Cover Image: Pandora

Pandora

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Member Reviews

“How much easier it is for those with money to achieve what those without it cannot.”

London, 1799. Dora Blake, an aspiring jewelry artist, lives with her uncle atop her late parents’ once-famed shop of antiquities. After a mysterious Greek vase is delivered, her uncle begins to act suspiciously, keeping the vase locked in the store’s basement, away from prying eyes—including Dora’s. Intrigued by her uncle’s peculiar behavior, Dora turns to young, ambitious antiquarian scholar Edward Lawrence who eagerly agrees to help. Edward believes the ancient vase is the key that will unlock his academic future; Dora sees it as a chance to establish her own name.

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 comes to understand that some doors are locked and some mysteries are buried for a reason.

First of all this cover is STUNNING! 🤩 I absolutely devoured this story! As soon as I saw that it was recommended by the author of The Apothecary (5 stars all the way) I knew I had to read it! Dora is such an amazing and strong character and I loved following along as she tried to unravel the mystery that her life had become. She is intuitive and strong and I was rooting for her throughout!

Thank you so much to Netgalley, Harper Perennial, and the author for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I totally loved this book. The story was easy to follow and I was never once bored. I loved the blend of greek mythology mixed with old London. This book was totally up my alley. Dora was an amazing character who had a stunning personality. I would love to be friends with her if I had the chance. The descriptions were so vivid that they just came to life in my imagination. So many small and intricate details that make this book worth it. I would recommend this to any greek mythology fan and historical fiction fan.

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Stokes-Chapman brought Georgian London to life in her debut novel. The mythical story caught my imagination but the plot had some slow points. I could have done with less of the uncle and it would have retained the same level of intrigue. Overall I would have liked a little more editing. The characters were unique and I especially loved Dora’s bravery and tenacity. If you like a slow burn historical mystery (like The Essex Serpent or The Miniaturist), you will enjoy the magic and myth found here.

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I’m a huge fan of Greek retelling and this cover plus description grabbed my attention instantly. If you like the mesh of Greek mythology and old London 1700s, this will be what you’re looking for. Maybe I needed a little more zest, or spice but this fell slightly flat for me. I did enjoy it and would recommend it for future friends but for me it wasn’t what I was looking for. Thank you for the opportunity to review this via netgalley.

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An interesting premise for a story! Greek mythology retellings have been sooo overdone lately, so it was quite refreshing to read something that's inspired by a myth, but set in a completely different historical context. Add in the mystery and suspicious characters and you have a strong formula for an engaging story.

The thing that lost my attention was the writing itself. The story definitely could have been condensed, the dialogue could have been tighter, the references could have been more seamless, and the narrative itself could have had more consistency.

So while I think the concept is a good one, the author's writing style just isn't for me, unfortunately.

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This is on me for not fully reading the description but I was ready for a lush Greek mythology retelling (a la Song of Achilles) when I picked this one up, and that's not what the story is, so I had a harder time getting into it. The story that is presented is fun enough it just wasn't what I wanted

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Enjoyed this historical mystery novel. Set in Georgian England the MC is Dora, the orphaned daughter of antiquities explores/seller whose devious uncle has taken over the business but not in a good way. Dora dreams of being a jewelry designer and breaking away from her unhappy life. When a mysterious vase is delivered she throws in her lot with Edward, another dreamer who wants to join the Antiquities Society. Together and sometimes at odds they attempt to uncover the mystery of the ancient vase.
I thought the writing was very nice, lots of great descriptions. The Georgian setting seems to take second fiddle to the characters, which was fine with me. All in all, a fun read. Highly reccomend.

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Thanks NetGalley!

I loved this! I was transfixed when i saw the cover, just look at it honestly isn’t it a piece of art?
I loved the story, it was definitely unique and it kept me interested throughout the book. The pacing was not that slow but could have been faster but that is a personal preference of course.
Overall it was and enjoyable read and i can recommend it to everyone who liked the cover.

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If you love greek mythology and historical fiction set in England (Georgian/Victorian England), this book is for you!

Set in London, 1799, our protagonist is Dora Blake, a budding jewelry artist who one day hopes to provide for herself and escape the clutches of her Uncle Hezekiah. When young, her parent's died on an archaeological dig. They left their antiquities shop to Dora's Uncle who then drove it into the ground replacing its wonderful authentic goods with cheap forged knock offs. One day however, a mysterious delivery arrives. An ornate, immaculate condition, Grecian vase. That her Uncle keeps hidden away in the basement instead of trying to sell. Dora enlist the help of Edward Lawrence, a young local book binder who is seeking acceptance into the Society of Antiquaries, to try and uncover the history and origin of the vase.

This book is filled with atmospheric vibes and mystery. I loved being transported back to Georgian England and watching Dora seek to understand her past, the vase and what her future will be. The Pandora myth is nicely interwoven in the fabric of the story: the name inspiration for our protagonist, the vase and the overarching question of how much of famous myths is rooted in historical true events.

