Cover Image: A Shop Girl's Christmas

A Shop Girl's Christmas

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Member Reviews

Welcome back to Pennington's.
A lovely romance with a great mix of mystery and history. I loved the latest instalment of this brilliant series.
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Rachel Brimble is great at writing stories following different characters and making you care about each one and bringing it all together while keeping the read fun and lighthearted. This book was not an exception.  I loved it.
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The story is set in Bath , England in 1911 and centers around two main characters , Cornelia Culford , a woman going through a desperate divorce from her no good husband and Stephen Gower , a former Scotland Yard employee but now a security man at Pennington’s. Stephen is not long at Pennington’s when he is asked to help out with something not in his job description , there is deep concern that there may be a very dangerous killer lurking in Bath ,  those he cares for could be in danger so he says yes to the request . 
The story combined murder , mystery and romance wonderfully , Stephen is a knight in shining armor and not one to be messed with , I was rooting for him to get his man ! Cornelia is a formidable woman , seeing her confidence grow was delightful and I was eager to see how everything would work out in the end for her . The plot was a complete treat with plenty to keep me interested in the characters , danger , love and bad guys , all while being set somewhere completely delightful .
I recommend this to any fiction fan  .
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This was the 3rd book in a series but I had no problem understanding the characters even though I had not read the others. 

I enjoyed the story and how the characters came together to solve the mystery.  I also enjoyed the descriptions of the department store Christmas decorations and shoppers. 

I received an ARC from netgalley for my review and rating.
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The talented Rachel Brimble deftly and exquisitely blends romance, action, passion and intrigue in the latest mesmerizing instalment of her fantastic series set in an upmarket department store in Bath: Christmas at Pennington’s.

Christmas is the most wonderful time of year and Pennington’s is resplendent in its splendour and opulence in the run-up to the festive season. Holly, mistletoe, tinsel and lights adorn the beautiful department store tempting prospective shoppers to walk through the doors and be dazzled by all the magnificence on display. However, scratch beneath the surface and you will find that Pennington’s is a hotbed of secrets, deception, and lies as danger lurks round every corner threatening the lives and hearts of the people who make up this establishment.

Cornelia Culford has got plenty to worry about this Christmas. With her divorce hearing looming, the jewellery department’s manager cannot help but worry about the future. While she might finally be free from the poisonous clutches of her unfaithful and overbearing husband, Cornelia is troubled by the possibility that she might end up losing custody of her two children. Will justice prevail? Or will Cornelia end up losing everything which she holds dear to her heart?

Stephen Gower is the head of security at Pennington’s, a job that allows him some respite from the demons of the past that continue to haunt his every move. His job is a welcome distraction from his tragic past at Scotland Yard, however, there simply isn’t any escaping from old ghosts that refuse to be vanquished. With Joseph Carter and Elizabeth Pennington asking him to investigate the murder of Joseph’s ex wife after a dangerous killer strikes again, can Stephen manage to exorcise old ghosts and move on with his life? Or will he continue to be trapped by events that happened years ago?

Will happiness be within the reach of the staff at Pennington’s? Or are they destined for a miserable Yuletide?

Rachel Brimble’s writing gets better with every book she writes and with Christmas at Pennington’s, she has penned another heart-warming, emotional and captivating read that keeps readers glued to its pages. A wonderful tale of renewal, healing and second chances with a thread of suspense exquisitely intertwined with the romance, glamour and drama of the novel, Christmas at Pennington’s is a delightful historical novel fans of Downton Abbey are going to lap up.
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This is the third book in the Pennington series, but can easily be read as a stand alone. I read book one, but not two, and had no problem jumping into to three.

A beautiful, slow love story set in 1911 Bath, England, the author does a wonderful job of setting the scene with historical context. And experiencing our heroes find redemption and a second chance at happiness in life was lovely.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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This was book 3 in the series but my first. But it was extremely easy to get into the story.

It was 1911 and Christmas time at the Pennington store. Cornelia was going through a divorce while struggling with job and children, and Stephen, who had left Scotland Yard, was the security guard at the store. Both had a past and found themselves attracted to each other. There were murders of rich women happening into which Stephen was asked to look.

