The House with the Golden Door
The instant Sunday Times Top 10 Bestseller
by Elodie Harper
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add firstname.lastname@example.org as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 12 May 2022 | Archive Date 12 May 2022
Head of Zeus, Apollo
Freed from Pompeii's brothel. Owned as a courtesan. Determined to have revenge. Her name is Amara. What will she risk for power?
Amara has escaped her life as a slave in Pompeii's most notorious brothel. She now has a house, fine clothes, servants – but all of these are gifts from her patron, hers for as long as she keeps her place in his affections.
As she adjusts to this new life, Amara is still haunted by her past. At night she dreams of the wolf den, and the women she left behind. By day, she is pursued by her former slavemaster. In order to be truly free, she will need to be as ruthless as he is.
Amara knows she can draw strength from Venus, the goddess of love. Yet falling in love herself may prove to be her downfall.
The House with the Golden Door is the stunning second novel in Elodie Harper's celebrated Wolf Den Trilogy, which reimagines the lives of women who have long been overlooked.
Praise for The House with the Golden Door:
'Beautiful, moving, captivating... A brilliant sequel to The Wolf Den' Jennifer Saint
'Vivid, unsentimental and compelling' The Times
'[A] gripping sequel... Harper's recreation of this ancient world continues to thrill' Observer
'Gripping and richly imagined, this is spellbinding storytelling' Louise O'Neill
'A spell-binding novel that brings Pompeii back to life and explores enslavement in all its forms' Anna Mazzola
'Absolutely stunning and utterly gripping!' Buki Papillon
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 166 members
A novel set in Pompeii in which Amara has escaped the brothel, yet is still haunted by the memory of the place. This was really enjoyable and I would recommend it highly, I could not put it down until I had finished. Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for giving me a copy of the book,
Elodie Harper captures the brutal, sparkling, ordinary everyday life in Ancient Rome, the raw enchantment that makes the ancient world so irresistible to us even thousands of years later, and practically gift-wraps it to us in this pleasure of a sequel.
It is a remarkable talent to not just be able to create a rare, genuinely authentic presentation of Ancient Pompeii, but also to be able to launch readers right but back into the heart of a protagonist’s tale many, many months after the first novel.
Harper’s language is vivid but modest. She speaks volumes without needing to say much, meaning any work for the imagination of the reader is effortless. Pompeii leaps off the page and into your mind, so quickly and fluidly you might as well be watching a film. Every single location is beautifully and tastefully evoked. I was particularly stuck by her description of the streets and people of Pompeii like fish in streams, so much so that I just can’t get the image out of my head. (The quotes acting as headings for each Chapter title are also, I must add, a very effective and perfectly chosen selection).
I’m a Classicist, and I work in academic Classics publishing. It is therefore a genuine relief, a breath of fresh air, when the ancient works is brought to life so authentically and respectfully. I had said this about Harper’s first novel and I will say it again - you can tell she has put the research in, and it has paid off. So many current retellings of the ancient world or ancient myth are just riding on the trend, with little understanding of the subject and therefore little quality to the writing. Harper’s respect for the culture she is depicting is paramount, and appreciated.
Thanks to all of the above, Harper crafts characters that you honestly root for and empathise with. Amara could absolutely, entirely have lived this life in Pompeii in 75AD. Philos represents a whole world of slaves that are often silenced in modern retellings. You really can’t help but love Britannica. And Pliny…Pliny is represented with such sensitivity and, again, respect, that I love Harper’s writing all the more.
Fundamentally, this was my most anticipated book of 2022, I inhaled it in hours, I’m desperate to read it again, and I can’t wait for Rome…!
Thank you so very, very much to Elodie Harper, NetGalley and Head of Zeus for this absolute privilege.
Often in the past, I haven't got on so well with sequels, even when I hugely enjoyed the first book - a lot of the momentum has faded for me by the time I read them. Not so with 'The House with the Golden Door'. I found myself instantly sucked back into ancient Pompeii and Amara's life, and I raced through the book. Unsurprisingly, author Elodie Harper has retained her talent for making history feel so present. The city of Pompeii feels utterly alive, and I could picture scenes vividly using Harper's quite sparing prose (no danger of purple prose here).
Amara is a fantastic main character. She's complex and at times makes questionable but completely understandable decisions. She has dark edges; she is a person sharpened by her need to survive. I felt for her so very much - and throughout the book, I could feel the sense of danger and fragility that must have permeated the lives of so many slaves in reality. Having recently read 'Ariadne', one of many recent Greek myth retellings, I can appreciate even more the enjoyment I've got out of Harper's two books; 'Ariadne' is no match when it comes to narrative drive and character strength. As an aside, apart from Amara, I LOVE Britannica. I was relieved and delighted that she was so prominent in the sequel.
My one criticism is that I was quite disappointed by the end of the book, which lacked the drama of the first book's ending. But I am eager to read the final book in the trilogy, and gutted that I have to wait for it!
(With thanks to Head of Zeus and NetGalley for this ebook in exchange for an honest review)
I was highly anticipating this book and it did not disappoint.
It’s hard to review this book without giving spoilers for the first book.
I nearly enjoyed it as much as the first. I did not guess the plot twists and turns. If you like the first book you’ll like this sequel.
Thanks to Apollo (Head of Zeus) and Elodie Harper for this eARC in exchange for an honest review.
This series has my heart. I adored The Wolf Den, so I’m not joking when I say this was probably my most anticipated release of all time. Thankfully, it did not disappoint. It was perhaps a bit slower paced than The Wolf Den – which is saying something, because that was also fairly slow – but I was so invested in the characters that, to me, it didn’t matter one iota. The research that Harper has put into this work is evident; the locations, real people and cultural, social and religious issues are all so brilliantly tackled. The level of DETAIL with which she includes elements from the Roman milieu circa AD 75 is astounding. I particularly loved the discussion about Martha (a Jewish slave)’s heritage and experiences as a free woman and then a slave under the Empire after the annexation of Judea. I have a personal interest in this period, so I am perhaps biased – I could read fiction set in the Roman world forever - but it is a particularly joyous experience to find a work so well-researched, sensitively – yet boldly – written, and so utterly captivating. This series will always have a special place in my heart, and I NEED book three NOW.
We return to Amara's story as she begins a new journey as a concubine. No longer a slave, she must adjust to her new status in society and all that comes with it. What I found fascinating about this story is how Amara is drawn back to her former master. It's such a complicated but interesting relationship that she has with Felix, and at times it is frustrating. Felix has his claws deeply in her, and Amara finds she must employ some of his own tactics against him in order to rid herself of his influence. Amara makes some pretty ruthless decisions to keep herself and those she loves safe. Her story remains a heartbreaking one to read. Her strength and determination to improve her situation make this book really enjoyable. She's a brilliant, complex character and I can't wait to read more of her story in book three.
Other Thoughts (Possible Spoilers Here)
- I like Philos as a character and how she finds comfort in him; I just wish we could have seen her mourning her relationship with Menander a little more before the rather sudden shift to her feelings for Philos.
- I also love the development of Britannica's character in this book. She became really likeable, and I found myself quite attached to her. Her broken language is really well done in terms of how it makes her fierce and endearing at the same time.
The House with the Golden Door is a second part of a trilogy. You can read here (https://focusread.blogspot.com/2021/04/the-wolf-den-by-elodie-harper-head-of.html about the first book - The Wolf Den.
Amara escapes the brothel, but she isn't free at all. She feels captured and lonely in a golden cage and wears a mask of lovely, delicate and naive concubine. It doesn’t matter that she outwitted the most violent pimp in Pompeii, or that she could move mountains with her rage. This is not what her lover wants to see, so she hides it all. She holds the master's attention, even manipulates him, because she knows that her look will last only a short period of time, lovers are just as bad, but a closet full of coin never made any woman cry. Freedom has already exacted a heavy price. She cannot give up everything, or she will have nothing left of herself.
