Cover Image: Mrs Boots of Pelham Street

Mrs Boots of Pelham Street

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I very much enjoyed this book.  It has a good story and excellent main characters.  I would definately recommend this book.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Netgalley, One More Chapter and Deborah Carr for the opportunity to read this e-copy in return for my honest review. I started this book, having neither read nor realised that it was the second in a series so I think I would definitely have benefitted from reading the first book, It was however still delightful as a standalone, I enjoyed getting to know Florence and her vision for the store that we all know and love.
Was this review helpful?
Can a former shop girl find her place in society and still keep her hand in business while meeting the expectations of being a wife and mother at the same time.  The reader will thoroughly enjoy their time spent reading the books.
Was this review helpful?
The second book in the "Mrs Boots" series, and readers would definitely benefit from reading the first book to gain an understanding of Florence as a young woman, how she met Jesse Boot and how they started the Boots pharmaceutical empire.

This book covers a number of years in the late 19th & early 20th century. As we see the family grow, we also see the Boots Pharmaceutical empire grow. We follow the life of Florence & Jesse but always from the woman's perspective. Having a strong woman like Florence made Boots one of the first "female friendly" places to work and there has always been a focus within the company on employing capable women. Florence can't always stop herself from getting a little too involved in the lives of her staff but she is always doing it from a caring, motherly perspective. 
As the family fortunes grow, we also see how they strive to help those less fortunate with the establishment of a number of philanthropic schemes.

The book is fictional but you can tell there is a huge amount of research both into the Boots company and into the daily life of a family at the time that underpins the fictional parts and makes it a very real and down to earth book that is also very easy to read. It feels more like a biography than a work of fiction! 

Disclosure: I received an advance reader copy of this book free from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
I haven't read the first book, but that didn't spoil my enjoyment of this second one. I loved it. I found it well written, with engaging characters, and a very authentic feel. I would have no hesitation in recommending this.

Thank you to NetGalley and to the publisher for allowing me to read this in exchange to an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
A book about the lady behind Boots the Chemist. I loved this book about the couple who founded Boots. Mrs Boots is determined to keep working when she has a family and is also very interested in the welfare of her staff.
I particularly enjoyed the ways that she envisioned the store evolving to attract more customers, and the ways she managed to get her husband to see that the plans would modernise their appeal without taking away from his ideology.
She also organises trips for her workers to give them memories. We have visited the Cadbury factory and they had a very similar stance with their workers.
I hadn't realised that this was the second book in a series and it read well as a standalone- but I am now keen to search out the first book.
Was this review helpful?
Mrs Boots of Pelham Street is the second book in the Mrs Boots series by Deborah Carr. It can be read as a stand-alone but I would recommend that you read the other book first so you learn all about the young woman that was to become Mrs Boots and how she met her husband and their foray into developing Boots the Chemist.

This book continues the story over a number of years in which Florence and Jesse's family expands as does the Boots Chemist empire. We learn more about the couple and how they strive to help others less fortunate than themselves. We see that despite being soul mates Jesse and Florence do at times clash but then we see how they resolve their differences. This book is almost like a biography and I loved everything I learned about the Boots franchise and the family. I can't help but wonder what they would think if they could see their stores today. I know Florence would be happy to know that the pharmacy section is still at the back of the store which was her idea and which Jesse wasn't happy about. She was proven correct back then, and still correct now and it's things like that which I love about this book. I may not have had the pleasure of knowing the fabulous Mrs Boots and her family, but I know the shop and can't help but think about them whenever I go there. 

I really appreciate the amount of research the author put into this book and that she shared as much as she could in this novel with us. I really hope there will be a third novel because I am sure there is so much more to be told and I want to know it all. It fascinates me.

I normally enjoy a book for its romance elements, this book had little of that but I loved it all the same and am happy to give it a top rating.
Was this review helpful?
I'm sorry I didn't finish this book about Mrs Boot the wife of Jesse Boot, the famous pharmacist to be able to review it.  Although well written and I admire Mrs Boots for her tenacity in the male business world, it wasnt exactly my type of book. 

Thank you to netgalley for the opportunity to try it. 