The jewelry storyline was so fun. I loved that we got see Dora flourish in this realm, despite the reluctance and lack of faith of the local jeweller to commission, make and sell her pieces. It was a nice touch that her pet magpie, Hermes, stole "jewels" for her prototypes.

Can't wait to see what else Susan Stokes-Chapman writes next!

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This was such a surprising book. I didn't expect it to be so richly written and descriptive, and I was absolutely blown away by how wonderfully written it was. The story follows Dora, a young woman at the turn of the 19th century in London, whose parents owned a store that specialized in selling antiques or museum style objects. However, her parents died in an accident involving an archaeological dig to unearth some objects, and now Dora lives with her uncle who runs the store. The book seemed highly researched and interesting, and the history seemed very on point. In conjunction, the book was also highly enjoyable because the characters were realistic and relatable and the story was interesting. I highly recommend this book to anyone who already enjoys historical fiction, but wants something different.

This ebook was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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✨(eARC) Book Review✨

Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman

I’ve been pretty stuck on rom-coms as my fiction reads lately, but this was such a fun change of pace!

It’s 1799, and Pandora Blake is an orphan who’s been left in her uncle’s care. He’s taken over her parents’ antiquities shop, without caring to uphold their good name. Dora resides in the attic with her magpie, Hermes, where she sketches jewelry pieces in the hopes to establish her independence. The story unfolds after her uncle receives a large object of questionable origin in the shop, prompting Dora to break into the basement that’s been off limits to her since her parents’ death.

This book was a fantastic first read for 2023. I loved being transported to a different time—the descriptions painted a dreary picture of a past world. The formalities of a different time made the love story aspect all the more satisfying. Indeed, I think the biggest strength of this book is its world-building. It’s super immersive.

The tale also interweaves Greek myths into its story in such a smooth and unique way. To me, the connection to Pandora’s myth didn’t feel forced at all. It acts as a backdrop for interpreting the story along the way.

The characters were polished, and I enjoyed watching their stories unfold, even if I didn’t like them. Their motivations are clear and oftentimes conflicted. By the end, I couldn’t read fast enough (which is just one of the best reading experiences, isn’t it?). This book really has the perfect blend of drama, romance, deceit, and tragedy. I am so happy it was my first fiction read of this year! I highly recommend to all audiences. This one just hit the shelves too, so get your hands on a copy soon! I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

Big thanks to @netgalley and @harperperennial for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

📖: (5/5) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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I just reviewed Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman. #Pandora #NetGalley

Pandora is a historical fiction novel that I just couldn't quite get into, I tried to give it a chance but it just didn't grab me.

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In support of the HarperCollins Union strike, I am withholding my review of this book until the strike has been resolved.

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Just amazing! This book drew me in and made me fall in love with it right from the beginning and I just couldn't put it down.
Pandora is a fantastic historical novel with elements of mythology and mystery. It is richly atmospheric and beautifully written.
The Georgian London setting was vividly portrayed and very immersive.
The characters were well-developed, if not always the most likable, and I found myself deeply invested in the fate of Dora and Edward.
This was just a fascinating and wonderfully told story from beginning to end.

Thank you, Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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I received an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

Genre: historical, mystery, literary, mythology
Trigger warnings: mentions of neglect and abuse
Representation: LGBTQ

Dora Blake lives under the thumb of her uncle and his mistress in a miserable attic room, dreaming of becoming famous for making jewelry.

Edward is stuck in a job he doesn't like, barely subsisting, but has wealthy friends. More than anything he wants acceptance into the antiquities society to do what he loves.

Then an Ancient Greek base is delivered with the story of Pandora on it. Once it arrives, Dora (named Pandora) is intrigued with the mystery surrounding it. And starts drawing the scenes around it for inspiration.

But people are getting sick with injuries that don't heal.
Who does the vase belong to?
Can it be used for a study to gain admittance to the antiquities society?
And why does the uncle have this authentic antique and sell fakes?

There are so many mysteries and questions. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Happy reading,
Michelle

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This is a good example of greek mythology based mystery in Georgian England settings with a little romance on the side. Dora's investigation about a mysterious delivery along with ambitious Edward turns their lives upside down. I enjoyed the three POVs in this case and it maintained good pace and intrigue throughout which was perfect for an atmospheric mystery. Overall, a fascinating read in fascinating setting!

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""Better we women have the upper hand in matters of the heart, don't you think?"

Pandora follows the story of Pandora Blake who lives with her uncle above the antiquities shop called Blake's Emporium. Dora's uncle, Hezekiah, inherited the shop from Dora's parents after their deaths at a Greek dig site and has driven the formerly well respected shop into the ground with forgeries and fakes. Dora is shocked when an ancient pithos makes its way to the shop. After Edward Lawrence is guided to Dora by a mysterious bearded man, they begin working together to figure out exactly where the pithos came from and how deep her uncle's crimes go.

