The Secret Shopper’s Revenge by Kate Harrison



New mum Emily wants revenge on the stick-thin assistants who laugh at her post-baby tummy and post-baby budget. But frumpiness has its advantages when you’re wielding a secret camera – and sending the damning footage straight to head office. Store manager Sandie has a lifelong love of the world of retail – the glitz, the glamour, the stockroom. Then she’s fitted up by an ambitious assistant and secret shopping is the only way to keep her one passion alive. Glamorous widow Grazia can’t leave behind the high life, despite her chronically low bank balance. The more she’s buying – and spying – the less time she has to mourn her husband or her fair-weather friends who’ve dumped her. They’re Charlie’s Shopping Angels, controlled by a mysterious figure who sends them assignments. But when they’re sent to stitch up a doomed shop owned by Will, the angels begin to feel divided loyalties . . .

What a great idea for a book! As someone who has worked in shops, I know all about secret shoppers, so to read a book following three of them was wonderful! The story follows Emily, with her gorgeous baby boy Freddie, who has been left by her husband Duncan, but who still tries to control and manipulate her; Sandie, who loved her job in retail until Marsha set out to destroy everything for her – including the loss of her job, her replacement job and flat; and Grazia, a widow with an artist husband who left no will but a mountain of debt. She faces the choice – how will she survive, sell the house or the paintings? All three embark on secret shopping, as Charlie’s Shopping Angels, where they meet the lovely Will…

Well I really enjoyed this book. All the angels were great, I liked all three of them and wanted the best for all of them. Of course, my favourite character was baby Freddie, he just seemed adorable, especially when he started walking and talking. I loved how friendships were formed and how plans were plotted to help each other. And I loved the ending. Predictible but fantastic 🙂 I even loathed some of the horrid characters, including Duncan and Marsha. I wanted karma to come and get them. For me, a sign of a good book is when I get involved with the characters and develop feelings for them – whether positive or negative, and that happened in this book.

I felt the idea of “Charlie and his Angels” – including how he chose to communicate with them – in disguise through a web-cam was a little cheesy, but that was my only complaint.

We see endless amounts of shopping, strength of character, friendships develop, secrets revealed, revenge taken and people falling into love. An all round great book – especially if you like shopping!



My Lady Judge by Cora Harrison

My Lady Judge

My Lady Judge

This is the first book by Cora Harrison that I have read, and I really enjoyed it. Here is the Amazon synopsis for My Lady Judge:

In the sixteenth century, as it is now, the Burren, on the western seaboard of Ireland, was a land of grey stone forts, fields of rich green grass and swirling mountain terraces. It was also home to an independent kingdom that lived peacefully by the ancient Brehon laws of their forebears. On the first eve of May, 1509, hundreds of people from the Burren climbed the gouged out limestone terraces of Mullaghmore Mountain to celebrate the great May Day festival, lighting a bonfire and singing and dancing through the night, then returning through the grey dawn to the safety of their homes. But one man did not come back down the steeply spiralling path. His body lay exposed to the ravens and wolves on the bare, lonely mountain for two nights …and no one spoke of him, or told what they had seen.And when Mara, a woman appointed by King Turlough Don O’Brien to be judge and lawgiver to the stony kingdom, came to investigate, she was met with a wall of silence …’An excellent historical novel with a most original leading character…A true Celtic feast.’ – P. C. Doherty.

This is a murder mystery set in Ireland in the Middle Ages. The main character is Mara, who is the judge of this kingdom. I loved her character. She had so many sides, the teacher, the mother, the judge and the woman. She could be deceptive when necessary, or just to get out of boring social meetings, which made me chuckle. She did have a conscience however. She was fair, calm and friendly. All the characters were well written and many I found an emotional connection too.

I liked the old-fashioned way of investigating the murder. There were several characters who could have been framed and way the murder was solved and reveled reminded me of the old murder mystery shows, with Mara talking to the king about how she worked it out. I guessed who the murder victim was but I did guess who the murderer was. I liked how there were two crimes that needed solving, and how we learned about the family ties and feuds that joined the community together. It was also interesting how Harrison compared English law to Irish law at the time.

I did have problems with the names. There were several long, hard to read names, but I just read over them and inserted my own version of the word.

Harrison’s description of Ireland in the Middle Ages was magical and I found myself transported back there. I will definitely be reading more in this Burren Series.