My first book by author Rachel Brimble, I loved the drama and murders intertwined in the story. Though a historical fiction, it had emotions and mystery to draw my attention into the depths of it. The characters were well rounded, I loved their interactions.

The author's writing was fluid and detailed. Pennington was beautifully described, I could feel my eyes sparkling imagining it all. I was like the kid in Home Alone movie. The book was completely entertaining, it had a lot happening which steadied the pace. The murder mystery kept my thriller-y mind enraptured. A good breakfast read, I would say.
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Once again we are transported to the Suffragette era and Bath, England's premiere shopping experience. This story will also take us to the back streets, dark alleys and the ugly side of the gentrified lifestyle. The characters have ethics which bring about moral dilemmas. This series is particularly about strong women. I do recommend you read each of the series stories but this book stands unquiveringly alone.
Cornelia Culford is a wife who has done her duty and now is all about protecting her children, even when that means exposing her weaker side and the abuse she has taken at the hands of her husband.
Stephen Gower has removed himself to Bath and Pennington's department store to lick his wounds and clear his head. He must learn to forgive himself.
Joseph Carter is similarly wounded. Both men hold onto guilty for actions not taken.
Can the supportive women around them help them come to terms with life's future potential and in the process help catch a killer?
History and mystery combine with family drama to offer up a five star read that will open your eyes and maybe also your heart.
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Cute premise, Easy to read. There seemed to be a lot of characters that perhaps you'd care for more if you'd read the earlier Pennington's books but I hadn't and the book was still easy to read.
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A department store in Bath brilliantly preparing for Christmas but behind the scenes there is a lot of drama. A killer stalks the streets of Bath preying on women - and women who are respectable and doing good for the community.

Cornelia desperately trying to carve a niche for herself and her two sons in a contested divorce case. Stephen head of security at Penningtons, finds himself drawn into a murder investigation which he does not want to even know about. Stepping down from Scotland Yard he just wants to keep his head down and get on with his daily life. Joseph and Elizabeth cannot get past the tragic murder of Joseph's first wife and this is affecting their marriage and when murder strikes again they know they cannot sit back, despite Police inaction.

The drama of individual lives going on apace, set against the backdrop of the murders was balanced very well. It was several stories interspersed with each other and though set against the backdrop of the impending festival it was not a Christmassy book per se and could be read at anytime. 

The characterization was spot on and the mystery murder detective theme was well thought of and detailed.
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Not at all what I expected and much better. Very well written tell of the past century. The opulence, the grandeur and mystery. Nice read.
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Christmas at Pennington’s by Rachel Brimble is the third installment in the Pennington’s series.  It can be read as a standalone for those new to the series (but why not read all three books).  Christmas at Pennington’s takes readers on a journey back to November 1911 in Bath, England.  Pennington’s department store is beautifully decorated for Christmas and customers are busily shopping for Christmas presents.  Cornelia Culford, along with her two sons, has left her abusive husband, David and moved in with her brother, Lawrence and his family.  Cornelia obtained at job at Pennington’s working in the jewelry department.  She is worried about the upcoming divorce hearing because David is now trying to obtain full custody of their sons.  Stephen Gower is a sergeant with Scotland Yard until three women and one constable died.  Stephen feels guilty for them being slain and the Board is reviewing the incident.  Until they rule on the event, Stephen has accepted a position as watchman at Pennington’s.  The last thing Stephen wishes to do is investigate a crime, but Joseph Carter needs his help.  Joseph wants his first wife’s killer found especially now that another charitable woman has been found dead in the same manner.  Joseph believes Stephen is the man to help him find the ruthless killer.  I thought Christmas at Pennington’s was well-written with it moving along at a gentle pace.  I enjoyed the author’s detailed descriptions which allow me to visualize the scenes from the book.  Cornelia and Stephen start out as co-workers with the relationship slowly developing as time passes. There were some intimate scenes that I wish had not been as detailed or had been excluded from the book (I felt they took away from the story).  I like that Esther and Lawrence are helping fight for women’s suffrage and bring awareness to the cause.  It was a hot issue at the time.  The mystery enhanced the story.  Stephen could not help looking into the case and Cornelia ends up assisting him.  I like how all the characters storylines are woven together into one charming novel.  Rachel Brimble created strong characters that are undergoing personal conflict.  It is wonderful how they help each other and that the characters grow as individuals.  The author captured the time period with the historical events, the items available, the clothing, language, attitudes and conveyances.  Christmas at Pennington’s is a rich historical novel with a cold-blooded killer, a vexing sister, a scurrilous husband and Christmas cheer.
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This was a great historical novel that had a fast moving and intriguing plot.  I hadn't read any of the other books in this series, but didn't feel like that made a difference in my ability to enjoy this title.
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This is a series I always enjoy, and look forward to reaching in my list! So, high expectations - which were fully rewarded!