Was this review helpful?
Mrs Boots of Pelham Street is the second book in Deborah Carr's series, and it's another delight of a novel. The series is inspired by the life of Florence Boot, the woman behind the Boot's empire.

From meeting Jesse Boot as a single woman at home in quiet Jersey, to married life in bustling Nottingham, Florence Boot has had quite a busy few years. As the wife of esteemed businessman Jesse Boot, Florence's position in society has changed.

From shopkeeper's daughter and assistant, to a lady of society and business, and a Mother. Florence Boot is a busy woman, but she wouldn't have it any other way.

In an era where a woman certainly wasn't expected to go out to work if she was married, especially if she were married with Children, Florence has a lot to prove to society in order to demonstrate that yes, Women can have it all.

Florence is an asset to her husband's business, and in this installment we really see her begin to make her mark on the Boot's empire.

Once again, I can't wait to read the next installment in the series, and look forward to seeing what Florence gets up to next.
Was this review helpful?
Mrs Boots of Pelham Street develops the characters we met in book 1 and is a pleasant insight into a strong minded woman at the turn of the century. Florence does much to help poor women and comes across as a compassionate woman who manages to juggle the demands of work and family at a time when this was not the norm
I read this book immediately after the first one and found it a more enjoyable read as it has more information about how Florence worked alongside her husband Jesse at Boots. My only criticism is no book 3 and the author said she left lots out so I'm certain the series could have been extended.
Was this review helpful?
I read the first book Mrs Boot's before and I really like it.
In the second book we dive deeper in Florence and Jesse Boot's lives after their marriage, they are running a succesful business.
Florence works with her husband and raise her three children. She didn't stop working and could manage her working life with motherhood. She wanted to be an example for her children and other women. Florence is a strong woman always trying to help her employees especially women to allow them to have a better life. 
Florence and her husband try to make boot's a great place to work...they planned outings for their employees to allow them to build strong relationships with the rest of their co-workers...

Florence Jesse Boots were hard-working people with great hearts. I really like learning about them and their legacy.

I received a copy of this book and this is an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This is the second book of the series. I love that Jesse and Florence Boot have been brought back in this lovely series. Knowing this is based on real individuals and a real company makes it an even better read.
A quick, fun and light enjoyable story.
Was this review helpful?
I was so looking forward to the next instalment in the historical series based on the lady behind the Boots the chemist empire.  It's two months since I read Book One (Mrs Boots) and the story then compelled me to research Jesse and Florence Boot and I was heartened to read about their dedication to their work and helping those less fortunate.

We follow on from Book One, I strongly recommend reading Mrs Boots prior to this instalment to appreciate the history of the characters and their lives and Jesse and Florence start married life living in Sheffield close to Jesse's work.  Florence soon becomes a vital cog in the wheel of building up the Boots empire.  She sees a different insight into the business which helps broaden it's appeal and custom base.  Florence also helps to ensure all the female staff are happy at work and she strives to ensure that women at work in particular should feel appreciated.

As the years move on a family soon beckons for the newlyweds and this working mum surprises many by balancing a work/family balance.  With the opening of the flagship large store at Pelham Street a move to Nottingham is essential.

I was fascinated again with the lives of Jesse and Florence Boot, now with family commitments as well as work the pair find a balance, with a few learning curves along the way.  The couple were certainly pioneers in bringing affordable medicine to all classes.  They were also at the forefront of ensuring staff morale was an essential tool in securing the success of the business.

Mrs Boots of Pelham Street follows the first 22 years of the couples married life and I've learned to discover that Florence Boot was an innovator amongst working women.  She was also keen to help those less fortunate and was always trying to close the social class gap.

A captivating historical novel that would make perfect Sunday evening TV.
Was this review helpful?
Easing myself back into reading after surgery, developing clots and now recovering, I thought I would lose myself to some delightful historical fiction. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book "Mrs Boots" and decided to jump right into this one.

MRS BOOTS OF PELHAM STREET begins in 1891, six years after Florence and Jesse Boot married on the island of Jersey and they are now living in Nottingham working on building both their family and the Boots empire. They have two children, two year old John and nine month old Dorothy. But Florence feels the need to increase her brood and confides in Jesse that they should have another child.