As is a first book, this one is also extremely enchanting, wonderfully written with vivid characters, real figures from history (Pliny) and in an atmosphere of an ancient Pompeii in the shadow of forthcoming volcanic eruption.
And in the middle - powerful Amara - love, grief, friendship and everyday struggle (of slaves and freemen) to achieve better life.
Every chapter begins with graffiti or a quote from ancient Roman era as a reminder that human nature stays the same.
Elodie Harper is a great storyteller and I am looking forward to Amara's adventures in Rome.
this beautiful sequel to the wolf den has been long awaited! it’s actually a 4.5 star from me - rounded down. It was so amazing to revisit the characters and places from the first novel and to see the relationships between the characters change and mature (sometimes not in a good way but that’s life) was so precious. No spoilers but i definitely have a new couple that i will be shipping! It didn’t rip my heart out and have me feeling as emotional as the first one did - hence i rated that 5 stars and this 4.5 but it was nevertheless very good and essential to read if you enjoyed the wolf den.
While I didn’t enjoy this as much as book 1, I still sped through it- reading the last 50% in one go.
As soon as I was approved for this, I started reading it.
Amara is out of the Wolf Den but is sorely missing this sisterhood she had, and deeply grieving the death of her truest friend in book 1.
She is learning what it means to be a concubine and how this elevated her position in society, above that of her previous slave status and prostitute. We see her troubles adjusting to this, as well as trying to move on from her past.
However, Felix will not let her go that easily. And not only does she have to deal with her completely horrible and dispicable previous owner, she’s also got new challenges to face, including keeping her patrons interest, and a dangerous/forbidden love which could leave devastating consequences.
In this we see Amara just trying to navigate a new scenario and situation for her, as well as trying to improve on her current situation and help those she loves… even if it means destroying herself in the process. We see her make difficult decisions and great sacrifices. She also becomes more cold and calculating- but it’s the only route of survival she has to try and save everyone she loves.
In this we also get to see her bond more closely to Britannica and more about Britannica- which I really enjoyed. I loved seeing the development of this deeply loyal and ferocious fighter become a fantastic confidante and teacher to Amara.
I really enjoy Elodie Harpers writing- the way she shows the delicate and often stringent relationships of those in the wolf den, the new relationships between courtesans and the slaves in general.
I cannot wait for Book 3 where I really hope Felix dies.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing this E-Arc.
Having read and thoroughly enjoyed The Wolf Den I was delighted to hear that a sequel had been released.
While it doesn’t cause as many questions to be raised as it’s predecessor, this book still enthralls and you are invested in the story of the wolf pack and their lives in Roman Pompei
I loved the wolf den and so I had high hopes for this book and it didnt disappoint me. This book is so well written with well developed characters and a great storyline. I loved the setting in this book as well. I couldnt put this book down it was so gripping. Really well written.
If I hadn't fallen in love with this series when reading The Wolf Den I have now!
This sequel takes us right back into Amara's Pompeii after the events of the first book left us hanging. As a freedwoman, Amara learns that all is not as it seems as she continues to fight for her survival and that of those she cares about. Her precarious survival had me on edge the whole time as we learned along with Amara who she could really trust.
I love the way we get transported back to the sights and smells of Pompeii and my hatred of Felix still knows no bounds in this second book. Amara's fight to get away from her enslavement is compelling and the characters new and old she encounters on the way make for a breathtaking read.
Elodie Harper definitely knows how to tug at heartstrings and I felt every betrayal and glimmer of hope in The House With the Golden Door.
An amazing read and I can't wait until this book is published on the 12th May 🎉
I highly anticipated reading the second instalment of Elodie Harpers trilogy and it did not disappoint! From the first page I was once again drawn into the life of Amara as she battles to survive in Pompeii. The writing is excellent and I found it easy to visualise what I was reading. The story is full of twists and turns and I didn’t want it to end. I cannot wait for the third instalment and to see what other gems Elodie Harper releases after that!
Massive thanks to House of Zeus and NetGalley for allowing me access to this book.
#elodieharper #housewiththegoldendoor #houseofzeus #netgalley
Frankly, there aren’t enough words to describe my love for this book and Harper’s writing. I simply cannot get enough of it.
With the Wolf Den being such a fantastic book with interesting plot, I was nervous that this would not live up to the expectations the first book presented. However, there was never need for any doubt. The House With The Golden Door takes place after the events of The Wolf Den, with Amara now free.
Plot twists and heart wrenching moments litter this sequel in the best way, I couldn’t put it down!
Being back in this world was amazing, and the writing is just phenomenal.
Perfect for fans of Circe and Ariadne - a new modern classic, that’s for sure.
Just brilliant!! After reading and loving the first book, I was not let down by the sequel. So accurately written but also absorbing; it was hard to leave the characters behind! The historical immersion of Madeline Miller with the commercial sauce of Philippa Gregory.
I loved The Wolf Den and was delighted to receive an ARC of the sequel,thanks to the publisher and NetGalley.It definitely lived up to my expectations;it’s every bit as good as the first book.It continues the story of Amara ,devastated by the death of her dear friend Dido,but embracing her life as a freedwoman and concubine to her patron,Rufus.
However, she soon finds out that her new life is not as idyllic as she expected ,and that the problems she had with her previous owner, the brothel keeper Felix , have not gone away.She makes the decision to buy two of the women from the wolf den ,and this causes her great problems.Along with this is her love affair with Philos ,Rufus’s steward,which puts them both in a perilous situation.
The book is so well written and the characters so well developed ,that I really felt that I knew them by the end of the book.As before ,each chapter begins with an inscription or quotation from the time which really brings the past alive.I can’t wait for the next book and finding out what happens to Amara next.
This is an honest review based on my own opinions.
The House with the Golden Door by @elodielharper - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. Thank you so much to @headofzeus and @netgalley for my advanced copy!
The Wolf Den was the best book I read last month - one I’m still gushing about - so obviously I was excited to see an advanced review copy of the sequel was ready as I was finishing up as The Wolf Den is one of those books you won’t want to finish once you get to the final few pages (or minutes - the audiobook edition is brilliant!)
Scroll down a few posts to read that review in my grid, but what can I tell you about why you’ll also need to pre-order The House with the Golden Door? Well, without giving any spoilers away we’re staying with Amara as we explore a different side of Pompeii to life in The Wolf Den brothel. The writing is still stunning, the characters are still vivid and bold, and this plot, while not as addictive as the last, actually has higher stakes, more shocks and much more drama! Honestly, I’m gutted I’ve probably got at least a year to wait and see how it all ends…
The House with the Golden Door is out on May 12th - so grab a copy of The Wolf Den and get stuck in so you can be ready!
The Wolf Den was one of my favourite books of 2021 and I couldn’t wait to be transported back to Pompeii for Elodie Harper’s much anticipated sequel - it certainly didn’t disappoint!
Having escaped the brothel and the brutal hands of her pimp Felix, Amara is now a freedwoman. But will she ever be truly free? Her fate is determined by her patron Rufus. If he tires of her, her world will come crashing down. Will she outsmart him and sacrifice all that she has for true love?
Beautifully written, with such wonderfully detailed descriptions of Ancient Rome, the author has certainly done her homework.
I loved how every chapter started with a genuine quote or piece of graffiti from the era and cannot wait to head to Rome!
With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this amazing arc and please don’t keep us waiting too long for the final book in this trilogy!
The House with the Golden Door is the second part of the Wolf Den Trilogy. I really enjoy reading stories about Ancient history and culture and this book was a pleasant read.
The whole book gave me the perfect historical Pompeii vibe come to life. I felt like walking through the whole novel like I’m part of it, and couldn’t put down till the end.
I absolutely enjoyed reading a piece of classical story.
