A Rebel at Pennington's

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley and Aria, for the read of Rachel Brimble’s, A Rebel at Pennington’s.

It is the early 1900’s, Bath, England. We meet Esther, a young, independent, woman who is in charge of displays for Pennington’s department store. Esther is determined to continue in her deceased mother’s footsteps fighting for the suffragette movement.

This does not go over well with her father and new stepmother, and she is sent to go live with her stodgy aunt. Esther loves her job, gives everything she has to the cause, and yet, her heart yearns for something more. She wants to find love. But, will finding it mean she has to give up her hard-earned independence and identity? 

We meet the widower Lawrence, father of two young children and owner of The Phoenix, a prestigious hotel in the city. Lawrence has suffered an emotionally crippling past and is not looking for love when he meets Esther at Pennington’s. The two have an instant connection, despite their initial cheeky exchange, and Lawrence’s interest is more than peaked. As they get to know each other, Lawrence struggles with revealing his past – will it scare Esther away?

Rachel Brimble slowly builds up the trust in their relationship with a delightful full out, the-way-it-used to be-courtship, all while interweaving events of the pivotal historical movement of the suffragettes, and adding a few twists along the way. 

I enjoyed the book and would definitely recommend it.

I am grateful to have received a copy of this book from Aria through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in my review are my very own.
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5☆ Authentic, Passionate, Poignant, Powerful Historical Romance!

Rebel at Pennington's is the second book in the series, it can be read as s standalone but the first book had so much character development and story setting I highly recommend reading it.

This story is set in Bath, one of my favourite places. 

Esther and her father was never going to see eye to eye on women's rights.
So when he gave her an ultimatum, to stop perusing her beliefs or leave. It was an easy option, she was never going to give up on her passion or her mother's, so she has no option but to leave her family home.

Esther works at Pennington's as the head window dresser.
It's here she meets the endearingly handsome Lawrence Culford. 
Lawrence hasn't had an easy life he has the emotional scars to prove it.
Now widowed and a single parent he too has a respect for women's rights.
It's clearly obvious that there is a sizzle of a spark between Esther and Lawrence as they become friends.

But Esther's beliefs and passion for women's rights and the suffragettes is so strong will she miss the opportunity to find happiness and love, or can she still stay true to herself and fall in love?
Only time will tell! 

Esther is such a wonderful character, she is so strong, passionate, dedicated, kind, a bit of a rogue, which only adds to her charasmatic charm and endearing nature.
I loved watching Esther and Lawrence's friendship bloom. Their chemistry sizzles.

I love historical Romances especially when they are so authentic and real and Rachel has got it spot on. It shows just how much research and dedication she has put in.

I briefly know a bit about the Suffragettes and their fight to give us women the right to vote and be equal.
In fact my grandad was very passionate about me voting when I turned 18, as he reminded me just how much women fought to give me that right. Which is something I think we forget!
So I really enjoyed getting to learn more about the heartache, danger, passion, dedication, prejudice women faced and fought. 

I adore Rachel Brimble's books.
She has knack of storytelling with a lot of heart. She writes the most Captivating and Passionate stories.
With beautifully strong, endearingly observed characters.
She has a way of captivating her readers with Authentic, Gritty, Poignant and heart warming storylines.

Rebel at Pennington's is a totally absorbing read that's beautifully written.
It tells of the struggles, the fights, the dedication women fought in order for equality.
It's an authentic, gritty, passionate, poignant, powerful read filled with romance, uncertainty, rebellious spirit, love, warmth, friendship, and a dash of danger.
If you haven't yet read Rachel Brimble's books and you love historical fiction/ romance then you will really enjoy this series!