Fast forward a year later in 1892 and Florence is pregnant with her third child whilst continuing to work in their Boots stores. Jesse implores her to take it easy as the pregnancy tires her while at the same time Florence tries to get Jesse to slow down due to his growing ailments. Neither of them wish to as they continue to build their growing empire. Then in the midst of her seventh month of pregnancy, Jesse announced that he had bought them a majestic house in the beautiful and sprawling The Park estate and named it in honour of her hometown on Jersey, St Heliers. Of course the last thing Florence wished to be doing at seven months pregnant was move house, but with another baby on the way the move made sense. Baby Margery was born on a night they were visiting old friends, keeping Florence bedridden for some ten days before she was able to go back home...and even longer before she could return to work at Boots.

Life had changed for Florence since her days living on Jersey with her family. She had always been an independent young woman, wanting both a career and a family and never losing sight of what she wants from life...but can she fit it all in?

When Jesse buys a massive floorspace on Pelham Street, Florence sees a chance to expand the chain into other departments. But Jesse is adamant. Boots is and always will be first and foremost, a chemist. But Florence has an eye for things that would draw a customer into their store who might never enter and the lure of gifts and pretty things is just the ticket. When that proves successful, Florence decides to expand into stationery and book lending...but all the while Jesse still feels that Boots should remain a chemist. Stubborn to the core, Florence and Jesse butt heads a number of times throughout the course of building up Boots from sixty stores into two hundred and fifty.

One thing Jesse has given his wife full control over is the female staff. She has made it her mission to help the women less fortunate than herself by giving them positions within one of their many Boots stores. Of course she would love to help them all, but of course that isn't possible. Her mind often wanders back to Jersey and young teenage Lily Buttons, whom she had taken off the street and given a job in her father's stationer's store. Lily was her success story and she was proud to have had a hand in helping the young woman find her feet.

So when her secretary announces that there is a Miss Lily Buttons who wishes to see her, Florence couldn't believe her eyes or her ears. Lily had handed in her notice at her father's store and had saved every penny to come to Nottingham to make something of herself. And she hoped Florence had a position for her in one of her stores. Florence was thrilled and promptly gave Lily a supervisory position within the Pelham Street store.

Jesse's health continues to decline but he refuses to slow down. A workaholic, he says he must work and as the head of the Boots empire it is up to him to continue to make it work. When he has a sudden health scare, Florence hopes he would take this as a sign that he must slow down but all that ensues is an even grumpier old man who cannot do all he used to do.

Florence continues to be a stalwart for the company and for women, as she organises outings for several hundred female employees, Christmas gifts for them women and gifts for those who are struggling to make ends meet. She gives positions to those who need it most and takes the women under her wing, hoping to help make their lives better. Despite her mother's pleading and against her wishes, Florence continues to work and take her children to the office with her when they are young so that she can be both a working woman and a hands-on mother for her children. This is very forward thinking for the time particularly as women didn't work once they married or had children, staying at home instead with their family.

However with the number of Boots stores opening up across the country, the empire continues to grow at a rapid rate and fast becoming more than just a chemist, but a gift shop as well. Then they began their own printing means to reduce the need to outsource which was incredibly progressive for the time.

The scenes at Florence and Jesse's home amidst their children and servants had echoes of Downton Abbey, though not as much a grand scale. It had that warmth and homeliness about it despite being a majestic house with half a dozen servants. And their loyalty and appreciation to their servants reminded me those that had graced the halls of Downton.

I really enjoyed this second installment of the Boots empire, though admittedly not as much as the first. I think my biggest issue was with Jesse and his constant grumpiness which was so at odds with the man we met in the first book. Also his stubbornness regarding his children, particularly John, and their education contradicted his acceptance of Florence's position as an independent woman. Contrary to that forward notion, the one regarding John's education was completely belied his position as a forward-thinking man.

But Florence annoyed me in the beginning also when she demanded to remain independent, working at Boots whilst bringing up three children. When Jesse implored her to let him know if it ever became too much to let him know, she silently promised herself she would do no such thing. And then, she had the audacity to plead with Jesse to slow down whilst silently watching him for signs of pain when she decided he would need to slow down. I thought that to be somewhat hypocritical when she endeavoured to do the complete opposite herself. Did their children's well being mean nothing to them that they would both risk their health for the sake of being independent?

