Cover Image: Pandora


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I was provided an ARC of this book via Netgalley, however I opted to listen to the final production version of the audiobook. This book was published in January 2023, so I'm a bit late with my review. As always all opinions expressed are my own.

This was a bit different that I expected. Many of the retellings I've been reading have been set in ancient times and told from the female perspective. Pandora is told from Dora Blake's perspective but it is set in London just as Napoleon is threatening to invade. I really like what the author did with the Pandora myth here by not setting it in ancient Greece, but using the original myth to inspire a completely new story with new characters in a different time period. The original myth is referred to often in the story so you can easily make

Dora as she is known, has grown up surrounded by antiquities, as her parents ran a shop filled with them and after their death's her uncle took over the shop and her care. When an ancient yet pristine vase show up at the shop, Dora can't help but be curious at the vase's origins and her uncle's strange behavior. She is also hoping that the vase might inspire her to sketch some new and interesting jewelry designs in the hopes of supporting herself and moving out from under her uncle's care. With the help of aspiring antiquarian Edward, Dora begins to uncover more information about the vase and with it information about her past that she was not expecting to find.

This was a fun retelling of the Pandora myth. I like the creativity that was used and the social commentary woven throughout. There was a good discussion regarding those with station (aka money) and those without. There was also good commentary regarding women like Dora and Lottie and their reliance on men to keep them fed and housed as there weren't many options for women's employment at the time. While I am of the mindset that artifacts should be returned to the countries of their origin, the book is accurate that black market trade and shops like the Blake's did exist for the sale of antiquities to be used as decoration for anyone with the means to purchase them. I also liked that Pandora struggled between the so called cursed vase causing all of the bad things happening around them and their being a completely logic explanation for every event.

I think this book would be perfect for fans of Stalking Jack the Ripper and Anatomy: A Love Story. There is a bit of mystery, a bit of romance, some historical fiction, a hint of magic, and it is perfect for readers of all ages.

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“Zeus had Hephaestus create the first human female and gave her all the womanly wiles that many believe are the cause of man’s downfall. The first female was named Pandora.”

Pandora “Dora” Blake is left orphaned after her parents who specialized in antiquities are killed on a tragic excavation. Dora is saved but grows up as a ward of her unscrupulous uncle who inherits the family antique shop. Dealing in forgeries has damaged the once elite reputation of the shop and Dora wants to restore her family honor and become a jewelry designer. One day a mysterious Grecian vase is delivered to the shop and her uncle begins acting paranoid and even more greedy. Dora seeks the assistance of a young antiquitarian to ascertain if the vase is genuine and what truths it may reveal about her past.

I love that this book took a Greek myth and set it in London, 1799. Others have described this book as atmospheric, I wouldn’t quite go that far but it does have a strong sense of time and place. The details about the antiquities trade and the dark underside of the black market trade were very interesting and really made this a fun historical novel. I do think it was a bit slow and repetitive at times, I wanted it to read a bit more like a thriller because all the elements were there. Overall this was a great debut and I look forward to future books by this author.

I would like to thank NetGalley, Harper Perennial, and the author for an advanced copy. All opinions are my own.

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I love retellings. I love very loose retellings too. This is not one, and I think people going into it expecting a retelling of the Pandora myth will be disappointed. The myth is part of 'Pandora' by Susan Stokes-Chapman, but it's a vessel for the story surrounding it.
It's an anjoyable story, too. 'Pandora' follows the titular character in 1799 England, whose parents were trying to unearth the real story behind Pandora's myth and loved it so much they named their daughter after it. After her parents death, Dora lives with her uncle, whom she loathes for understandable reasons. She is mostly busy designing jewelry based on trinkets her pet magpie brings her while her uncle keeps ruining the reputation of her late antiquarian parents and their antiquities shop, which he runs into the ground by mostly selling forgeries. Until a mysterious Greek vase arrives that might or might not be cursed.

The story is an exciting one, with our protagonists - Dora and Edward, an aspiring antiquarian himself - trying to figure out the secrets of this vase, the story behind it, and why Dora's uncle is so obsessed with it. The writing is solid, too, though it sometimes comes off as a little detached. Which is probably why I never really connected with the characters. They're not very complex, but they're enjoyable at least. There is a romance brewing between them that I didn't care at all about, mostly because it's very instalovey (which I simply don't enjoy) but also because Edward turns into the kind of guy that can't really differentiate between protection and control. I guess I would have found it more interesting if Stokes-Chapman chose to pursue the much more complex relationship between him and his best friend and mentor, Cornelius, who is very unsubtly in love with him. Mostly, though, I would have preferred Dora to not be attached to a romance - her whole character arc is about findind herself and her independence. She doesn't need no man, especially with the supporting women she finds throughout the book.
The villain, Dora's Uncle Hezekiah, is just barely a character at all. He's cartoonishly evil, and when I read about his plans for Dora should he succeed in his plans I rolled my eyes. He exists purely to be stupidly evil and there is nothing else to him, making him a very weak antagonist.