I loved this latest installation of Harper's Wolf Den series! I ended up finishing the last half of the book in one sitting and couldn't put it down.
Amara may think she's free, but she's still trapped in a gilded cage as she navigates life as a courtesan for a wealthy man. She must also contend with her former owner Felix and her past as a brothel slave and try to put that past behind her. I really enjoyed the historical aspects of this novel and learned a lot about the ways of life through Harper's writing.
Female friendships are still at the forefront and I loved that we see more of Brittanica and how her friendship with Amara progresses over the course of the novel. I like that we also traveled outside of Pompeii for a spell and met some other historical figures.
I didn't understand Amara's reasonings for withholding some information at the end of the book, but all in all I really enjoyed The House with the Golden Door and can't wait to let readers know about the continuation of Amara's story.
Harper gives those lost to history a voice, however heartbreaking their circumstances, and I am very excited for the last book in her trilogy.
To say I thoroughly enjoyed this book would be an understatement.
I was immediately transported back to familiar people and places and it was like getting together with an old friend
My only negative, I have to wait for book 3 to know what happens
Exciting, fresh, and downright brilliant. The sequel in The Wolf Den Trilogy provides an equally enthralling story that captivates you into its pages making it an addictive read with an onslaught of juicy and compelling chapters that kept me page turning constantly till I reached the very dramatic, striking end.
Amara has escaped The Wolf Den and is now no longer a slave to her former master Felix but that doesn't mean she still isn't haunted by her past. Amara now relies on her new Patron to carry on her new lifestyle but even with all his affections is he really the man Amara claims he is.
This book is absolutely amazing. I enjoyed it from the beginning - middle - and end. Elodie Harper paints such a beautiful and realistic imagine of Pompeii as we follow Amara through her second story. The characters are gorgeously fleshed out and we come to see different sides of people we thought we may have knew from the first novel.
I have my pre-order in at waterstones already for May 12th!
Thank you to Net galley for providing me with an early copy in return for a honest review and Thanks to Elodie Harper for creating such a magnificent read.
This book! I'm so GLAD it's just as good (if not better) than the first. I imagined there'd be fewer stakes, Amara's life less dangerous.... I was wrong and now I'm shook! Did I love these books? Yes. Did they literally break my heart and thow it on the ground? Also yes. It can be both. Would I recommend this series? Well I mean, do you enjoy being devasted, or....?
This is the second part of a trilogy set in Ancient Pompeii. It follows on immediately from the first where enslaved Amara has become a free woman, having been bought and granted her freedom by Pliny. In this part Amara is living as a concubine in a house rented for her by her lover Rufus.
Amara misses her best friend Dido enormously. Dido had died at the end of the first book. She realises quickly that her new freedom brings with it loneliness.
This book develops several of the characters from the earlier book and introduces some new characters. The characters are believable and all relevant to the story.
As with the first book, Elodie Harper has written a beautiful and realistic historical fiction. The sights, sounds,smells and tastes of the city are well captured. The story is structured round the many festivals of the Pompeii year which reflect Amara's changing fortunes.
I thoroughly enjoyed this next instalment of Amara's story and have already recommended to others but I would caution that the two parts should be read in order to fully appreciate the writing, although the author incorporates enough context to help a reader who has not read the first book.
My thanks to the publisher for providing an ARC of this title in return for an honest review.
Book Review (Donna) - The House with the Golden Door by Elodie Harper.
With thanks to @netgalley and @headofzeus for the arc.
This is the second in the Wolf Den trilogy - I read the first just before reading this - in an effort to avoid spoilers, I'm not going to go through a massive overview, but this trilogy focuses on Amara, a slave in an infamous brothel in Pompeii.
Guys, I cannot rate these two books high enough! I have a love of ancient civilisations and Elodie makes Pompeii come to life with this immersive and captivating read. Whilst the core story is fictional, it is tinged with realness - the environment, attitudes, and beliefs of the time have been well-researched and I love that the chapters started with quotes from actual graffiti found at Pompeii. It is also refreshing to see a book from the perspective of a female slave, with the gender and class imbalance explored well.
There is strong character development not just of Amara but the side characters as well (all hail Britannica, who I adored in this book!!). This includes the villains, who whilst absolutely awful, you understand what has shaped them into who they are.
I really liked Amara, though this book had me on edge with knots in the stomach over some the questionable decisions she made!!
We have hope, romance, desire, revenge, ambition, heartbreak - and a well-driven plot to boot. I cannot wait for the third book! These are a new favourite.
A brilliant follow up to The Wolf Den continuing to follow the life of Amara. Again it is the relationships that are at the forefront of this story and what make it a really enjoyable read. Even the difficult relationships and the unlikable characters are done so so well. I really enjoyed the development of Britannica in this second book and I really hope there is more to come in the saga of Amara's life.
This series is SO GOOD
I adore the backdrop
I am PumpED FOR THE NEXT INSTALMENT
Amazing sequel to The Wolf Den. I love learning about this period of history through these wonderful novels.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Thank you so much Union Square & Co for sending me a copy of The House With The Golden Door by Elodie Harper.
Wow. Wow. Wow.
This book had me in a chokehold, I simply could not put it down. (The only reason why this book was not read in one sitting was because I had to go to work)
We pick up almost immediately after the ending of The Wolf Den and Amara is struggling to contain control on Rufus. Freedom certainly isn't as easy she once hoped it would be. And while this book certainly isn't an uplifting novel, it is so gripping.
I was sending screaming messages to my book club as I was so nervous and anxious as this book went on! There were some moments of levity and Amara seemed so happy. I really wanted her to succeed but do we think that's going to happen?
I. Can. Not. Wait. For book three!
I enjoyed The Wolf Den so much that I was almost scared to read this in case it didn't live up to it. I needn't have feared. This is just as brilliant. The House with the Golden Door starts with Amara now a freedwoman. Of course she is not completely free. She is being kept by Rufus her sponsor to whom she is at first grateful and then as circumstances change, resentful though she has always to be careful to keep this hidden. Amara is a wonderfully complex character who has to make difficult choices not all of which work out for her. Other characters are well developed too, especially Britannica who really comes into her own in this sequel. Pompeii itself is almost a character here so well is it depicted. The sights, sounds and smells of ancient Rome are all there. The book is further enhanced by quotes from classical Roman texts at the beginning of each chapter which are extraordinarily well suited to what follows. I usually skim over such quotes but it's impossible to ignore these. I loved this book and can't wait for the next in the trilogy. I love books about ancient Rome and Greece and have read many set in this time. I think this series is my favourite (though Pat Barker has to come a very close second). Thanks to Head of Zeus and NetGalley for the ARC.
I kindly received an Arc of this book via netgalley.
The Wolf Den was in my top 5 books for 2021 so I was really looking forward to the sequel.
The House with the Golden Door picks up from the Wolf Den and follows our main character Amara. It was very different from book one as it was more about her struggle for independence. She has replaced the cage of the Wolf Den for a golden one.
I enjoyed the links to the old characters but I found certain things that happened predictable - I was eye rolling at one character in particular just knowing it wasn't going to end well.
I recommend reading this if you loved the first book but didn't quite enjoy it as much as the first. I will definitely be reading the next one though!
At the beginning of the year I read and loved The Wolf Den, and I'm so grateful to the publisher for giving me the chance to read its sequel. I had high hopes for it, and I enjoyed it just as much as the first book.
Even though Amara has been freed at the end of the first book, she is far from being completely free. She has left the brothel and has now a wealthy patron, but she has to depend on him for everything, and she has to face different challenges and dangers. The tension was always high and I kept turning the pages, wanting to see what would happen. The second half was especially gripping and I just couldn't put it down. The ending was very sad but it also made sense, and it made me even more excited for the conclusion.