This time round we focus on two of the newer members of Pennington's staff; Cornelia, serving customers with the best jewellery and trying to rebuild a life for herself and her children while she waits for the court hearing which will decide on her divorce petition. Stephen Gower is also waiting for a decision - one which will decree if he can continue with his police career and, in the meantime, he is working security for the famous store - but Joseph Carter has a ulterior motive in offering him the job; with his crime background, might he not be the perfect person to find out who was responsible for the murder of his first wife?

With lots of content, this is an exciting read! As well as following the new characters, we also find out how those in previous novels are faring and it's all easily entwined. I love Rachel Brimble's writing, and think she has surpassed my expectations with this one .. it is packed with detail all the way through. There is so much happening - and yet, it's all so easy to follow! With skilled writing and a real flair for story telling, I think this is my favourite of the series so far! Such a pleasure to be back in the world of Pennington's, and especially for the festive season. The sparkle in the store transmits on the page really well and I've even found myself browsing Christmas decorations! Now, THAT's success! Completely worth a full five stars, without a doubt .. and a firm recommendation that you catch up with this fabulous series!

My thanks to publisher Aria for my copy via NetGalley and to Vicky Joss for my spot on this blog tour. As always, this is my honest, original and unbiased review.
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Brimming with drama, style, and secrets, CHRISTMAS AT PENNINGTON'S by Rachel Brimble is a story that comes alive in your mind as you read each page and is sure to please historical fiction fans everywhere. 

It is 1911 and Pennington's department store is getting ready for Christmas with its stunning displays of elegance and sophistication. But outside these hallowed walls, a killer stalks the wealthy women of Bath and is making its presence felt. 
Cornelia is struggling to juggle her job at Pennington's with her children and the divorce that is looming over her head like a threatening cloud, but she will do whatever it takes for those she loves to be happy. Working as security at Pennington's gives Stephen something to focus on as his past is picked over at Scotland Yard but when he is asked to look into the murders, he cannot wait to discover the truth and prove to himself that he can do this. 
​But as new relationships begin to blossom and old wounds try to heal, will those at Pennington's uncover the truth and find happiness in time for Christmas?

