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  • Daisy Simpson-Talmer

Sneak peek: 'The Finery' by Rachel Grosvenor

We're excited to share an exclusive excerpt from Rachel Grosvenor's The Finery with you! This debut fantasy novel sees an unlikely hero, the wry and grouchy centenarian Dr Wendowleen Cripcot, along with her carer wolf (aptly named 'Wolf') facing against the tyrannical 'Finery'...


They jostled up the front garden, treading the carefully planted golden flowers that followed the path into the dirt, and rapped their knuckles on the oak door in unison.

Wendowleen answered sleepily, chestnut broth in hand. The pair stared at the tall, plump woman and flashed their Finery badges.

“Wendowleen Cripcot?” they spoke in unison.

“Dr Cripcot to you.”

They glanced at each other. This is what their superior had meant. The young woman stepped forward slightly.

“Wendowleen Cripcot, we are from the Fi-”

“You bloody idiots! Look at my awatoprams!” Wendowleen pushed passed them to her golden flowers and knelt carefully beside them, gently pouring chestnut broth into the earth. “There, my dears, this may help a little.”

“Miss Cripcot – do you know who we are?” The man took over, red rising from his neck to his face. Wendowleen stood and turned slowly, the inch difference in their height suddenly becoming a tower.

“Did you just call me Miss? What did I tell you my name was?”

He stared into her eyes, watching their colour darken dramatically. She was a citizen, how dare she make him feel afraid! She was nothing compared to him.

“We are from the Finery.” He rose onto his tiptoes to try and gain a little height. “And we have come to talk to you about your spare bedroom.”

Wolf wandered out of the house and sat squarely in front of the door, staring at the uniformed woman. She glanced at him briefly. Wolves could sometimes be something to be wary of, but old peoples’ wolves were often nothing to worry about. This one looked tamer than a rabbit.

“Oh, get out of my way, you stupid boy.” Wendowleen batted the man out of her stride and moved slowly toward the front door. The woman stepped forward in front of her path and held her hands up in front of her.

“If you do not cease all activity immediately, we will be forced to arrest you.”

“Who is your superior?”

“That is none of your business!” The woman stamped her foot, much to Wendowleen’s joy.

“Do you know, young lady...there’s something so familiar about you.”

“No, there isn’t,” she responded quickly.

“There is. I know your face. Is your mother Roma?”

The pause told Wendowleen everything she needed to know. “Oh goodness, what a crying shame. She was such a bright woman – I taught her philosophy at university. All those years ago. Who’d have thought she’d have a child in the Finery?”

“My mother supports all of my decisions,” the woman sputtered, thrown by this turn in the conversation.

“No, dear, she doesn’t. Oh, such a shame. She did so well too.”


You can learn more about Wendowleen's dealings with the Finery on 25th August, 2023!

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