Book Review – Pandora

Title: Pandora

Author: Susan Stokes – Chapman

Genre: Historical Fiction/ Fantasy/ Retellings

Goodreads Rating: 4.21

My Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Source: ARC


A pure pleasure of a novel set in Georgian London, where the discovery of a mysterious ancient Greek vase sets in motion conspiracies, revelations and romance.

Perfect for readers who loved The Binding and The Essex Serpent.

London, 1799. Dora Blake is an aspiring jewellery artist who lives with her uncle in what used to be her parents’ famed shop of antiquities. When a mysterious Greek vase is delivered, Dora is intrigued by her uncle’s suspicious behaviour and enlists the help of Edward Lawrence, a young antiquarian scholar. Edward sees the ancient vase as key to unlocking his academic future. Dora sees it as a chance to restore the shop to its former glory, and to escape her nefarious uncle.

But what Edward discovers about the vase has Dora questioning everything she has believed about her life, her family, and the world as she knows it. As Dora uncovers the truth she starts to realise that some mysteries are buried, and some doors are locked, for a reason.

Gorgeously atmospheric and deliciously page-turning, Pandora is a story of secrets and deception, love and fulfilment, fate and hope.

My Review:

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Random House UK for approving me for an ARC of this book. I ended up buddy reading this one with one of my book club friends and I think it is safe to say that we both loved it! This is going to be one of those books that I struggle to review. This was so good that I don’t feel any words I use will do it justice, but I’ll try my best.

Set in Georgian London we follow the story of Dora, aka Pandora, a young twenty one year old who is desperate to get out from the grips of her diabolical uncle. She has a plan and she is hoping that using the old connections her parents had will help her. She wants to design and sell her own jewellery to the ladies of London and whilst I could not see these designs the descriptions were sublime.

Sadly Dora’s parents were killed in an archaeological dig twelve years ago and since then she has been under the care of her uncle. Dora has had to watch her uncle take her parents antiquity shop and destroy what was once a thriving business. To top it off her uncle has a housemaid, Lottie, who clearly doesn’t like Dora at all. But Dora isn’t lonely. She has her lovely pet magpie Hermes whose intuition proves to be more than useful in the story. I was rooting for Dora to succeed and loved her bravery and determination. She was ladylike but also knew her own mind and wasn’t afraid to speak up.

Edward and Cornelius were a funny pair and I didn’t trust either of them. Once I learnt of their plan with Dora and the vase my concerns only grew. I didn’t want to see Dora suffer anymore heartbreak than she already had and hoped that Edward in particular would have a change of heart. Strangely enough my favourite character ended up being Lottie. What started off as a mutual dislike for each other soon turned into a budding friendship and I admired Lottie for the help she gave Dora.

This story is oozing in history and mythology without being too heavy. It’s dark, twisted and will certainly have you on the edge of your seat! I was invested in Dora and her story, desperate to know more about the vase and it’s history. It was full of mystery and emotion, definitely one to add to your TBR!

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