There are some character qualities which just nab me from the start, and I have to admit one of the ways you can do that is to show me someone dealing with any sort of chronic headache situation, and so Cass Phillips starting this story fighting off a migraine had me ready to take a bullet for her. I get that doesn’t make sense, but it’s a migraine sufferer thing. Anyway! Cass is awesome. She’s the CEO of the music label we met through the previous two novellas in Femme Tales, and she is so beyond overworking herself, let alone even considering putting aside time for a relationship.
Then she has a NYC subway meet-cute (or, well, spot-cute) with a gorgeous woman in amazing heels—and misses her chance to meet her—and she maybe realizes that having no time for relationships isn’t a great life plan. Enter some co-workers who bamboozle her into taking a real vacation and then Shade’s magic kicks in: who else happens to be at the resort where Cass is resting than the NYC subway beauty herself, Faith Shaw (who designs awesome footwear).
Both characters really rocked in this third and final novella from Anne Shade’s collection, and I think it was my favourite of the trio in part because of the cameos from the previous two novellas; by this point the reader knows the previous women so well, and the new characters are stronger for the network they have. I really liked the wee bit of comeuppance for the villains of the tale (and also enjoyed how they weren’t centre-stage), loved the play on Cinderella (red stiletto boots for the win) and by the time the story was drawing to a close, I was ready for the fairy tale finish. Standing alone, these three novellas would have been solid, but as a trio, they build on what came before and the end result is a fantastic trio of stories about black women finding happy-ever-afters. I can’t wait for more from Anne Shade (and selfishly, I want more novellas specifically, but that’s my shorter fiction loving heart).
I’ve you’ve been following along, you know I was lucky enough to have been able to touch base with Anne Shade about the stories, so here’s some behind-the-scenes for “Stiletto” to round out the book:
From the Author:
“Cinderella,” the premise of “Stiletto,” had been re-imagined so many times that I loved the challenge of having to come up with an idea that was completely out of the box. My version of “Cinderella,” Faith, wasn’t going to be the downtrodden dreamer the other stories made her. She would still have to deal with the “evil” step-parent and siblings, but they would not be beating her down like the traditional stories and most remakes told it. I also didn’t want to have her being saved from their toxicity but rather saved from spending her life without love.
Those are just my takes on the fairy tales I enjoy. I hope people reading the stories enjoy them as much as I did writing them.