For the triumphant (?) return of the Saturday Shoe, what better theme than the queen of triumphant returns (and falls from grace, but we’ll skirt over that for now) – Angelique. Now, if you don’t know Angelique, then I think you should get acquainted post haste! Here’s Wikipedia’s very brief summary, while the official website can be found here.
My Mum read these books in her teens/twenties and I can remember their rather buxom covers being on our bookshelves throughout my childhood. When she recommended them to me, I’ll admit I was put off by their pulpy, prurient covers and so it wasn’t until this year that I finally read them.
And what an adventure they have taken me on.
Pirates, thieves, princes, poisoners, whores, child-killers, Sultans and the Sun King himself – no one escapes the thrill that Angelique brings to 17th century France (and, in later books, Canada and the east Mediterranean). Anne Golon and her late husband, Serge, take the reader on a wild adventure full of romance, intrigue and even philosophy and alchemy – their depth of research is not overwhelming and instead it renders the period utterly real.
Sadly these books are out of print (though there are possible plans to re-print them now the legal battle between Anne Golon and her former publishers has been settled), but if you can get your hands on them (at the library, a second hand bookshop or a kind friend who’s willing to lend them out) I heartily recommend them.
(Though I’ll give a couple of warnings: there are different translations and I’ve noticed this makes a big difference to the quality of the writing in English; the beginning might not seem so promising, bear in mind that the novel was written before we became so demanding of our gripping openings and trust me when I say that it becomes utterly enthralling.)
Yes, yes, yes, Clare, but where do shoes come into this? Well, these spangly silken creations are from the height of the Sun King’s reign and with those dizzying heels in red leather, I’d suggest these are shoes fit for our indomitable Angelique.