Apart from the gripping storyline, what I most appreciated about the book was, once again, the main character Amara. Her incredible will to survive and to improve her circumstances is what drives the whole story, and, like in the first book, she becomes more ruthless and manipulative in order to do so. Sometimes I ddin't agree with her decisions, but I always understood her and sympathized with her.
I was also glad to see Britannica and Victoria again, although I wasn't happy with some things which happened between them and Amara.
I can't wait to finish Amara's story in the next book!
Amara has escaped her life as a slave in the town's most notorious brothel but it's out of the frying pan and in to the fire as her life now depends on her holding the affections of her patron. He's not quite the man she thought he was and her dreams are still plagued with memories of The Wolf Den and, more specifically, the women she left behind and the brutal man who owned and abused her.
In The House With The Golden Door, we return to Pompeii for the second installment of this brilliant trilogy, reimagining the lives of the women who history would have us forget.
I absolutely adored Amara in The Wolf Den but it was a really interesting turn to see how she handles life outside of the brothel and how she now needs to be ruthlessly cold and calculating, the very things she despised about her previous owner, Felix, in order to survive.
She has to make some great sacrifices and decisions and, while I didn't understand some of the decisions she made at the end, I'm really excited to get my hands on the last book to see how everything weaves together in the end!
(We also get to see a lot more of Brittanica in this book which I loved, she's such a fantastic character and has an amazing development!)
If you haven't already read The Wolf Den then please make sure to check it out! There's still plenty of time before the follow up is released in May 😍👌🏼
A massive thank you to @netgalley and @elodielharper for the chance to read this one early 💕
The house with the golden door
Sometimes sequels can be a bit of a disappointment, and as I loved the first book in this trilogy, The Wolf Den, so much, I was a little anxious about dipping into this one. I needn’t have worried though, because Elodie Harper has done an excellent job of developing Amara’s story as she moves from slave to courtesan in ancient Rome.
It very quickly becomes clear that although she has left behind her life in the brothel, Amara has merely swapped a sordid cage for a gilded one. She may have a fine house and the trappings of wealth, but they are all dependent on the whims of her petulant and fickle patron. Amara’s safety remains worryingly precarious and as the book progresses we see how the threats both to her happiness and the lives of herself and those she loves, multiply at an alarming rate.
Yet again Harper has brilliantly created a world in which we can really believe and she shines a light on the people who rarely receive much attention, on a world where most women are overlooked, slaves even more so, and then there are the prostitutes at the very bottom of the hierarchy.
I’m not sure there were any surprises in the book, it seems clear from quite early on that all will not be well, and Amara’s behaviour is sometimes a little hard to understand. However, the way we are shown new friendships forming, and the development of the characters both old and new are all really well handled.
I’m so glad that there’s going to be another episode in Amara’s story, and I’m excited about the action moving to Rome. I suspect it’s too much to hope for a completely happy ending, but I do hope that Amara finally gets her revenge on Felix.
With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free ARC in return for an honest review.
"The House with the Golden Door" isn't quite as good as the first part of the series, but still offers a great variety of female characters and intriguing relationship dynamics.
Amara's position is precarious and dependent on how well she manages to please her patron, and I liked seeing that she kept on hustling to make sure she and hers were safe.
The romance plot was my least favorite part of the novel because the romantic interest just didn't suit Amara all that well, at least in my opinion. The ending felt a little rushed, but I liked to see Amara set herself up in a position of greater influence in order to save her family. I'm intrigued to see how the story continues.
Amara has escaped from her life in a notorious Pompeii brothel but will things be any easier as a free woman?
Well it wouldn’t be much of a story if life was suddenly plain sailing for Amara and her friends and it definitely isn’t! The world of Pompeii is brilliantly recreated by the author and I was pulled right in back in. The detail around life in the city at the time with its festivals, customs, limitations and opportunities is just brilliant.
Amara is a great central character. Smart and tough but also fallible and human. I also enjoyed Britannica's development in this book as she becomes a bigger part of the story.
The quotes at the start of each chapter were a great touch. Always reminding us that although we’re separated by a couple of millennia we’re not that different from the citizens of Pompeii.
The ending was perhaps not as dramatic as the first book but I feel it has set it up nicely for the final part of the trilogy
Hugely enjoyed The Wolf Den and was so looking forward to this. It really did not disappoint. Now impatiently waiting for book three!
Thank you Head of Zeus and NetGalley for the e-ARC of The House with the Golden Door by Elodie Harper in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.
Having devoured The Wolf Den I was torn between hesitancy and desperation to read The House with the Golden Door; There is always that fear about the second book. However. I am so pleased to say that the fear was totally misplaced. Elodie Harper picks up the baton from the end of The Wolf Den with Amara settling into her new life as a freedwoman. As free as she can be, dependent on her patron, Rufus and subject to his timetable, whims and desires.
Amara continues to plough her course, not always making the best moves logically, often driven by her emotions, fears and experiences from the brothel. Amara’s character continues to be as complex and contrary as we saw in The Wolf Den, but her intentions remain well meant, if not the most advantageous at times.
Harper doesn’t deny us development of other characters, including Britannica, who really is a force. It was wonderful to read and see her development as she comes to the fore of the story. And other characters are illuminated to shape Amara’s circle and relationships.
The use of quotes from classical Roman texts at the beginning of each chapter are totally en pointe, not only in their relationship to the content of each chapter, but also their relevance to life now. There are so many that apply to current life, situations and relationships- I will definitely be keeping notes of them.
The House with the Golden Door may not have the punch in the guts that was The Wolf Den, but what it does have is the greater insight into the politics and complexities of Amara’s life as she transitions from slave to freedwoman, and all the new and not so new challenges it brings. This second book in the trilogy doesn’t fail to hit home and is certainly a series that will retain its strength and place in my bookish heart…even if I am now left waiting for Book 3!
Thank you to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. After devouring The Wolf Den, I was super excited to delve into the sequel early and it was every bit as brilliant as the first one!
You can expect an exciting plotline containing strong women pulling together in the face of adversity; secrets and betrayals; a juicy forbidden love affair; and some impossible choices as Amara realises her life as a freedwoman isn’t as free as she first thought. The characters are fantastically developed - I was rooting for all the girls and completely immersed in their complex relationships and different reactions to the trauma they have been through. There are twists and turns that make it absolutely gripping in places as well as taking you on a turbulent emotional journey.
As a piece of historical fiction, I found the dialogue and the writing style to be a bit contemporary and I couldn’t quite see them as real people who could have lived in the ancient Roman Empire. However, this didn’t detract from the brilliant storyline and I thought the excerpts of Pompeii graffiti were fun ways to start some of the chapters. This, along with the snippets of information you pick up along the way as the characters’ backstories are revealed, was a great insight into a time I haven’t read much about before.
This is out on 12th May and I strongly recommend a pre-order!
Beautiful and moving…. The House with the Golden Door is the second part of the Wolf Den Trilogy. I really enjoy reading stories about Ancient history and culture and this book was a pleasant read. Thoroughly enjoyed it and it was a lovely way to start the new week!
If you loved The Wolf Den, you'll love The House With The Golden Door. Elodie Harper brings back the fantastic character of Amara to follow her life after she leaves the brotherl.
Thanks to @headofzeus and @netgalley for gifting me this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
Some people will remember my light criticism regarding The Wolf's Den. I am an Italian art historian, I have studied much archaeology throughout my life, but I hadn't found some of the details I had wanted in the first book. Of course it had been an engrossing read and the story intriguing enough to keep me going. Plus Amara’s arc had been beautifully depicted. But I had found it lacking in some aspects and my 3 star rating had reflected that.
However, I wanted to further explore the story. And this time around, The House with the Golden Door gave me so much more than its predecessor.
It was an absolute gem. I loved reading about Amara’s new journey, her days, her ascent, her sparring moments with Felix whilst still managing a selfish patron and his insulting requests.