So in conclusion, this is a well-written story inspired by an intriguing myth that succeeds in using its potential in a unique way. There are some pacing issues - the book is rather slow in parts - and the characters aren't the most vivid, the villain is a snorefest and the romance meh at best. But it's a solid 3 for what it is, and I recommend it even to those who expected a retelling.

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Pandora is the story of an aspiring jewelry artist and the daughter of collectors of antiquity in Georgian London. Pandora, who has been living with her uncle in her family's shop since the death of her parents, finds a previously unknown Grecian urn in the basement of the shop. She later meets a handsome antiquarian scholar who agrees to help her investigate the mysterious artefact. While I initially thought this book was a retelling of the Pandora myth (it is most definitely not), I loved the setup of this book with a focus on jewelry and antiquities in an interesting time period and was excited to read it!

Despite the cool setup, I thought this book was just okay. I really think that it had the makings to be incredible, but the plot and characters were a little too run of the mill for me to be very invested. I liked it just fine, though. The romance was cute, the characters likeable enough, and the setting great enough to pull the other factors up a bit. It was neat learning about jewelry designing and antiquities in the time period. I recently saw the cover in person and wow, it is beautiful!

Make sure that you go into this book with separate expectations to a regular Greek mythology retelling. I saw that this book was compared to the Song of Achilles on the marketing and, uh, no. It's much closer to the Miniaturist or the Essex Serpent, also from the marketing. Enjoy it for what it is, though!

Overall, I recommend you give this a try if you're super interested in the time period or like a good historical fiction. 3.75 stars from me rounded up to 4. Thank you to Harper Perennial and NetGalley for the electronic advanced reader's copy in exchange for my honest review!

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4/5 stars
Thank you Netgalley, Penguin Random house and Susan Stokes-Chapman for gifting me a copy of Pandora in return for my honest review.

Pandora is a wonderful story that combines Greek mythology while set in England during the Georgian time period. Dora and Edward really don't have much in common other then their love of antiques. As the book continues we see how they learn to trust and eventually fall in love with each other. Both have suffered greatly while they were children and have learned to become strong and independent adults.

I loved how history was blended with mystery to create a book with lots of twists and turns that kept you guessing the whole time. Some of the writing was a little blah to me but the plot and storytelling made up for it.

I enjoyed the characters except for Dora's Uncle Hezekiah. At times I felt like his evil villain character was more a cartoon evil villain with him being over the top evil. Murder, blackmail, stealing, he checks all the boxes. I get what the author was trying to do but it didn't work for me.

Overall it was a fun book to read that kept me entertain through out the entire book. Other then the uncle I enjoyed reading Pandora,

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3.25/5 stars! The gorgeous cover of this book is what drew me in. I adore Pandora's Box in mythology, so I was interested to read a book that took a new spin on a Grecian vase full of secrets in London. This is the type of story that you have to suspend disbelief and just go with the flow. If you can do that, you'll like this story. If not, it feels like the plot is obvious at times and some of the character's actions are unrealistic.

I received an advance review copy for free through NetGalley, and I am leaving this review voluntarily

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Thank you to Harper Perennial and NetGalley for the ARC of this novel. I was intrigued by the premise of the story being a retelling of the Pandora's Box myth while also not hitting the same beats. The historical content was fine for a while but then began to drag on. I also became frustrated with Edward and Dora as the novel went on for how blind they could be to what was happening around them and not trying harder to do something to change their circumstances. They did get their happy ending which was nice but I was not overly impressed.

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What an incredibly unique novel. I absolutely loved a glimpse at the trade of antiques, the rich history, the archaeology. It was all wonderful. It began a bit of a slow burn but eventually I couldn’t put it down. The character development was superb. I truly didn’t want to end but I needed to know how it ended! A magical mystery that I fell in love with.

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This book is great! Would definitely recommend. Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.

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Has a great premise, it doesn’t live up. Its potential. Characters feel lifeless and boring, and nothing of note happens.

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I really like the premise of this book, but I’m finding that the pacing is really slow and making it difficult to read. If I had more time to spend reading it, I might enjoy it more, but right now I’m bored with it because nothing’s really happening. And when things do happen, they’re not nearly as exciting as I would expect. I also don’t typically like books written in present tense, and I find the style distracting.

