Genre: Historical Fiction | Release Date: 27 January 2022 | Standalone | Pages: 399 | Publisher: Vintage Publishing | Review
When I began Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman, I didn’t know I was about to find a new author to love! But that’s exactly what has happened, because this historical fiction is staggeringly good…
Dora is living with her uncle in London, in what used to be her parents’ antiquities shop. She dreams of becoming a designer of jewellery, but it’s almost unheard of for a woman to set up her own establishment in 1799. When a Greek vase is delivered to the shop, Dora begins to suspect her uncle is up to no good… He’s become even more secretive, and is planning drastic action which would see Dora left without any trace of her parents’ legacy. To find the answers and stop her uncle, Dora befriends Edward Lawrence, a book binder who wants to be a full-time antiquarian scholar. But can they figure out what makes this vase so special? Will they be able to stop Dora’s uncle in time? And is there any truth to the legend which speaks of Pandora’s Box and a curse just waiting to be unleashed?
This stunning historical fiction is a superb mixture of both Greek mythology and the realities of London life during the Georgian era. Pandora has convinced me that the world of antiquities must be a fascinating place, full of untold stories… And I certainly hadn’t expected to think that way! But who knew so much could be gleaned from examining a vase? And with a lurking, oppressive danger making its presence felt… Well, that’s like adding a cherry on top of a delicious cupcake!
Susan has mastered how to describe the world, so that the reader is completely engulfed in images and feelings. It’s not always pleasant, I’ll grant you! The sentence ‘Creed Lane teems like maggots in an open sore’, springs to mind. But that’s exactly why I love Pandora so much. We’re not just told what to feel, or how to feel. Instead, this historical fiction throws us into the deep end and tells us to swim. And yes, that’s a happiness boost!
I love the characters within this book. Obviously, there’s the eager young MCs who want to better their lives… But there’s also the downtrodden, the ‘money-grubbers’ and an overbearing patron who completely lit up the pages. Can we talk about Lady Latimer? I have a feeling this indomitable lady is a kindred spirit for Rachel Lynde (Anne of Green Gables: L. M. Montgomery). She barrels through the story, ensuring everyone is caught up in her whirlwind. And I didn’t mind a bit, because she made me smile every time I came across her!
There is no downside for this gem. I have loved every second of it.
Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman is a truly immersive historical fiction, for anyone intrigued by Greek mythology. I’d ask for a sequel just because it’s so well written, but Susan has ended this so satisfyingly! I really think this is a gem of a book; you can bet I’ll be following Susan on social media to make sure I never miss any future book releases! Love what you’ve heard from my review? Click on any of the links below to get your own copy of this tale! Happy reading, glitterbugs!
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