I loved reading about her political plans, all the different endeavours to ensure her future through a complex web of friendships and borderline relationships. Plinius was back and with him, many other beloved characters, such as Britannica. Oh Britannica. I loved her so much and I deeply felt for her losses.
The only things I found somewhat unnecessary were the romance and the drama revolving about Victoria. But the ending was utterly perfect. Bitter, realistic and like a punch in the face.
4 stars for this second instalment and Amalia's brave heart.
Now that she is headed to Rome, when’s book 3 coming out? *grins*
Thank you to Net Galley and the Publishers for sending me a copy in exchange for a review, this was one of my most anticipated reads and it did not disappoint.
Carrying on three months after the first book finished, this was equally as gripping and as engrossing as the previous. I love Amara, and all the characters are so well written that they feel 100% real. The way the author manages to make Pompeii and the ancient Roman culture come back to life is so well researched.
I can’t wait for the next book and I just want Amara to have a comfortable, happy life!
I read the NetGalley proof in two days, unable to put it down.
This is the second book in the Wolf Den series and it certainly makes for a fascinating sequel, branching out in new directions as Amara's life alters with her circumstances. Against the beautiful backdrop of Pompeii and chapters tipped with relevant quotes from the city's graffiti, from the moment I began reading I was submerged back into the story of Amara and wholly invested in how her life was playing out. The Found Family theme of the first book is echoed in this one as Amara gathers people around her that she trusts and cares for, building a little sanctuary for herself that as a reader you are constantly in a state of concern about given her patron's tempestuous nature.
Of all the returning characters that stood out for me, Drusilla and Victoria were my favourite, with Fabia tugging at my heartstrings. I enjoyed the character of Philos, he is well-written as a strong lead and more likeable than I first thought; Rufus is soundly characterised so that while he is not likeable he is certainly a strong antagonist, someone provided layers which a lesser writer would not have bothered adding, but as usual Elodie Harper has masterfully created a well-rounded cast that would be perfectly at home on the big screen with clear motivations and humane, understandable flaws.
If you want to lose yourself in a Roman drama, this is the book for you. You will be sucked in and doused in lavender bath-water, decorated in garlands for festivals, and surrounded by frescoes of goddesses. You can imagine the streets, the city, the port, every artfully picked-out detail enhances your sensory perception of Amara's world.
This is one of my favourite books in the Greek Mythofiction subgenre, I encourage fans of Ariadne and The Song of Achilles (who enjoyed the heartache!) to pick this up today.
The House With The Golden Door - Elodie Harper
We return to Pompeii and the life of Amara. She is now a freedwoman, free of the brothel and the danger that life brings. She has to adjust to her new life, all paid for by her patron. Yet, she cannot forget her old friends at the brothel and contrives to buy them their freedom. Putting herself back in the debt and path of her old master, she craves revenge and has to become as ruthless as he to keep her freedom. Can she keep her place in her patron’s affections even as she falls in love, risking everything to be free?
I am so thrilled to be back in living breathing Pompeii! Elodie Harper has recreated a world we only see in pictures and stone, scenes so vivid, you could climb into the pages and walk alongside Amara.
Initially it felt slower moving than The Wolf Den, but I felt we got to know these characters more deeply for it and I was pleased that Dear Old Pliny made an appearance too!
It is a captivating, moving story and tells a tale of female survival, bravery and friendship. It is unflinching in the depiction of these women’s lives, at times making my heart beat faster, I could feel these women’s fear lift from the page, having to live on their wits. I was left wondering if Amara would survive. Although I am always rooting for Amara, I found a new affection for Britannica, the feisty Iceni warrior, she is a brilliant character and I loved watching these two women’s relationship deepen and develop.
I constantly felt like I was learning from this book, at the same time as being entertained. The research that has gone into this is clear to the reader and I am desparate to make a trip to Pompeii to see this place for myself the inscriptions that head each chapter and to walk in Amara’s footsteps.
This is a beautifully woven tale of strong, vibrant women. A tale of love and survival, brutal at times with betrayal and dark secrets but their courage and bravery shine through.
Inevitably my mind turned towards that dreaded date of AD79 and how will this series end for Amara? Having to wait will not be easy!
This was my most anticipated read of this year and Elodie Harper hasn't disappointed. While it was a slower start than The Wolf Den, I was thoroughly gripped by Amara's story and fully invested in her turmoil. Everything in her life seems to be so precariously balanced and, while I'm not sure she always makes the right decisions (but when do any of us ever?), I'm continually surprised and impressed with her ability to navigate the life that's been forced upon her.
I loved that we got to know some of the other characters in more detail this time, and Britannica is a particular favourite for me. I have no doubt she will get her vengeance eventually.
As things got harder and harder for Amara I found I couldn't put the book down, and I'll absolutely be buying a copy for my shelves. I've recommended The Wolf Den to absolutely everyone I know, and I think I'll be recommending the sequel just as much! (Is it too soon to say I can't wait for book three?!)
After finishing The Wolf Den, I couldn't wait to find out what life has in store next for Amara. Having become a freed woman, she has left the brothel and Felix's ownership to finally lead her own life.
I found this slightly slower than The Wolf Den, but the last 70% or so had me completely captivated.
Amara's struggle to find herself in her new life made me feel so incredibly sad for her, with things going not quite as expected or hoped.
This was a truly beautiful tale of love, friendship, betrayal, uncertainty, heartbreak. The way men underestimate women and feel entitled to own them. Women having to sacrifice a lot simply to survive.
The ending is much more sad than the first book, but also hopeful - I am excited to read about Amara's next adventures as she only grows stronger.
What a treat to get a preview copy of the 2nd book in the Elodie Harper’s Wolf Den series. Amara has been freed from the Wolf Den and is technically no longer a slave. Though as a courtesan to a wealthy sponsor, she still isn’t totally free, being subject to his whims and continued patronage. There’s no denying life is better though. We meet some new characters and Amara continues to fight for a freer life. This book is driven by her standing by old friends from the brothel, learning her new place in society, and finding love in unexpected places. Felix, the evil owner of the Wolf Den, continues to put Amara’s world in jeopardy. I hope that volume 3 holds a shred of a happy ending for some of the characters before Vesuvius destroys their world.
Harper’s writing and her detailed research bring Pompeii to life. Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for this preview copy.
The kind of historical fiction publishing today often feels quite one-note – there's a mystery, it's a bit gothic, a bit witchy – and when I read The Wolf Den last year, it felt so refreshing to return to my fave kind of historical fiction, the kind that showcases a slice of life from a bygone period. This book continues with Amara's story and although I don't think I enjoyed it *quite* as much as The Wolf Den, I still really liked it! It's less atmospheric than the first book, with less scene-setting and fewer insights into Pompeii life, but what this book lacks in scenery, it more than makes up for in readability: I could not put The House with the Golden Door down. Ok, it's a bit melodramatic at points and there's a few subplots that – as much as I liked them – felt like they came out of nowhere (I ❤️ Philos but where was the set-up from the first book?). None of that matters, though, because I was immersed and invested, and I can't recommend this trilogy enough if you're interested in slice-of-life historical fiction/the ancient Roman empire/anything old. I'm absolutely dying to visit Pompeii now and I can't wait for the last book in the trilogy. Elodie Harper does a fantastic job of describing slaves' and ex-slaves' lives, and the precarity and brutality of existence in the ancient world. I strongly hope it's all going to work out for Amara and Philos and Britannica, but judging by the year the book ends, I am not too confident about that point lol. In summary: I recommend, and get me to Italy asap.
This book was amazing! I loved it so much and I cannot wait for the third instalment in the series! I will 100% be buying this in paperback as well once it is released.
I actually loved this book more than The Wolf’s Den which is unusual for a sequel book. This book was so well paced and the character developments were amazing, I loved see Amara’s transition from prostitute to concubine and I adored the relationships that were built upon in this book. The characters were beautiful and I loved how Briticanna was developed into a fully dimensional character and her fierce loyalty towards Amara was so pure and I loved their friendship.
