The Mistress of Pennington’s – Rachel Brimble

As 2018 is the year we celebrate 100 years of (some) women getting the vote this book shows the battles and strength that women go to find a place in a man’s world.

We are taken to Bath in this tale, think Royal Crescent and Jane Austen bonnets – but it is 1910 and times are moving forward.

Elizabeth Pennington is the sole heir to her father’s department store. However she is immediately at a disadvantage – she is a women and unmarried.

Her ideas are seen as fanciful and have no place in a store that is for the upper echelons of society. You could not possible have working middle class folk selecting items to wear breathing the same air as those who have nothing to do all day apart from shop and take tea.

But of course times were changing and Elizabeth has a vision.

So does Joseph Carter. He wants to get his gloves into the most famous shop in Bath and get them bought by everyone. Joseph is trying to do good for everyone after the loss of his wife. He can see his future could well lie at Pennington’s but Elizabeth’s father has other ideas.

As two families come together, secrets that were once hidden are exposed.

This saga takes you right through the doors of the department stores of history and how such places began and made their name in the world. Think Harrods, Fortnum and Mason and John Lewis. But it also gives you the more personal side of the work that they did to keep their place within an ever-changing market.

I enjoyed the glimpse of life but I got somewhat bored of the tedium of Elizabeth and Joseph’s potential relationship as it ambled along much to slowly for my liking. It was if the author couldn’t decide what was the more important part of the storyline – the development of the store or their relationship which meant neither got the proper attention.

It was an enjoyable book and if you are looking for a historical saga with a strong determined female lead then this book will suffice, but I think you might be left disappointed at the end.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.

The Mistress of Pennington’s is out now.

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