The lovely Melanie, from publishers Aria Fiction, has decided to move on to pastures new, so this time I am pleased to welcome Victoria Joss, as my new point of contact and I look forward to our collaborations bringing you some great Blog Tours, with new authors to meet and books to discover 🙂
‘THE MISTRESS OF PENNINGTON’S‘
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?
Rachel Brimble is the author of the popular Harlequin Templeton Cove series which consists of eight books, which are a combination of either mainstream romance, or romantic suspense stories. With a cast of over 30 characters, The Templeton Cove stories are a romantic, sexy and compelling series that has her readers constantly coming back for more.
Her four historical novels are published by eKensington and set in Bath, England.
Her upcoming projects include a new Edwardian series and a contemporary trilogy. Watch this space!
Rachel lives in Wiltshire, in a small market town near the famous Georgian City of Bath, with her husband, family and their beloved chocolate Labrador, Tyler.
When she isn’t working, Rachel likes to read, knit, watch TV and walk the English countryside, often stopping off at a country pub for lunch and a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
Keep up with all the latest news on Rachel’s website
Follow Rachel on Twitter
Connect with Rachel on Facebook
As my contribution to this extensive Blog Tour, Vicky and Rachel have asked me to share these powerful and engaging, opening lines with you all!
City of Bath – January 1910
Elizabeth Pennington turned off the final light in the ladies’ department of Pennington’s Department Store and wandered through the semi-darkness to the window. She stared at Bath’s premier shopping street below. Christmas had passed three weeks before, and all the excitement and possibilities of the New Year beckoned.
Even the year held the ring of a new beginning. A new start for something bigger and better. Yet, how could she revel in any possible excitement when her plans to advance her position within the store were still halted by her father? She crossed her arms as, once again, her frustration mounted. Would this be yet another year where she remained static? Her father holding her caged and controlled?
As the only child born to Edward and Helena Pennington, Elizabeth had been a happy child under her mother’s care, home-schooled by a governess, before being launched into society. Yet, the balls and teas, at home visits and theatre, had soon grown tiresome and she had longed to accompany her father on his days at work.
Edward Pennington, amused by his daughter’s emerging passion for all things retail, had consented to her coming along whenever possible, teaching her the basics of merchandising and marketing, allowing her to serve as a shop girl.
A role that had satisfied Elizabeth for a while…
Until, in 1906, her father had opened the largest department store fashionable Edwardian Bath had ever seen. From the moment she’d stepped into its sparkling, breath-taking foyer, Elizabeth would not be shaken from working as the head of the new ladies’ department.
Having finally won her father’s agreement two years ago, she’d launched herself into the role with determination and commitment, proving her worth through steadily increasing sales, footfall and morale amongst her staff.
Now, she wanted more… deserved more.
Elizabeth breathed in deeply as she stared at the hatted men and women who streamed back and forth on the busy street; the trams slowing to pick up or allow passengers to disembark. How many of these women had she dressed and accessorised? How many had she helped to spend their father’s or husband’s money? Did they, too, long to stand tall and proud and spend their own earnings, from their own success?
Although Bath was still only a small-scale industrial city, it was identified by its social elite. A city that was a bustling oasis of the firmly established upper class, but also a newly emerging middle class. It was these people that Elizabeth grew more and more determined to entice through Pennington’s doors, thus demolishing its reputation of being a place where only the moneyed belonged.
She turned from the window. Twenty-four years old and still she had nothing to call her own, nothing to hold onto as evidence of her enthusiasm, vision and skill. If her father’s belief stood that women had no true place in business, why introduce her to retail’s excitement and possibility? Why pretend she was even needed at Pennington’s?
The entire country hummed with the underlying fever of women’s progression. The right to vote was on the minds and lips of the majority of women who frequented the store, teashops and boutiques. How could her father continue to ignore such impassioned determination? Women were finally making a stand and, sooner or later, Edward Pennington would have to admit defeat or risk losing the very gender that made up the bigger ratio of his profits.
Time and again, Elizabeth suspected his employment of her had been nothing more than a way to control her wilfulness. A calculated plan, allowing him to witness her predicted failure in order to be proved correct in his view that women were little more than vessels in which to bear children.
Tears of frustration pricked her eyes and Elizabeth swiped at the them as she strode from the department and into the main corridor, battling the debilitating fear that her father’s treatment of her might one day force her to take her life… as it had her mother.
Helena Pennington had once been a beautiful, intelligent and gregarious socialite. A woman wanted by men and emulated by women. Her deep red hair and startling green eyes were revered throughout her social circles. The way Helena raised her only child, teaching Elizabeth about compassion, love and empathy, as well as enjoying her daughter’s happiness to work beside her father, had been something admired, rather than frowned upon.
But as close as Elizabeth had thought she and her mother were, Helena hadn’t the strength to fight her husband’s continuous disparagement, verbal torment and disdain.
Not even for her only child.
For a long time, Elizabeth had struggled to forgive her mother for leaving her alone with Edward but, four years on, she understood her mother’s desperation and had entirely acquitted her. After all, her mother’s death had given Elizabeth the resentment and passion needed to fight every inch of her father’s dominance.
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