The Romance Of A Shop

*Part of The Book Club*

This is my first attempt at a book review since probably year 5 where half that class picked Harry Potter.I can’t promise my reviews are going to be good, but hopefully I’ll get better, and hopefully you’ll find something new to read.

I’m hoping to do these evert two weeks/every month, depending on how much I read. I’ll be posting to the home page but keeping links to each review on the Book Reviews page.


The Romance Of A Shop by Amy Levy was published in 1888. Don’t be put off by it’s publishing date though! I personally am not a fan of a lot of older texts, I find they tend to follow a too strict traditional story line. However, whilst there are traditional elements Levy attempts to subvert a lot of expectations placed on women during this time. Having book1been part of the New Women era how could Levy not have joined the growing number of female writers who wanted to create change both within the literary and the real world.

In The Romance Of A Shop the Lorimer sisters find themselves facing a tough decision after the death of their father; take traditional safe routes that would see their futures secured but separated from one another, or take a chance setting up a photography business of their own. I’m not spoiling anything by saying they strike out on their own to start their business, and the novel follows how the women fair. The sisters are all different and face their own struggles, something Levy explores in an interesting and enjoyable manner. The differences of the sisters show that women from this era were not all desiring to be mothers and wives, and also acknowledges that there were women who wanted this and that there is nothing wrong with either.

I wrote an essay on this novel once upon a time, and through that found that women were employed as photography assistants, taking on less skilled roles. The Lorimer sisters break this convention, and through this Levy explores the possibilities for women, as well as the problems of going against traditions.

So, give this book a try in the year of the 100th anniversary of (some) women gaining the vote in the UK.


  1. […] (Big spoiler) Lily eventually overdoses on chloral hydrate, which she uses to help her sleep. The end Lily meets is made even more bitter by one of her suitors (the most genuine of them all) having arrived too late to propose to her. There are many academic essays that dissect the death of Lily, making the case both for suicide and accidental death. In addition, the tradition of female characters having only two conclusions to their stories – marriage or death – is present here, this can also be seen in The Romance of a Shop. […]


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