Good morning lovelies. I hope you’re all happy and well today! I’m delighted to be on the blog tour for A Shop Girl at Sea by the lovely Rachel Brimble; Book 4 in the Pennington series. I was so happy to be back with the staff of Pennington’s and this one is certainly a moving, but lovely story that bought tears to my eyes.
Amelia Wakefield loves working at Pennington’s, Bath’s finest department store. An escape from her traumatic past, it saved her life. So when Miss Pennington sets her a task to set sail on the Titanic and study the department stores of New York, she couldn’t be more excited – or determined!
Frustrated with his life at home, Samuel Murphy longs for a few weeks of freedom and adventure. Meeting Amelia on board the Titanic, Samuel can’t help wonder what painful history has made the beauty so reserved. But he already has too many responsibilities for love.
Ruby Taylor has always kept her Pennington co-workers at a distance. Making sure her little brother is safe has always been her priority. But when that means accepting Victoria Lark’s offer of sanctuary, more than one of Ruby’s secrets is under threat of being revealed…
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Amelia loves her job at Pennington’s and is over the moon when Miss Pennington sends her off on a mission on the Titanic, with Mr Weir, to check out American department stores. Having suffered a trauma in her past, Amelia puts her job at the forefront of everything she does and wants to make Miss Pennington proud. But she doesn’t expect to meet Samuel on the Titanic; a sailor with too many responsibilities at home who has set off on his own adventure. But when the inevitable happens, will they survive the sinking of the ship? And if so, will they finish what they’d set out to do or will the experience change their views and dreams forever?
Meanwhile, Ruby is back at Pennington’s and enjoying taking on more responsibility at work in Amelia’s absence. However, she has struggles at home, looking after her little brother and trying to keep him safe from their mother. In addition, there is gossip being spread around Pennington’s about her friendship with Mrs Lark, and when she offers a safe haven for Ruby, it only makes things worse. Will Ruby’s secrets, she’s been trying so hard to keep, unravel?
Tackling a historically important and tragic event such as the Titanic is never going to be an easy job; but Brimble is sensitive and covers the tragedy well. She takes into account the thoughts of those onboard, as well as the impact the sinking of the ship has on the world and those who lost someone. And it is so emotional. Being with Amelia, Mr Weir and Samuel when the ship hits the iceberg and the realisation that it’s going down, was enough to make me well up; let alone what followed…..
In terms of the characters, Amelia is a strong woman who has suffered her own traumas in the past. Still trying to overcome them, she is somewhat dismayed to start developing a friendship with, and feelings for, Samuel – something she hadn’t anticipated or wanted. At times she is quite standoffish (understandably) but is determined and set in her ways, wanting to do what she had promised. Samuel is a darling! An absolute gem, he just wants to escape the responsibilities that he had inherited and live a bit. He’s so thoughtful and caring (most of the time) and I adored him! Ruby is extremely standoffish, and I would imagine can come across particularly rude. Having made a point of not making many friends, other than Mrs Lark, she keeps herself to herself, but for valid reasons. I wasn’t sure about her at first, but it’s lovely to see her character grow – and with it Brimble covers another sensitive subject well.
Brimble does a fantastic job of setting the scenes so you can imagine the luxury of the Titanic, and the scenes as it’s going down. Maybe helped by the many Titanic films I’ve watched, it was very easy for this story to play out in my mind. Her description of Pennington’s and the American department stores, are also vivid and I could imagine the characters there.
Overall, this was a beautiful, heart wrenching story. I adore Brimble’s writing style and absolutely love being taken back to the early 20th century. A Shop Girl at Sea had me full of hope, sadness, despair, joy and excitement. Although Book 4 in the Pennington’s series, you can read this as a standalone, but if you’re a fan of historical fiction and romance, then I’d highly recommend checking out all the books in the series. And if you’re interested in the Titanic, then this is for you.
If you’re interested, I’ve previously read and reviewed A Rebel at Pennington’s (book 2). You can find the review here.
about the author
Rachel lives with her husband and their two daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. Since 2007, she has had several novels published by small US presses, eight books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical.
In January 2018, she signed a four-book deal with Aria Fiction for a new Edwardian series set in Bath’s finest department store. The first book, The Mistress of Pennington’s released July 2018.
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!
You can also check out Rachel’s Meet the Author interview with me, here.
tour hosted by
Massive thanks to Rachel for inviting me on to the tour, and to the author and publisher for providing me with a copy of the book in return for an honest review.
Hope you all have a wonderful day lovelies