This book was amazing. I loved the authenticity of the setting however I do feel that sometimes the excessive sweating took you out of the book as I wonder how accurate it is that they use such language and I did sometimes get a bit confused regarding how old some of the characters are in particular Philos. Aside from this I loved the book and the narrative and everything about it!
The House with the golden door
The sequel to my favourite book of 2021, can you imagine my excitement?!
I loved being back in the world of ancient Pompeii and to get to spend some more time with Amara and her friends (and enemies).
I loved that we got to see more of some characters that we had only started to get to know in the first book, and that we got to meet even more interesting characters. This world that Eloise Harper has created is so alive and feels so modern( but at the same time accurate to the time). It shows that some themes are timeless and that we have a lot in common with the people of the ancient world.
I did feel that this sequel didn’t pack quite the same emotional punch as the first book, at least for me. I did find that I would have liked the story to play out a bit differently. There was a lot of focus on a specific aspect of this story that I unfortunately didn’t really care for. I’m trying to avoid spoilers but it involved a new character that I just didn’t find that interesting. I had also hoped to see a bit more of a change in Amaras *situation*.
This was still a very good read for me though and I’m so curious and excited about the third book in the series!
I could not wait to dive back into the life of Amara in Pompeii once I was given the opportunity to read the second part of the trilogy following the wonderful Wolf Den.
Amara has now gained her freedom- but is it all she believed it to be. She is still dependant on the favour of her patron and could lose everything if she displeases him. She also is still to escape from the vengeance of Felix , the owner of the Wolf Den.
The world that the author creates in Pompeii pulls you into the glittering lives of those who have so much to the precarious nature of life for those who have so little and the choices they must make to survive.
A book of love, loneliness, friendship, fear and betrayal.I raced through it and can only hope that I don’t have to wait too long for the next book.
I've had such a miserable few days being ill but then this morning I got an email from @netgalley saying I'd been approved for an eARC of The House with the Golden Door. It was like a gift from Asclepius.
I'm really wary of giving any spoilers but everyone needs to read this book. It would be so easy for a book about Roman courtesans to be gratuitous and sensationalist but it is so far from that. The House with the Golden Door is visceral and brutal but it's also so beautiful and human.
Every character in this book is so multifaceted, even the ones that I hate (and I really, really hate them) still have layers and I find myself grudgingly understanding some of their behaviour. Amara herself is wonderful, she is so fierce and strong but vulnerable and empathetic, I think she might be my favourite heroine of the year so far. She has to adapt to her change in position but I feel she still stays true to herself.
Elodie Harper really brings Pompeii alive, I love that the chapters are headed with an excerpt from a letter or graffiti from Ancient Pompeii or Rome, it really grounds you in the time period. I don't know if I'm being very coherent which I'll blame on the cold but this book made me feel all of the emotions and had me at the edge of my seat. I would recommend it to anyone who likes strong, believable female characters and historical fiction.
Thank you NetGalley and House of Zeus.
#TheHousewiththeGoldenDoor #TheWolfDen #Lupanar #Pompeii #Roman #NetGalley #bookstagramuk
Amara is a free woman…… or is she, really? In the second book of her trilogy, Harper explores the precarious world of Roman freed women and their patrons in an engrossing tale of power, exploitation and some sisterly solidarity set in Pompeii. The central character is a survivor - a Greek doctor’s daughter sold as a slave to a ruthless small town thug and pimp, schooled by his own brutal and abused childhood. The book begins with her having been freed by a famous Admiral of the Fleet to ‘help’ a young male relative. But life as a mistress is a short career and no bed of roses, even if she is prone to a quixotic mixture of impetuous generosity and studious attention to money making. There is a wealth of well researched detail in the households, streets, bars, festivals and ceremonies along the way in this gripping saga. The poetry and graffiti quoted to illustrate the start of each chapter are a great touch. A well written historical fiction to engage readers with the ancient world is very welcome too.
I am hooked enough to want to know what happens in the next book. Do I want a break before then, though? Yes. The constant attention to sex and sexual exploitation is perhaps inevitable, given the characters in focus, and it may of course be that ancient people viewed the world of individual personal relations the way we do in the west now, but I am not so sure. I am not too convinced either by the fictitious involvement of well known historical characters in a modern story about an ancient place.
That said, this book is definitely worth reading after Wolf Den, which I also recommend.
I loved this sequel and was pleased to find the characters I loved from the first outing. Twists and turns and we’ll written.
Reading this book was like catching up with old friends. The story picks up pretty much where The Wolf Den left off and is more of the same beautiful, engrossing writing ( I was nearly late for work on a couple of occasions as I could not put it down). Utterly brilliant.
🏛Book Review 🏛
The House With the Golden Door by Elodie Harper
Amara is a free woman, or is she?
In this haunting, mesmerising, beauty of a book, Harper explores the precarious world of Roman freedwomen and their patrons in a fascinating tale of power, exploitation, love, loyalty and betrayal set in ancient Roman times.
We first met Amara in The Wolf Den, a feisty young slave girl her mother had Sold after a family tragedy. Subsequently sold to Felix, she was put to work in Pompeii's infamous brothel - the Lupanar. Determined to survive, Amara has learned that everything in this city has its price, Including her freedom.
In The House With the Golden Door, Amara has escaped her life as a brothel slave. She now has a house, fine clothes, servants – but these are gifts from her patron, hers for only as long as she keeps her place in his affections.
As she adjusts to this new life, Amara is still haunted by her past. At night she dreams of the Wolf Den and the women she left behind. By day, she is pursued by her former slavemaster. In order to be truly free, she will need to be as ruthless as he is.
Amara knows she can draw strength from Venus, the goddess of love. Yet falling in love may be the downfall of this fierce and strong but vulnerable and empathetic young woman.
Harper brings Pompeii alive on the pages; I love that the chapters are headed with an excerpt from a letter or graffiti from Ancient Pompeii or Rome. The characters are flawlessly and authentically multifaceted, helping to root you in the period.
I am so excited for part 3 of Elodie Harper's celebrated Wolf Den Trilogy, which reimagines the lives of women who have long been overlooked in this historical period. If you have an interest in historical fiction, read these books, like right now.
Thank you, NetGalley and House of Zeus.
Thank you Netgalley for the arc ebook. I started this as a buddy read but ended up not being able to put it down, whoops!
Amara, now a freedwoman under patronage, is finding her way in her new world but my goodness did she annoy me! She came across so selfish and ungrateful in the beginning, then made stupid decisions one after the other, all the while I’m screaming at her ‘why?!?!?!’ But I think it was all off this that made it a compelling read, I just needed to know the consequences of her actions! The author set the scene beautifully and made me feel like I was right there with Amara, the characters felt deep and well developed and the storyline kept me hooked! I cannot wait to read the next book, I need to know the conclusion!!!
I had such high expectations for this second instalment in the “Wolf Den” trilogy, and I was not disappointed! We meet Amara shortly after the events of the first book have concluded… she is now living away from Felix and the brothel, as a freedwoman with Rufus as her patron. She still feels guilt over the tragic events of the end of the last book, so determines to find a way to free some of the women who were enslaved alongside her, despite this meaning renewed contact with the brutal, and now even angrier, Felix.
The relationships between these characters is as charged and riveting as before, and I loved revisiting them and their evolving stories. We also meet other characters from the previous book, such as Drusilla, Philos, and Pliny, and their interactions with Amara again feel incredibly real, giving real depth to Amara’s story. The historical details are as vibrant as before, and the story is beautifully written. I cannot wait for the third part of this trilogy, and would heartily recommend the first two parts to any reader interested in ancient history or historical fiction.
My thanks to the author, NetGalley, and the publisher for the arc to review.