Aside from those little niggles, I did find a couple discrepancies in the plot and its timeline. Firstly, in April 1893 Florence was taking her three children to the office and alluded to Margery being just six months old...which was entirely incorrect as Margery was born in April 1892, making her 12 months old. The second inconsistency I found was with regards to Florence's family. She made mention of her own brother Willie. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I honestly do not recall her ever having a brother - just two sisters, Adelaide and Amy. Had she had a brother, wouldn't he have been the most likely to work alongside her father at Rowe's stationers rather than Florence herself and her sister Amy?

Niggles and inconsistencies aside (though I felt I did have to mention them), MRS BOOTS OF PELHAM STREET is a lovely gentle read of times past and while it is the second in the series, it could be read as a standalone.

By the end of the book, they have entered a new century with the year now 1907 and Florence and Jesse are now celebrating twenty one years of marriage. I wonder, where do they go from here? Is there a third book to come to continue their story? I hope so as I would thoroughly enjoy revisiting the Boot family and their growing empire.

A wonderful nod to what has become one of the UK's biggest chemist chains, MRS BOOTS OF PELHAM STREET is an enjoyable step back in time, along with the first in the series "Mrs Boots" .

I would like to thank #DeborahCarr, #NetGalley and #OneMoreChapter and #HarperCollinsUK for an ARC of #MrsBootsOfPelhamStreet in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This is a follow on to the first book "Mrs Boots" although it could be read as a standalone. I did read the previous book and was looking forward to catching up with Florence.

Most of this book is set in my home city and so I was familiar with the locations. In particular the shop on Pelham Street which still stands today albeit not a Boots store. I loved all the parts of the book which were set in the store and could easily visualise it all. I never knew that the Boots had a summer house on the banks of the River Trent called Plaisaunce (unfortunately there now stands a 1960s block of flats in its place). So, whilst this book is a work of fiction I did find out some lovely historical facts too. 

The book centres on Jesse and Florence, their expanding business and bringing up their young children. Unusually for the times, Florence continuing to work and not only that taking the children with her. I was most interested in how Florence developed the Boots store and the lending library which I had heard about. Florence is such a strong female lead. It is really amazing when reading both her care for her staff and her own revolutionary attitude to women at work to remember that this was not usual for the time.

I loved the scene at Christmas where all the preparations and food was described including that for the servants, it was a real upstairs downstairs affair. Although Florence does take very good care of her staff even accompanying them on a trip to Skegness. I know this was researched at the Boots archives and the author saw a lot of the items such as the menu which is described.

The only thing I didn't like was Jesse and his grumpiness and seemingly backward views towards the children and their education. It seemed at odds with his attitude to his own wife and what he encouraged her to do.

A lovely gentle read of times past but authentic regarding the Boots history. I'm giving this book 3 out of 5 stars
Was this review helpful?
A fabulous continuation of the story of the Boots empire!

Florence is now living with her husband and life has changed for her; still determined to be a working woman, she travels to the office each day whilst also caring for the family. Florence never forgets what she wants from life, but can she fit it all in?

I really enjoyed the first in this series, and this next one continues the story whilst moving with the times as it moves into the twentieth century. As the business grows, things are bound to chance in Florence and Jesse's life as their workload expands, and the author brings everything together quite beautifully. This is a gorgeous tale, excellently written and eminently readable. I've been immersed in this novel and, as a former business owner, wonder quite how Mrs Boots manages to accomplish so much!  I'm more than happy to recommend this one, and give it 4.5*.