Thank you to Rachel Random Resources for this copy which I reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
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Working at Pennington's Department Store in the early 1900s, Esther Stanbury is a passionate supporter of women's rights. Meeting Lawrence Culford leads her to a romance that was unanticipated, but things may work out for this couple. I was not aware this was a 2nd book in a series, but will be looking out for that first volume.
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A Rebel at Pennington’s by Rachel Brimble takes us to 1911 in Bath, England.  Esther Stanbury is the head window dresser at Pennington’s Department Store and a staunch suffragette.  Esther’s deceased mother was an advocate for women’s right to vote and raised Esther to follow suit.  After her father remarried, he gave Esther an ultimatum.  He wanted Esther to give up her fight for the vote or she must leave their home.  Esther refused to give up the Cause and moved in with her Aunt Mary.  One day outside Pennington’s, Esther encounters Lawrence Culford and his two delightful children.  Lawrence is instantly smitten with Esther and her passion for improving women’s rights.  While Esther would like to have a relationship, she refuses to give up who she is or what she believes in for a man.  Lawrence owns the prestigious Phoenix Hotel and is a widower.  After a miserable childhood and an arranged marriage, Lawrence is determined if he marries again, it will be for love.  The coronation of George V is imminent and the whole country is excited about their new monarchs.   Esther is busy designing new windows for Pennington’s, but she cannot resist spending time with Lawrence.  Then the suffragists’ come up with a plan to garner attention for their cause that could jeopardize Esther’s future.  Is there a chance for Lawrence and Esther?

A Rebel at Pennington’s features Esther Stanbury who was raised by her mother to fight for women’s rights.  Esther does not see a way to fight for what she believes in and having a family.  Her father’s ultimatum is the cause.  Love has a way of challenging your beliefs and resolve.  Lawrence had a cruel father and he is determined to not be like him.  He was forced into one arranged marriage and will not let his mother do it to him again.  Each have issues to overcome before they can move forward.  We get to see the struggles suffragettes faced in England.  The criticism, insults, items hurled at them, and being tossed into jail.  There were different groups with some who did peaceful demonstrations and others that chose a more militant approach.  I thought the author captured the attitudes of the people during the time along with the atmosphere prior to George V’s coronation.  I am glad that the author included Elizabeth Pennington in the story.  We get to see how she is faring after taking over the store and marrying the man she loves.  I enjoyed the descriptions of the windows and displays at Pennington’s.  They were unique for the time period and would have attracted customers.  A Rebel at Pennington’s is nicely written with steady pacing which makes it easy to read.  The attraction between Esther and Lawrence is electric and unmistakable.  I do want to let readers know there is mild foul language scattered throughout the book and there is a very descriptive, intimate scene.  For those who love historical romances with a rebellious woman and a dashing widow, then do not miss out on A Rebel at Pennington’s.
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher though NetGalley. All options expressed in this review are entirely my own. 

A Rebel at Pennington’s by Rachel Brimble is about Esther, a young passionate suffragette who works at Pennington’s department store. Headstrong and impulsive, she will do anything for the cause even if it means sacrificing what she loves most. But when she meets Laurence Guilford, the owner of one of Baths prestigious hotels and a supporter of women’s rights; Esther finds that her future may have live in it after all.

Miss Brimble has brought to life the times of the suffrage movement. She did a great job writing about this time in history however, I would have liked a little more character development. I felt like the relationship between Esther and Laurence was superficial. Other then attraction and a common goal, they did nothing but argue. I also kept thinking throughout the book, “this would not have happened”. A women of Esther’s standing would not have done the things mentioned, no matter how independent. I was hoping to give a better review but to be honest I was a bit board.
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The first book in this series, The Mistress of Pennington's, was a superb read and when I noticed that the sequel was being published I was desperate to add it to my list. You can read my review of the first one HERE.

In this second novel, we get to know the head window-dresser of the department store. Esther Stanbury is not only committed to her job, but is also a member of the suffragist movement; aiming to achieve the vote for women through peaceful means and promote equality for all. When she meets Lawrence Culford, they each make assumptions about the other, and as they meet again it becomes apparent that they have much in common with both hiding their past. But is that enough?