If you enjoy Greek mythology and retellings, you might enjoy this one, although it (for me) doesn’t live up to the other retelling’s I’ve read.

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I love the description in the book. I truly felt like I was taken away to England in 1799. The author has an incredible knack for scene setting

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Set in Victorian London, this is a captivating spin on the Pandora myth. When Pandora, who goes by Dora, was a child, her parents died in a dig accident. She since has been relegated to the care of her resentful uncle. Her uncle has taken over her father's antiquity shop and makes Dora feel as if she is living off of charity. He even has plans to leave her at a whorehouse after he uncovers where his brother and sister-in-law left the fortune that is meant to be Dora's. Eventually, after by chance crossing paths again with Lord Hamilton, the man who saved her from the dig her parents died at does she find out that it was a plot orchestrated by her uncle to keep the fortune for himself. In this, Dora had also made the acquaintance of Edward who had been helping her set everything to rights and to discover what truly happened. In a twist of fate, when her uncle thought he was going to get everything, he ended up causing his own demise and Dora was able to obtain her fortune and to pursue a relationship with Edward. It was an enjoyable tale with bits of Greek myths and legends wrapped into it. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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* I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley. Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for this book. All thoughts are my own.

Mythological retellings are always an interesting concept to me, but sometimes I just don’t end up feeling like I understood them. I am not familiar with most myths and this one was no different. I originally thought the description sounded interesting, but I found myself bored pretty early on. I felt like nothing was happening and there was no character development. I was well over halfway into the story before it really got interesting to me. A twist ending though!

I wouldn’t recommend unless you are a huge fan of mythological retellings.

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Fantastic imagery. Delightful characters. One amazing heroine who does it all. I thoroughly enjoyed everything about this book. From the classic Pandora tale, to the creative writing, and right down to the end - this book is beautiful from the outside in. Would highly recommend to anyone!

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A quirky historical fiction crossed with Greek mythology set in the 1700s but written in a manner where you could easily follow along with the language used. I think I was expecting a bit more action, it took awhile to pick up. But once it did I was hooked.

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Prepare to lift the lid on a lush reimagination of the mythological Pandora….Susan Stokes-Chapman’s atmospheric debut, PANDORA, immerses the reader in the dangerous, mysterious world of ancient antiquities with prose that is elegant and teeming with visceral sensory detail. A marvelous debut—imaginative, ambitious, and begging to be savored." — Sarah Penner, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Apothecary

Steeped in mystery and rich in imagination, an exhilarating historical novel set in Georgian London where the discovery of a mysterious ancient Greek vase sets in motion conspiracies, revelations, and romance.

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I went into this thinking it was going to be different than what it ended up being. I started it as an ARC and it took me a bit to get into….maybe because I went into it thinking Greek Mythology with visions of it being along the lines of Circe. It’s like I didn’t really pay attention when I read the summary.

Once I got my hands on the actually copy of it, things picked up and I got sucked in. Pandora or Dora Blake has been in the care of her dastardly uncle since her parents were killed on a dig site years earlier. He has taken over their antiquities shop and has all but run it into the ground. When a mysterious vase appears at the shop her uncle begins to act strangely. Knowing that her jewelry design dreams rely on her finding new inspiration she enlists the help of a young antiquarian named Edward so they can ultimately help each other reach their higher goals and be free to live their own lives. As the story progresses, Dora and Edward discover that there is much more to the the vase that meets the eye and lots of secrets are uncovered along the way.

This was sort of a mystery with Greek mythology references mixed in. You also get a little romance and a taste of London in 1799. Overall I ended up liking it much better than I thought I was going to from the start. I don’t think I gave it the focus it deserved when I first started reading it and isn’t the cover stunning?

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This one's on me for not reading the description. I thought I was getting a Greek Mythology retelling, what I got was slow moving historical fiction set in who knows when England.

The blurb tells me there are Greek mythology elements, but I haven't detected a single interesting thing about this book in the first ~40 pages, so going to call it.

Thanks NetGalley for the eARC.

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This story succeeds in many ways, including the details of the time period and the Greek myth. I loved how the author interwove into her story seamlessly! Well thought out story also, but the pacing felt just a bit funky. It went from slow to too fast! The romantic relationship, I feel needed a bit more development. But overall the story is unique and brings in so many elements: antiquities, the black market, the Pandora myth, jewelry making, class divides in Georgian England, and more. I look forward to reading more works by Susan Stokes-Chapman.

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