Wednesday, 25 July 2018

The Mistress of Pennington’s by Rachel Brimble
Series: Pennington’s Department Store
Genre: Saga/Romance
Release Date: 1st July 2018
Publisher: Aria Fiction

1910 – A compelling tale of female empowerment in Bath's leading department store. Perfect for the fans of the TV series Mr Selfridge and The Paradise.
Elizabeth Pennington should be the rightful heir of Bath's premier department store through her enterprising schemes and dogged hard work. Her father, Edward Pennington, believes his daughter lacks the business acumen to run his empire and is resolute a man will succeed him.
Determined to break from her father's iron-clad hold and prove she is worthy of inheriting the store, Elizabeth forms an unlikely alliance with ambitious and charismatic master glove-maker Joseph Carter. United they forge forward to bring Pennington's into a new decade, embracing woman's equality and progression whilst trying not to mix business and pleasure.
Can this dream team thwart Edward Pennington's plans for the store? Or will Edward prove himself an unshakeable force who will ultimately ruin both Elizabeth and Joseph?

Her gentle study drifted to his mouth and back again. ‘Did you love her? The woman you once worked with?’
Joseph stared, as disquiet whispered through him. ‘Why do you ask?’
‘I find it implausible that a man who holds women in such high regard has not known what it means to love one. You have been in love. I see it in your eyes. Unfortunately for you, they’re very revealing.’
He ran his gaze over her face and hair. Every sound muted. The amber glow of the few lit candles danced over her skin, turning it pearlescent. ‘I was married. To a wonderful, caring woman. A woman who worked beside my father and I every day after we were married.’
Her voice softened. ‘What happened to her?’
‘She died.’ He would tell her no more, the shame of his failure burned like acid in his chest and he quickly stood, wanting the intensity to ease, her justified scrutiny to end. ‘Will you try on a pair of gloves?’
He brushed past her and breathed deep as he approached a box of his finished gloves. Lifting a pair of soft kid, perfectly stitched and the exact green of her eyes, the pale cream stitching the colour of her skin.
When he turned and walked back to his bench, she had sat in his seat. She carefully watched his approach, her eyes unreadable.

I know I've probably said this about Rachel Brimble before but I am always astounded by the diversity of her writing. Just when I think I've found a new favourite book of hers in one genre, I then find myself completely hooked on another book in a different genre! Her writing is that good!

The Mistress of Pennington's is the perfect book if you are looking for a strong female lead character.  The scene setting is perfect and the Edwardian era is one where women are seen more as commodities or simply an extension of a man and should only concentrate on finding a husband. That should be the limit to their ambition. Yet, our main character Elizabeth is so much more than this. She's ambitious, clever and her head is tumbling with ideas of how to make Pennington's Department store run better and be more successful. There are only 2 things standing in her way..........her father and her gender! 

Edward Pennington is not an easy character to like and Rachel Brimble has written him brilliantly, off-setting him with the lovely Joseph Carter who sees so much potential in Elizabeth, seeing her as an equal. He becomes someone who could possibly change her mind about marriage.A glove maker by trade, he convinces her to sell his gloves in the store. The pair are determined to show Edward Pennington that Elizabeth is more than capable of running the store and making a huge success of it and that she has a rightful place in the business world, despite Edward's views on women.

Rachel Brimble's writing is so beautiful throughout this book with the characters really jumping off the page. We get a real feel for the struggles of women during this period and the frustration of not being heard. The author has clearly done masses of research around the Suffragette movement. Class divide is also a theme throughout with Edward Pennington appalled that someone like Joseph Carter could have an interest in his daughter.

If you enjoy well written historical fiction with a wonderful story line and an interesting plot then this is the book for you. Beautifully paced throughout with interesting characters, I'm really looking forward to reading the next book in the series. Bravo Rachel Brimble for another excellent piece of writing.  A highly recommended read! 

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Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. Since 2007, she has had several novels published by small US presses, eight books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical.
In January 2018, she signed a four-book deal with Aria Fiction for a brand new Edwardian series set in Bath’s finest department store. The first book, The Mistress of Pennington’s releases in July 2018.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.


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