I was so happy to have been approved to read this on NetGalley, I dove straight in after finishing The Wolf Den.
It was so captivating; Amara is free from the brothel, but she still feels as though she needs to put on a performance for her patron. The person who can put her back into the brothel if she crosses a line. She’s aware that her role as concubine is time limited as looks fade and her patron can drop her whenever he wants.
I did prefer the first book, but this was still captivating with unexpected twists and turns and you feel pulled along on this journey alongside Amara which is absolutely amazing!
I can’t wait for the final book in this trilogy! The end of this book has me on edge! Definitely a series to add to your TBR!
This book is one that is unapologetic in letting its characters be human, ugly flaws and all. It was more than one time you began to love a character just to have them do something that tempted you to bash your head into a wall (cough, cough, secondary character that shall not be named marrying a certain brothel owner). But somehow these "character flaws" just made the book even more real and even more enjoyable. Elodie Harper is fast becoming a favorite author, especially with mythology-inspired works. Right up there with Madeline Miller. Which, if you know me, is very very high praise.
I adored The Wolf Den when I read it last year so this sequel was high in my most anticipated releases and I was thrilled to get my hands on it early.
It was amazing to be back with Amara, she is one of the strongest female characters I’ve ever read and her arc continued to captivate in this second instalment.
The events of the first book set a truly gripping storyline and I couldn’t stop reading because I was worried for the safety of my favourite characters.
The interactions with Felix were truly scary and the dynamic between the two of them was very believable.
Something I really appreciated about this book was that characters that didn’t survive The Wolf Den were still a huge presence in their friends lives. I find sometimes in books if a character dies they can conveniently be forgotten but I thought the way Elodie handled the complexities of grief was really beautiful.
Cannot wait for the next instalment.
Thank you so much to Head of Zeus and Elodie Harper for allowing me to partake in the blog tour for one of my favourite series.
I liked this so much, the writing, story and characters are all getting better as the series goes on. I read The Wolf Den not long ago and couldn't wait to get into the this to see where Amara was and how the story was moving on now that she's no longer in the brothel. I preferred this to The wold Den and am excited to see how her story finishes in the final instalment!
wow wow wow!!!
elodie harper has once again woven the most incredible tale about women, sisterhood and the strength that they have and do endure.
this was one of those books that was just as good, if not better than the first one. we got to see the extent of amara’s determination and her desire to survive in such an oppressive patriarchy that is stacked against her so we grow to learn more about her in a completely different environment, that tests her in new ways.
elodie harper puts so much nuance and detail into characters that depicts the realness of this story and the characters 100% elevate the tale. every single character has had such back story and time invested into them thist evoked such emotion and hope from me when reading. this again makes the book so heart wrenching to read but also that much more meaningful. like the wolf den i struggled to put it down although it was better paced than the first one which did mean it was near impossible to go to bed and stop reading.
i loved seeing her relationship with britannica grow and her love she has for the other wolves who were with her at the wolf den, although this does grow more complex over time. I also really missed the presence of dido, mainly for amaras sake, but it definitely elevated the plot and played a central bridge for many of amaras relationship that i could see it was necessary for her development.
this series, nor elodie harper is raved about enough, especially if you like greek or roman mythology, historical fiction and books with strong female relationships. read this book for so many reasons, not least because it is done so beautifully.
a for sure 5/5 read <33333
This is the second book in what is to be a trilogy, following the lives of a group of prostitutes and slaves in Pompeii. As withe the first book, the setting is incredibly atmospheric and the characters all feel so real, even the bad guys. I eagerly await the final instalment of this wonderful story.
A truly addictive read that is a strong follow-up to The Wolf Den. I wasn't expecting the story to continue, so it was great to enter Harper's vivid, well-written world again!
The lives of all the characters are so rich and deep, making the tragic events within them all the more painful to read. Most of them are fundamentally sympathetic, and the difficult decisions they make are ones that stay with you long after reading. I'm glad the story focused on Amara again, and the whole novel I struggled to put it down. I'll definitely read anything else that Harper publishes!
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Content Warnings: slavery, sexual assault, rape, violence, death, disordered eating
I listened to the audiobook of The Wolf Den not too long ago (fully believing it was a stand alone) and really enjoyed it, so I was super excited to receive an ARC for The House with the Golden Door and oh yeah. This was really really excellent.
The House with the Golden Door is historical fiction set in ancient Pompeii. In the second book of this trilogy, we continue to follow Amara now that she has escaped slavery in one of Pompeii's most infamous brothels. Though her situation has no doubt improved since gaining her freedom, Amara still treads a dangerous line as a concubine freedwoman in Pompeii.
Reading this trilogy has really reminded me how much I enjoy historical fiction. Despite the dark subject matter - this book doesn't shy away from portraying the rough reality of life for women (particularly enslaved women) in ancient Pompeii - reading them is a thoroughly enjoyable and cohesive experience. Every aspect of how it's written - from the slow pace to Harper's blunt, matter-of-fact writing style - perfectly complements the story being told here. Amara is such a great character - she's so complex and smart, and Harper's portrayal of her is wonderfully nuanced. In this book particularly, her character development and growth - ebbing and flowing as it is - is really great.
If you enjoyed the first book in this series, it should be an absolute no brainer to pick this one up. People often complain that a second book in a trilogy is usually weaker than the first, but I really didn't find that with this one. I can confidently say book 3 has secured itself on my list of most eagerly anticipated future releases!
Thank you to Elodie Harper, NetGalley, and Head of Zeus for the eARC of The House with the Golden Door.
The Wolf Den was one of my favourite reads last year and the sequel does not disappoint!
The House With The Golden Door picks up with Amara now out of the Wolf Den and no longer a slave, however as a courtesan her continued safety and hard won freedoms are reliant on her patron.
It soon become clear that Amara isn’t able to fully move on from the Wolf Den and the women she left behind. The female relationships remain a highlight, the women support each other but their relationships are also messy and complicated. I particularly enjoyed Britannica’s increased precedes and following her character development.
Amara is such a strong leading character, at times I didn’t agree with her actions and decisions, particularly at the end of the book, but I always understood her thought process and emphasised with her throughout.
The one thing I wanted most from the sequel, was to explore Pompeii beyond the brothel and the workings of the Roman Empire in general and The House With The Golden Door certainly delivers! Without spoiling anything, I’m very excited for the next book as I suspect it will open the world up even further.
It’s rare that a second book is as good as the first but that truly is the case here. This book builds on everything we learnt from the first one and still managed to surprise me with the direction it takes at times. Harper’s writing vividly brings the ancient world to life and with this book has established this series as one of my all time favourites.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Amara has escaped Felix and the brothel but is she safe. It certainly appears that she is still haunted by the past.
Amara is paranoid about the safety of Victoria and Beronice (her friends who are still enslaved at the brothel). She becomes obsessed with paying for their freedom. Philos (her patron’s steward) warns her against this course of action, but she is driven by steely determination. As a result she has a confrontation with Felix and only gets one of the women.
I really enjoyed how the slave Philos was given such a large role in the book. His perspective was really interesting.
It becomes apparent that not everyone should be trusted and Amara is betrayed.
What will the future hold for Amara. I most definitely will be reading the last instalment.
THE HOUSE WITH THE GOLDEN DOOR is a triumphant second entry to this Roman series about prostitutes, courtesans, and the men making their lives awful. Amara seems to have succeeded in escaping, but danger is still very much all around her.
Rufus is controlling and possessive, and one of the ways he does that is through "oh so subtly" hinting about how much food she's eating such that Amara reduces what she eats to very little. It's a small detail (but one that people should be aware of going in) but it's a detail that really drives home how controlling he is, that is certainly far from the "ideal" patron.