It's fair to say that I really enjoyed the first novel; I expected this one to equal it but it far surpasses it (both are stand-alone reads). The story sparkles and is full of interesting historical tidbits. Covering the lives of both the wealthy, the working class and - inevitably - touching on the plight of the poor,  this book gives a real insight into life in the capital in 1911 as well as indulging the reader in a most wonderful dance of romance. Beautifully written, this is an enthralling tale and I most definitely hope there is more to come in this series. Such a fabulous read deserves no less than a full house of fat, glowing stars!
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The second of the Pennington's series is set in Bath in 1911. . 

Esther Stanbury, a window dresser at Pennington's Department Store, has huge dreams for the a better deal for women in society and wants progression, peace and respect for them. She also wants rhem to have the power to vote. 

Lawrence Culford has it all, but there's deep-seated anger shame and resentment running through his veins and his happiness is at risk. 

What will happen when they meet? 
It's all action in Bath with the upcoming King's coronation and the Suffragette movement fighting to secure the vote. 

A Rebel at Pennington's is a real tense, will they won't they kind of novel. I was wondering if Lawrence and Esther would work things out in spite of their different backgrounds and personalities but it was a joy seeing their friendship grow. At the same time, I was wondering if Esther would get what she wanted for herself as a woman and for all the women of the time. When I was at school, the Suffragette movement was one of my favourite periods of history and I myself am really into fighting for my own rights as an individual. 

Perfect for the fans of the TV series Mr Selfridge and The Paradise. I love any historical novel about love, life and huge department stores. I've been to Bath and the majestic nature of the city is ever-present here. I loved the descriptions of Pennington's itself and the atmosphere of the shop. Esther's contentment with her job as the head of the department of window dressing is evident as is her drive, courage and passion in fighting for societal change no matter what the cost. And there is a cost, an emotional one and the stakes are high. 

Leaving home is not easy but her father's opinions are too much. Rachel Brimble writes an engrossing novel that's second in the series bur also a good standalone. I'd recommend reading the first book before this to get an idea of background. Fast-moving, detailed and enjoyable. 

. 4 stars 


Thanks to Rachel Brimble and Aria for my ARC copy in exchange for an honest and voluntary review and a spot on the blog tour for this title. Great to be back at Pennington's.
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Amazing read! The author wrote a story that was interesting and moved at a pace that kept me engaged. The characters were easy to invest in.
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I read and reviewed The Mistress of Pennington’s which is the previous book in this series and really enjoyed Elizabeth and Joseph’s story.

In A Rebel at Pennington’s, we are introduced to Esther Stanbury who works in the prestigious department store as a window dresser.  She has been rejected by her close family because of her views on women’s rights. She meets the affluent widower Lawrence Culford by accident outside the store, and he is captivated by her beauty and feisty nature.

I was pleased that like Elizabeth Pennington, Esther is a strong, opinionated woman who will stand up for what she believes in. The Suffragette Movement is a fascinating subject and Rachel Brimble has done a brilliant job of raising the flag to salute these extremely brave women.

Both books are well written, expertly researched and full of authentic, interesting characters with fascinating back stories and just the right amount of romance. I love reading about this era and highly recommend Esther and Lawrence’s story to anyone who is a fan of historical fiction.
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I would like to thank Aria for asking me to review this book and arranging the blog tour.
Welcome to the 1900's and you are in for a treat. This is an historical fiction that is set around the suffragette movement. I love it when I read a fiction book that is about a past era that I want to know more about and this is one such story where the plot and the research work together in harmony. It is full of passion for believes, hope and with our main character having such a rebellious nature the plot is packed with powerful momnets.
Loved this inspiring read.
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Rachel Brimble certainly does not disappoint with A Rebel at Pennington’s,  the second captivating installment of her outstanding series set in an upmarket Bath department store in the early years of the twentieth century.