While I did enjoy Pandora, I found that it took me quite a while to get through the book. I found that I enjoyed the mystery of the plot, the development of the characters, and the writing. I just don't think this particular brand of historical fiction is for me.

I did enjoy that Dora was a strong female trying to break out on her own. Her struggles with honoring the legacy of her parents while knowing she had to leave their shop behind to truly be independent felt relatable. She had her moments where her youth showed through, particularly in her grudge towards Edward. I felt like these emotions could have been explained in more detail as I, personally, did not see why it was such a big deal if Edward was keeping names out of the paper.

I also enjoyed Cornelius's character arc throughout the story. It was great to have an LGBTQ+ character in a historical fiction novel and have the main character accept this person for who they are. The talk felt like a defining moment for both Cornelius and Dora.

It will be interesting to see if Susan Stokes-Chapman chooses to write a sequel to this book. We don't know what happens to the pithos at the end of the story, so it seems as if some more chaos is ready to ensue!

3/5 stars from me.

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Some of my favorite things combined into one tale: mythology, antiques and historical fiction.

The title was the first thing that caught my eye, in addition to the beautiful cover. I am one to always get excited when mythology is involved, especially Greek mythology. There have been so many different retellings and this one turns it from being a direct retelling of the myth of Pandora by infusing aspects into a new story.

As soon as you begin this book, you are transported to another time. I could so easily picture the antiquities store, hear the people on the street and even feel the dust on my fingers. It is a very immersive imagining of a story.

A lot of emotions were captured quite beautifully in this story. I tried to imagine myself at the age of the main character Dora in another world/in similar circumstances to her and find such a quality in her character. What is interesting is to get into the viewpoints of the different characters and see the world from their storyline to help uncover the truths about them and their inner thoughts/wants/turmoil and really deepen our likes or dislikes as readers. Although there can be a lot to try to imagine with multiple viewpoints, it really added to the development of each of the main three characters that we follow throughout.

There is a definite air of mystery throughout the book and one of my favorite aspects was her magpie Hermes; it brings such a fun and bright aspect and relationship into the book. Very curious to see what Stokes-Chapman comes out with next!

Thank you so much to the author, Susan Stokes-Chapman, Harper Perennial and NetGalley for this eARC of Pandora!

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Thank you NetGalley and publisher for the ARC of this book. This book is a solid 3.5 stars for me but will round to a 4.

I will say I didn’t know much about Pandora before I read this so I’m not sure how historically accurate this was but from what I know, this is a loose interpretation of the story of pandora. It is full of mystery and whimsy but will also make you feel so many emotions for Pandora. The story started very slow for me. The pacing seemed off because towards the end everything came out all at once.

I didn’t love the romantic connection with Pandora and Edward, but to be fair this is not supposed to be about their romance, and moreso a heartwarming story of Pandora and her evolution into freedom.

Overall I enjoyed this book and I think it would be good for fans of Circe due to the story’s focus on women empowerment.

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[arc review]
Thank you to Harper Perennial for providing an arc in exchange for an honest review.
Pandora releases January 17, 2023

Set in London in the late 1700’s, this is a historical Greek myth/retelling told through 3 pov’s and split into 3 parts.

The cover is absolutely beautiful, but unfortunately I found this story to be incredibly lackluster and the pacing was just so off. The beginning is slow going just to figure out how many character perspectives there are since it isn’t outwardly stated when the chapters alternate.
The romance in here felt really unnatural and I honestly don’t think it was needed to propel the story.

The idea of an orphaned girl named Dora (short for Pandora), who is an aspiring jeweller living above her late parents antiquities store with a companion in the form of a magpie bird was fascinating. Paired with a Grecian vase that predates history and has potential to be <i>the</i> Pandora’s Box?!
The potential was there but the execution fell flat.
I was hoping so badly for some additional intrigue, or perhaps a heist while the vase was being used as a display piece at the annual soiree — truly a missed opportunity there.
I also thought that the initial whispering was cool but paired with the dragged out gore from the Coombe brothers and Hezekiah, that supernatural-esque red herring didn’t really lead anywhere satisfying.

Had Dora’s age not been mentioned of her being 21, I honestly would have thought that she was a young teen because the maturity was just not there.
I also really couldn’t get a sense for the historical setting other than the constant stink of the city from the lack of a sewage system.

There was a big revolving door of characters who I felt had great bones, but were never really developed enough — not to mention, the way the closeted gay character was portrayed felt icky.

This honestly felt to me like the first half of a grander story, of which the readers weren’t given.
Even the ending was blasé and left me with a feeling of wanting more — like I got a peek and then the thread was ripped away from me.

Very anticlimactic for someone seeking out a fortune for 12 years.
I had to stop myself from rolling my eyes at how dubious the reveal of the man in the coffee shop was.

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