The Love Department by Ally Bunbury

Writing.ie | Book Reviews | General Fiction
The Love Department by Ally Bunbury

By Mairéad Hearne (Swirl and Thread)

The Love Department by Ally Bunbury

The Love Department by Ally Bunbury is published with Hachette Ireland and is described as ‘a heart-warming page-turner set at a glamorous department store during the countdown to Christmas’.

Immy Brooks and Lando Shillington have been the best of friends since childhood, and each other’s confidante when times get tough. But, on the night before Lando was due to fly to Paris for business, they crossed a line from friendship to passion, leaving a very uncomfortable gap in their relationship.

Lando is due to take charge at Shillington’s department store in Dublin but he is a reluctant heir to the throne. His mother Delia has been running the show for years, following the premature death of her husband. He died tragically within a year of their marriage, leaving Delia to pick up the pieces, with a new baby and a store to run. Delia has been respectful to her husband’s plans but that was over twenty years ago now and the shop has a faded and jaded feel.

Lando feels very ill-equipped for his new role, so he travels to Paris to gain experience at Le Marché Cher, the highly successful and luxurious department store, owned by his father’s old friend, Charles de Croix. De Croix is a stickler for perfection demanding a very high quality of service from all his staff. Le Marché Cher has a reputation for opulence and extravagance, where every single wish of a customer is granted. Lando sees the success that de Croix has made of his business and feels very inadequate in himself. Coming to Paris he hopes to learn from the master and develop his interpersonal skills and his confidence in driving business forward at Shillington’s, in order to secure a future for himself, his mother and all of their employees.

While in Paris he is aware that his interactions with Immy are few and very strained. He knows that they are in new territory and that their friendship has changed but has no clue how to fix it. De Croix’s daughter Celine is of a similar age to Lando and has learned the ropes from her Dad. She is a stunning young woman with that wonderful French je ne sais quoi in her style and ability to make things work. Celine and Lando are a beautiful couple and to anyone looking in from the outside they appear to be a perfect pairing. Could this be a marriage made in heaven? Could their relationship bring Lando all that he wants and more?

When de Croix decides to come back to Dublin to help Lando, Celine travels with them. De Croix’s plan is to help Lando and Delia transform Shillington’s and restore its reputation as a place where the desire of the customer is paramount, a place where the customer is treated with a service that can’t be found anywhere else in Dublin and beyond.

Immy is unsure of her place in this new arrangement as she has always suffered from imposter syndrome when surrounded by such wealth but life has an extraordinary way of leading us down unexplored and unexpected paths. Will Immy find her future at Shiilington’s? Can her friendship with Lando survive the Parisian influence?

The Love Department by Ally BunburyThe Love Department is a fun & festive read, pure escapism from the world that most of us inhabit. The world of the Shillington and de Croix families is extravagant and ostentatious. Bar Immy, all the characters are living life on a completely different level than most of us. But with all the money in the world, the basic issues of love, friendship, parenting, grief and loss, still have to be dealt with and experienced. The Love Department is an entertaining read, one that will appeal to all looking to immerse themselves into a light-hearted and feel-good tale.

(c) Mairéad Hearne (Swirl and Thread)

Order your copy online here.

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