Esther Stanbury is a passionate woman who cares deeply about women’s progression and female suffrage. A woman who has known great hardship and heartache, after she had been banished from her ancestral home, Esther now works as a window dresser at Pennington’s Department Store and spends her spare time doing what she can in order to make her dream of women securing the vote a reality. Esther knows that she has a long, hard and difficult road to travel that is heavily burdened with challenges and upheaval, yet Esther is prepared to do whatever it takes for women’s independence and help might just end up coming from a most unlikely source…

To the outside world, Lawrence Culford appears to be a man who has the world at his feet. Successful, rich and charismatic, Lawrence is the owner of the prestigious Phoenix Hotel and seems to be a man who leads a fulfilling life where whatever he wants and needs is within reach. However, appearances prove to be deceptive in this particular case. Beneath the sophisticated exterior lies a man troubled by past shame, old secrets, powerful resentment and an anger that threatens to consume him and destroy any chance of happiness he might have. When an unexpected twist of fate propels him into Esther’s path, the two make a connection that looks set to lead to something more – but only if they have the courage to admit how much they care for one another…

With the King’s coronation fast approaching and the atmosphere in Bath reaching a crescendo, Esther finds herself torn between duty towards the suffragist cause and desire for the one man whom she has grown to love. Is a future for her and Lawrence possible? Or are there simply too many obstacles standing in their way?

Rachel Brimble has done it again and penned a story rich in period detail, evocative descriptions of the past and bright and vivid historical colour. A Rebel at Pennington’s is a terrific story that is heart-rending, engrossing and absolutely impossible to resist. Romantic, gripping and hugely enjoyable, A Rebel at Pennington’s is a tale of sacrifice, redemption and healing that will touch your heart and bring a tear to your eye.

I fell in love with Esther and Lawrence and their powerful, sensitive and passionate love story is sure to hold you spellbound and keep you on the edge of your seat.

A master storyteller who never puts a foot wrong, Rachel Brimble has penned another captivating historical novel that has me eagerly anticipating my next visit to the enchanting world of Pennington’s Department Store in Bath.
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Esther Stanbury is a passionate support of suffrage, and when she isn't dressing window's at Pennington's Department Store, she is doing what she can for the Cause. Lawrence Culford is a succesful hotel owner, devoting his spare time to his children. When these two meet, sparks fly.

From the start, I honestly wasn't sure what attracted these two together besides physical attraction. Esther was extremely rude and she was quick to fight with every conversation they had after. Her devotion to suffrage was admirable, but it was clear from the start it was her whole life. It doesn't leave much room for romance. Lawrence manages to get through her defenses and stays there. Through fight after fight, they fall in love.

I found the plot a bit boring, and I easily set the book aside for something else on several occasions. Coupled with detailed love making/groping scenes and sex scenes, this is not something I would recommend to anyone of my acquaintance.
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1911 Bath. Banished from her ancestral home, passionate suffrage campaigner Esther Stanbury works as a window dresser in Pennington's Department Store. She has hopes and dreams for women's progression and will do anything to help secure the vote. Owner of the prestigious Phoenix Hotel, Lawrence Culford has what most would view as a successful life. But Lawrence is harbouring shame, resentment and an anger that threatens his future happiness. 
When Esther and Lawrence meet sparks fly over a toy cricket set.  The more they meet the more they fall in love but Esther doesn’t want a life as a housewife under the thumb of a husband. Lawrence is a widower with two small children, his first marriage was arranged & he’s quite happy with his life of raising his children & managing his hotel until he meets Esther. A well written page turning book, I loved the first book in the series & was looking forward to Esther’s story & I wasn't disappointed. This book could easily be read on its own but I loved catching up with Penningtons & characters from the first book. The book was well researched I really felt for the women fighting for the vote & so grateful that they did. It highlighted their struggle & I was also drawn into a society emerging from the Victorian & Edwardian eras & moving forward into the Georgian era when life changed so much in the quarter century of George V’s reign. The characters were very well portrayed, I liked both Lawrence & Esther both had their insecurities which only add to their characters.
My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read
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An entertaining and engaging book, well researched and well written.
I liked the well written characters and setting, especially the well researched historical background.
The plot was very good and it made me root for the characters.
I look forward to reading other books by this author.
Recommended!
Many thanks to Aria and Netgalley for this ARC
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Esther Stanbury is living in Bath with her aunt, having been forced from her childhood home after her mother’s death and her father’s remarriage and his increased frustration with her unwillingness to scale back her activities regarding women obtaining the vote. Her stepmother is particularly vile, playing both sides against the middle, telling tales and generally poisoning Esther’s reputation with her father, and the option of moving to her aunt Mary’s house, while not ideal and a far cry from the acceptance and love she felt from her mother, is a safe place that offers her reasonable freedom of movement.  Set in the years leading up to World War I, the changes in British society are coming, too slowly for Esther and her like-minded friends.  

