give it a try.
ABOUT THE BOOKS
ONE TO WATCH SYNOPSIS
Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers—and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?
Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition—under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She’s in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That’s it.
But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She’s in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale. In this joyful, wickedly observant debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men—and herself—for a chance to live happily ever after.
Meant to Be: if the Shoe Fits Synopsis
Cindy loves shoes. A well-placed bow or a chic stacked heel is her form of self-expression. As a fashion-obsessed plus-size woman, she can never find designer clothes that work on her body, but a special pair of shoes always fits just right.
With a shiny new design degree but no job in sight, Cindy moves back in with her stepmother, Erica Tremaine, the executive producer of the world’s biggest dating reality show. When a contestant on Before Midnight bows out at the last minute, Cindy is thrust into the spotlight. Showcasing her killer shoe collection on network TV seems like a great way to jump-start her career. And, while she’s at it, why not go on a few lavish dates with an eligible suitor?
But being the first and only fat contestant on Before Midnight turns her into a viral sensation—and a body-positivity icon—overnight. Even harder to believe? She can actually see herself falling for this Prince Charming. To make it to the end, despite the fans, the haters, and a house full of fellow contestants she’s not sure she can trust, Cindy will have to take a leap of faith and hope her heels— and her heart—don’t break in the process.
Best-selling author Julie Murphy’s reimagining of a beloved fairy tale is an enchanting story of self-love and believing in the happy ending each and every one of us deserves.
Thank you Disney for access to an early copy of Meant to Be: If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy. The opinions are my own.