‘Once upon a time’ is how the fairy tales go… but this is no child’s story. Edward Cordwainer is a lonely and disgruntled shoemaker in the remote northern town of Houndstooth. Not satisfied with carving out a meagre living in his father’s profession, Edward is desperate for a better life.
So he enters into an arranged marriage with a wealthy merchant’s daughter. But upon meeting Anastasia, his bride, her scarred face repels him. As his wedding fails to lead to luxury and love, he succumbs to an erotic encounter with a mysterious woman, resulting in a magical bargain to become the most famous man in all the kingdom.
As the magic takes hold, Edward does indeed become wealthy and well-known, not to mention the latest plaything of the Princess Ambrosia, who gets anything —and anyone — she desires.
But magic is a tricky business, for it demands balance. Sure enough, Edward discovers that his invocation is not without cost. As Edward’s star rises, darkness begins to envelop Houndstooth and all its inhabitants as the women of the town start to disappear.
Are the missing women connected to the magic? Or is some other dark force at play? As events unfold, Edward’s one simple wish ultimately threatens to destroy his world.
Blending romance, horror, and gothic suspense, The Shoemaker is a fairy tale retelling about love, honour and the darkest desires of the human soul.
This novel is for mature readers.
Written by Kathryn Cottam.
The Shoemaker features 20 original illustrations by artist Roberta Cottam.