Lawrence Culford is a widower with two young children: a self-made man, he’s turned his back on his childhood home and ‘estate’ after years of physical and mental abuse. With the death of his wife in childbirth, and the realization that the loveless marriage may have brought him the best opportunity to ‘reframe’ his life with his children in ways completely different from his own life, he’s tightly controlled and close-mouthed about his childhood and background, determined to make a success of his life without another woman who may see the broken boy hidden within himself.  

Working as the head of the team that decorates the displays and windows at Pennington’s, a successful store (think Selfridge’s) run by the daughter of the founder and her new husband.  Esther’s designs are modern and eye-catching, and she never misses an opportunity to push the votes for women and equality issue forward.   I wanted to really enjoy this book as both Esther and Lawrence are two people who clearly are built with a more modern sensibility than was common in their time, and truly they both did have a ‘better future’ in mind for society. But, something kept me from truly grabbing onto the characters and truly becoming involved in their lives.  The writing was solid, and descriptions were clear and often vibrant, there was just a remove from the emotional connection I had hoped to find, and it made this story far too easy to put down and aside in favoir of other tasks.  Not being set in London, the contrasts of vehemence in support of the cause of equality and the quick race to wrap up the loose ends and make a happy ending wasn’t justified in the often repeated determination of both characters to ‘careful thought’ and caution. 

I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. 

Review first appeared at   I am, Indeed 
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Excellent book!  Loved the characters and it was a great storyline.  I would highly recommend this book.
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A Rebel at Pennington's, by Rachel Brimble, is a captivating work of historical fiction set  Bath, England during the early twentieth century. The protagonist, Esther, is determined to carry on the work of her mother, an ardent suffragette, despite the high cost that comes with her conviction that women should have the right to vote. Esther has been disowned by her father and cast out of her family home for her beliefs!
Whereas modern women are often challenged by balancing families and careers Esther sees her options as all or none. She feels that she must choose between love, marriage and family or a career and her independence, and it is only by joining the suffragettes in their fight to secure the right to vote that she can hope to have the latter.
When Esther falls hopelessly in love with a charming widower her resolve is tested. Will returning his love and its societal implications mean that she will become nothing more than a housewife or will she spurn his romantic overtures and remain the rebellious, independent woman that she has worked so hard to become? Is there any other option?
This novel provides some insight to the struggles of the suffragettes and the scorn with which they were treated by the majority of society.
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It is the time of women's suffrage and Esther has fought for the Cause and lost all that she has held dear and close to her heart. Her father is firmly under the influence of her step mother and she is now not allowed to go home. Living with her Aunt is not a happy state but she is very happy at her job at Pennington's where she is given a free reign to create artistic and eye catching window displays for which the store is now becoming famous.

Despite her success at her job, Esther is not happy. She is lonely and feels that her Aunt is just tolerating her in her house. On top of it all Esther feels that progress in the suffrage movement is very slow and wonders whether a more militant way is the correct way to go forward.

Into this scenario steps Lawrence, a successful hotelier with two young children whose wife has died a few years ago. Balancing a career and his family he is not looking for love though seeing Laura he is attracted to her and then starts the story of Esther and Lawrence. Covering the shift in the suffrage movement and Lawrence's wholehearted support for Esther, they have to overcome personal hurdles to come to some sort of place where they can be themselves. Both have family histories of hurt and bitter feelings towards parents so they cannot let themselves be hurt by those they love the most. 

A descriptive story of 1911 England, the suffrage movement and a love story coupled with the beginning of women's right to independence.
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what an amazing book. Loved it from beginning to end 
I loved the authors style of writing and will be looking for other books by this author. 
I would recommend this book to friends and family
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