Compelling with plenty of drama, secrets, and misunderstandings, CHRISTMAS AT PENNINGTON'S by Rachel Brimble is part historical fiction and part mystery which worked really well for me. The characters are fascinating and absorbing and while this book is part of a series it can easily be read as a standalone, but as I always say, why have one good book when you can have more?
Pennington's department store is like a character itself and I enjoyed picturing this breathtaking place as the author describes it with such love and detail. 
​There is something for everyone in CHRISTMAS AT PENNINGTON'S and I cannot wait to read more from Rachel Brimble, who has a way of making the past come alive in such a way which is truly inspiring.
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What a fabulous book I really enjoyed reading. This is the third book in a series, but is the first one I’ve read. It is fine to read as a stand-alone, but I have just purchased the other books in the series as I absolutely loved reading about the Pennington department store in Bath. Bath is one of my favourite places to visit and so made the book all the more enjoyable to me that I was reading about streets and places I’d actually been. This book left me wanting more so I really hope that Rachel will be adding to the series. If this is the genre you like I can highly recommend this book.
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4.5 Stars
Christmas in 1911 is fast approaching, but a killer stalks the women of Bath. 
For Cornelia Culford, in charge of jewellery, a divorce hearing looms, where she could lose custody of her two young sons to her overbearing and unfaithful husband. 
For Stephen Gower, being head of security at Pennington's is the perfect refuge from a tragic past at Scotland Yard. But soon the past will call him back, as Joseph Carter and Elizabeth Pennington beg him to help solve the murder of Joseph's first wife Lillian, now that it seems as if the killer has struck again. 
This is the third book in the series & whilst it could easily be read on its own the world surrounded the department store & its employees is highly entertaining. We met Cornelia in the previous book, which told her brother Lawrence’s story. This is another very well written book that flows extremely well. The characters are well fleshed & have depth. I really liked Cornelia who has survived an abusive marriage & is now coming out the other side a much stronger woman. Stephen is riddled with guilt over a case that caused him to leave London whilst an investigation takes place. This is a slow burn romance & I found myself wanting things to work out for the pair but that seemed in jeopardy & the pages flew by as I read towards the conclusion
My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read
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At first, I thought there were so many spelling and punctuation errors that I wouldn't be able to read it. I finally realized the book was from the UK! Whew! I am a proofreader so I was starting to twitch at what I assumed were mistakes and poor proofing. After I got past the differences I began to thoroughly enjoy the story. Rachel Brimble has given her readers strong women characters that are definitely unusual for the turn of the twentieth century. Pennington's is a large department store heading into the Christmas season. Stephen, Cordelia, Elizabeth, and Esther are all part of the Pennington family but each one has their own problems. How can they help each other while helping themselves? I loved how the storylines were woven together. Even though the story contains everything from divorce to murder, the development of the characters was what impressed me. Each character was strong, independent and had a strong storyline. Honestly, each character could have been a separate book! It speaks highly of Brimble's writing skills that she blended all the storylines without lessening or minimizing the importance of each one. This is a great holiday story but it can be enjoyed anytime. Don't wait for the holidays, read it now! I voluntarily received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley.
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I was very happy to be able to get my hands on Christmas at Pennington's having already read and reviewed The Mistress of Pennington’s and A Rebel at Pennington’s both of which I loved.  I really enjoy reading historical series, as they give us the opportunity to not only revisit some beloved characters, but also a specific time period.  As you will be aware if you follow me, you will know that historical novels set during periods of war are normally my favourite, but the Pennington's series has been a very welcome change.

Christmas at Pennington's focuses on Cornelia Culford, Lawrence Culfords sister, who we met briefly in A Rebel at Pennington's.  She is attempting to rebuild her life, after leaving her controlling and unfaithful husband.  Divorce at that time was very much frowned upon, and so for her, there is the very real possibility that she won't be granted the divorce, or that she could lose her beloved sons to her husband.  Her sister-in-law Esther manages to get her job at Pennington's, enabling her to start building a more independent life where she can focus on herself and her children.

Stephen Gower is a broken man.  He leaves his career at Scotland Yard behind as he joins the security team at Pennington's, running away from tragedy in his past.  However as a detective he finds himself unable to ignore the murder of a young women.  Joseph Carter and his wife Elizabeth draw him further into the unsolved case, as they request his help finding the murderer of Joseph's first wife.

Christmas at Pennington's enables us to catch up with our friends, Elizabeth and Joseph, Esther and Lawrence as well as introducing us to new characters Cornelia and Stephen.  The female characters in this series are all strong, independent women who are fighting for their place in the world at a time when men are leading the way.  I really enjoyed following Cornelia as she joined an already impressive group of women who know what they want, and will work hard to get it.

In addition we learn more about Bath, and more specifically Pennington's department store.  Its opulence and character are even more pronounced in this novel, as it is dressed for Christmas and bustling with customers.  I am already looking forward to the next novel in the series, to see where Pennington's takes us next!
I am more than happy to recommend this novel to you all.  Whilst it can be read as a standalone, I think you'd be missing out on learning more about some really wonderful characters.  So maybe go and grab yourself the series so far!
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I liked the other novels in this series and I loved this one.
I appreciated the well researched historical background, the fleshed out characters and the gripping and entertaining plot.
I rooted for Cornelia and Stephen and I liked how the romance developed.
I look forward to reading the next Pennington novel.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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