June 2015, Egmont, 336 pages, Ebook, Review copy from NetGalley
Summary from Egmont
You are cordially invited to attend the Grand Opening of Sinclair’s department store!
Enter a world of bonbons, hats, perfumes and MYSTERIES around every corner. WONDER at the daring theft of the priceless CLOCKWORK SPARROW! TREMBLE as the most DASTARDLY criminals in London enact their wicked plans! GASP as our bold heroines, Miss Sophie Taylor and Miss Lilian Rose, CRACK CODES, DEVOUR ICED BUNS and vow to bring the villians to justice…
Lately I seem to be reading a fair few books with a historical setting. To be fair I was intrigued as to how Sophie got the job in such a prestigious store. I thought it was based on Selfridges – which it is but it's also based on other large and famous stores in London like Harrods and Fortnum and Masons. I haven't seen the BBC TV series Mr Selfridge which I believe focused on when the store first opened because there was a lot of romance, so I was overjoyed when I spotted this on NetGalley because it sounded a romance free read, and it is.
I love Sophie's perseverance in her job despite being the scapegoat among her peers, and in the sights for an unpleasant young lady who wants to look good and do as little real work as possible. I love how her kindness tangles her up in the lives of those who she'll end up needing to help her out of a tricky situation. There's little worse than being accused of murder! I was horrified as events unfolded and no one in authority believed her. Thankfully her friends did, and they didn't give up until they proved her innocence.
Both Sophie and her friends took huge risks to both their lives and their jobs to help find out the truth. I loved Sophie's bravery, how she thinks on her feet and dives into situations which on reflection were too dangerous to think about, how she reveals what life was like for a young girl on her own without the support of a family – not that she ever was on her own. I liked learning about how big department stores worked in the past, the rivalries between departments and employees, the relationship between customers and employees, how extravagant everything was compared to those in poverty who were ignored by most, but not by Sophie.
I'm eager for book 2 where hopefully more about the Baron will be revealed! I was shocked enough by the revelations about his minions, and was glad to be wrong about who I thought was either the Baron or one of his main accomplices.