My thanks to the publisher for my copy via NetGalley; this is - as always - my honest, original and unbiased review.
Was this review helpful?
Mrs Boots of Pelham Street is the second in this gentle historical series which transports you to a bygone era where life was very different, in particular for women.
Florence, who is married to Jesse Boot is definitely forward thinking,  a woman ahead of her time, desperate to help other women who are less fortunate than herself. Living in a grand house with servants and pregnant with her third child ,Florence has a strength of spirit that sees her approaching life head on, unafraid to clash with her husband in terms of his pharmaceutical business and her responsibilities as a wife and mother. Her involvement in the business is equally important to her as her family and Jesse is familiar with her overwhelming need to prove her worth professionally. So it’s understandable that they clash sometimes, each believing their opinion to be the correct one. At a time when married women were very much expected to stay at home looking after the children and always deferring to their husband, Mrs Boot breaks the mould. Despite having that cushion of wealth and comfort, Florence is still keen to do whatever she can to aid those less fortunate. Nowadays it’s quite difficult to contemplate a time when marriage was held in the highest regard and heaven forbid a woman should find herself with child outside of wedlock. Cast aside from family these ‘fallen’ women would have led an impossibly hard life which the author captures well.  In fact descriptions of life then are evocative, when the pace of life was slower and the preferred method of transport, for the wealthy at least, was either on horseback or carriage. Hard to imagine now with our gridlocked roads!! 
Although set in the late 1890’s progressing through to the early 1900’s Florence seems to be a woman facing similar struggles as women of today, trying to balance home and work life, with the exception that she has servants to cater for all her household needs!! With three children and an ever expanding business empire, this woman is a fantastic role model for all the female staff employed in the Boots stores and factories. Her ability to communicate with her staff and resolve disagreements and disputes makes her a likeable and well loved employer. I loved these momentary insights into some of these womens lives and perhaps would have favoured some more in-depth scenarios featuring these characters.
Strong, intelligent and charming, Florence knows the way forward with Jesse is to put her arguments forward in a calm manner that doesn’t damage his male ego and pride, which on the whole seems to work well especially with the opening of their new store in Pelham Street. However when he decides their son John should be sent to boarding school Florence has no choice but to accept her husband’s decision as final. Obviously this was absolutely normal for the times the Boots were living in but I can’t begin to imagine having a beloved child sent away to be educated against his or her will, wrenched from a mothers love.
This is an easy read and on the whole fairly enjoyable although I did feel at times it was rather repetitive in the way Florence and Jesse interact , with problems encountered quickly resolved but I had to remind myself that this is such a different era to the one we all live in today. The quaint ritual of taking tea and having your children beside you whilst you worked, with an obliging secretary to soothe your brow with calm efficiency is almost incomprehensible. So used to the frenetic pace of life, this gentle,unassuming novel made me yearn for a time travelling machine to transport me to the store on Pelham Street, working alongside Florence, if only for one day.  I think she’d prove invaluable as a friend, as she does to Lily  and I would love to sample some of Mrs Rudge’s delights!! This novel initially appealed to me since I’ve been working in the pharmaceutical industry for eons and I found the historical element interesting. If you’re weary of your usual type of read, and would like a novel that mirrors our current enforced slower pace of life, then this series could be right up your street. I look forward to book three, assuming there will be one!
My thanks as always to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read.
Was this review helpful?
Florence and Jesse have been married for twentyone years. She has helped his to build up the Boots Empire. They have three children, Margery, Dorothy and John. Florence has a bit more consideration for the people,they employ. She makes sure they all have a hot chocolate before starting work in the morning, organises works outings and gives gifts at Christmas. 

Imddint like Jesse's attitude and controlling behaviour to Florence but I suppose that's how a lot of men treated their women back then. Florence is a wonderful character who came across as genuine and caring. This is a fascinating insight into the background of then boots business that we know today. The era and family history has been well researched. I liked this story even  ore than the first one.

I would like to thank NetGalley,  HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter and the author Deborah Carr for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Despite being set in 1892, the daily struggles which Florence Boot, wife of James and mother to three young children, faces are completely recognisable to any working mother today.
Juggling a career with childcare in a time when women were not expected or encouraged to have career means Florence was a force to be reckoned with. With strong opinions and a clear vision for her life and that of their business empire, Florence is an admirable character who championed those less fortunate and stuck to her principles.
I've come to this series without reading the first novel and think I would have benefited from starting at the beginning, however, I thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining saga. I was immersed in the world of retail and the Boot family and look forward to the next instalment..
Was this review helpful?
The year is 1892 and we come upon Florence Boot, her husband James and their children.  A women ahead of her time, she works alongside her husband even though she has 3 children.  Florence doesn't have to work, but she has an independent mind and personality.  She is a champion for women even when it, at times, conflicts with her husband.  This book was a delightful read and had I known, I would have read the first book.  Quite enjoyable and highly recommended.  My thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?