Shell Smith is a popular, larger than life make-up artist working in the beauty department at Duke & Sons, a beautiful but old-fashioned family-owned department store in her home city. While business is booming on Shell’s counter, the rest of the store is threatened with closure unless their Christmas sales take a dramatic upswing. Old Mr Duke’s grandson, Callum, has come up with a creative way to get some extra income: unbeknownst to Mr Duke Sr, a production company is using the photogenic store as a location for its next big Christmas romcom, filming at night while the store is closed. When Shell is let in on the secret, she discovers there might be more to Mr Duke Jr than sharp suits – but when her old crush Nick moves back home, life starts to mimic the romcom’s storyline. With Christmas Eve just around the corner, Shell will find herself in a race against time to save her job, save the department store and save herself from heartbreak.
This is a charming festive read, with a touch of old-fashionedness about it, which is meant as a compliment. The nostalgic element comes from it being set in a department store, most of which are making their valiant last stand their days. Also, there’s decency and loyalty, on the whole, which are good old fashioned values so sadly lacking in modern (political) life.
The characters are fascinating, especially our heroine, but eveyone has a slightly eccentric role to play in keeping us entertained.
There’s lots to chuckle at, and it’s certainly a seasonal tale, so a super read in the run-up to Christmas.
Kindle edition £2.99