A Rebel at Pennington’s by Rachel Brimble

A Rebel at Pennington’s by Rachel Brimble

Rachell Brimble comes to the blog today with a story set in early 20th century Bath. Please read on for my review of

A Rebel at Pennington’s

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 favor 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.

A Rebel at Pennington’s by Rachel Brimble

Title: A Rebel at Pennington's
Author: Rachel Brimble
Genre: Historic Woman's Fiction, Pre World War 1, Romantic Elements, Setting: Britain
Published by: Aria
ISBN: 9781788546515
Published on: 5 February, 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Rated: three-stars
Heat: One FlameOne FlameHalf a Flame

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One woman's journey to find herself and help secure the vote. Perfect for the fans of the TV series Mr Selfridge and The Paradise.

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 their mutual understanding of life's challenges unites them and they are drawn to the possibility of a life of love that neither thought existed.
With the Coronation of King-Emperor George V looming, the atmosphere in Bath is building to fever pitch, as is the suffragists' determination to secure the vote.

Will Esther's rebellious nature lead her to ruin or can they overcome their pasts and look to build a future together?

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.


About Rachel Brimble

Rachel Brimble lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. Since 2013, she has had five books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and three Victorian romances by eKensington/Lyrical.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!


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