The book never leaves you in any doubt that Rufus is abusive and considers her nothing more than a slave for his amusement. It's a lot more subtle than Felix (who I really hope gets destroyed in the final book as he's horrendous) but he is certainly not a safe haven. He used his power over her to have her do what she wants.
THE HOUSE WITH THE GOLDEN DOOR focuses on different relationships - Victoria, Britannia, and the man Amara falls for. I loved spending more time with Britannia. She's so different from the others because she displays more masculine strength, and it meant that she and Amara could help and comfort each other in ways the other women couldn't. I liked having that variety of strength in there.
Harper also manages to really dig the knife in this book with the betrayals and twists. I thought she couldn't top the ending of book 1 and Dido's death, but she springs it much earlier this book to make the final act a nervous rope-walk as Amara tries to juggle all the threats hanging over her head, threatening to destroy the snatch of happiness she's found.
It looks like we'll be travelling somewhere new with the final instalment, which I shall be eagerly awaiting.
First, I’d like to thank Netgalley and Head of Zeus for providing me this e-arc.
In this second installment of The Wolf Den Trilogy, we continue to follow Amara, while she comes to terms with her freedom and how to be a concubine. She struggles with memories of her life in the brothel, the people she lost and the guilt of moving on while others she loves still suffer at the hands of her previous owner.
Throughout this book, we se how Amara tries to navigate this new reality of being a freedwoman, an elevated position from her previous status of slave and prostitute. Even though she encounters herself in a higher position in society, this position still has its challenges and precariousness. We see her make difficult decisions and great sacrifices in order to save herself and the ones she loves. I can’t say I agree with the majority of the decisions Amara made, but I can’t really pass judgement on someone living in a reality so distant from mine. The development of her relations with old and new characters is in some cases beautiful and others just excrutiating. The characters development is also absolutely fantastic. I kept thinking of the characters as onions, in the sense that each of them have so many layers, some brutal, some ferocious and confident, but all so deeply interesting in their own way.
Elodie Harper continues to capture with amazing historical accuracy the life and times of 75AD Pompeii, which just blows me away. I especially liked the way Harper wove different festivals of the roman culture into the story itself, giving the reader an opportunity to learn about them, in a simplified and captivating way, instead of having an overly academic approach that would probably turn some readers off. The writing is still, if not more beautiful; I highlighted so many quotes. That last sentence was EVERYTHING. I have high expectations for book 3 and cannot wait to see what the future holds for Amara given the decisions she made in the last 10% of this book.
I loved the first book in this series and it actually made me dream about the book as if it were a movie (I have visited Pompeii so I was versed in some of the background). The second book certainly builds on and enhances the first and was a great follow up.
I completely adored The Wolf Den so was over the moon to get approved for the follow up. Amara is now free but her life still has its fair share of complications.
Again another riveting read!
Just to say, I have tried not to say too much, but this review may contain slight spoilers for The Wolf Den (Book 1) if you haven’t read that yet❗️
After escaping The Wolf Den, Amara is now living with Rufus as his concubine. She begins to experience the luxuries that come with this slightly more elevated position within society, however deeply misses her friends from The Wolf Den and struggles with her grief of what she has lost.
The deeply meaningful friendships and relationships was something I loved within the first book and this is definitely carried through into book two. No spoilers, but I absolutely loved a certain couple within this and I couldn’t get enough of their interactions with one another!
Amara is up there with one of my favourite female characters. But now I also have an immense love for Britannica.💪🏼
I would say that I do think I preferred the first book in the series, The Wolf Den. Purely because I was way more emotional when reading The Wolf Den. However, I definitely loved reading more about Amara’s world and still thoroughly enjoyed everything about it. I can’t wait for the third and final instalment in this trilogy and hope we don’t have to wait too long!🤞🏼
Review: The House with the Golden Door by Elodie Harper
“𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘭𝘸𝘢𝘺𝘴 𝘢 𝘱𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘱𝘢𝘺 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢 𝘸𝘰𝘮𝘢𝘯.”
(This review contains very slight spoilers for the first book, The Wolf Den, in case you haven’t read that yet)
First off – this book had me in an absolute chokehold! If you’ve read my review of the first book in the series, you’ll know I adored that one. If it’s possible, I love this one even more!
Amara is now a freedwoman, but her life certainly hasn’t become any easier. She is afforded certain luxuries by her new social status, but struggles to make the adjustment when there are still slaves she cares about from her old life.
Amara faces a lot of internal turmoil, and is often left with options that place her between a rock and a hard place, with her past always haunting her along the way.
But the story isn’t all doom and gloom – there are some wonderful and unexpected relationships that develop throughout the story which had me rooting SO hard for them.
I love Amara so much, she is now firmly up there as one of my favourite female book characters. Her determination and resolution to survive are second-to-none, and I’m in no doubt that she would stop at nothing to fight for herself and those she holds dear. I also really enjoyed seeing more of Philos’s personality and learning about his background, as well as the introduction of new characters like Julia and Livia.
Now I absolutely cannot wait for the final instalment – there’s so much to find out and I can’t wait to see what Amara’s future holds.
Thank you so much to @netgalley and @headofzeus for the ARC in exchange for an honest review 💛 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗛𝗼𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗚𝗼𝗹𝗱𝗲𝗻 𝗗𝗼𝗼𝗿 𝗶𝘀 𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗨𝗞 𝗼𝗻 𝟭𝟮𝘁𝗵 𝗠𝗮𝘆.
(Review was originally posted on Instagram by @thebrightonbookshelf)
The writing is so good, I felt like starting at the beginning again as soon as I finished it. This is the second of the trilogy set in Pompeii, centred around the worst brothel. Amara has escaped the brothel but it still haunts her - the awful lives of her friends she left behind especially. But she is only free as long as her patron wants her so the games she must play are dangerous and risk all. A truly gripping story.
Elodie Harper has done it again!
The sequel to The Wolf Den continues Amara's compelling story. I was slightly nervous it wouldn't be as good as the first novel, however I think it might be even better. Excellent writing, fabulous setting, amazing characters. I particularly enjoyed getting to hear more from Britannica, who is now one of my favourites. I eagerly await the conclusion to this trilogy.
Thank you NetGalley and Head of Zeus for the eARC in exchange for and honest review.
Harper's writing is once again exquisite, she conjures up Amara's Pompeii through vivid prose which veers into appearing verbose or purple. Harper's characterisation sees the development of Amara as she now navigates Pompeii, learning along the way that her freedom is not total in nature.
I did struggle initially to immerse myself into the narrative of this book which I think stemmed from the pacing issues that I found throughout the novel, leaving the progression of the story uneven and jarring at some points. Yet these slower moments allowed me to appreciate the naturalism that Harper crafts into her dialogue, which flowed organically and with wit, which skilfully negotiates the darker subject which is never shied away from. Rather, Amara is able to address it with the agency attributed to her with her new found bodily autonomy.
I would recommend this book highly.
A fantastic sequel to The Wolf Den, the characters are all wonderfully flawed with their own ambitions and motives none of the characters are half formed or forgotten even the most awful characters are given reasoning and other sides not just caricatures of evil. The plot is brilliant and I finished the whole book in 1 sitting! Its gripping and even the use of some tropes i dislike usually were well done and I was invested in the lives of all the characters. Can't wait for the final book in this trilogy!
I really loved spending some time in glittering Pompeii again! I actually enjoyed this more than The Wolf Den (but maybe because I loved that so much and was worried this one wouldn’t match it - it does!).. It’s full of twists and turns and I was definitely hooked throughout.
If you have read book one in this series The Wolf Den, then you will know we are now back in Asmara’s life. She is no longer a slave, or whore in the Wolf Den, she is no longer owned by the heartless Felix. But things are still not that simple for Asmara’s new life, she still dreams of the Wolf Den, her life there and her friends.
Now she has to learn a whole new game of survival, that of a concubine, her position in society has now been elevated but her future is still determined by the affections of her new patron, she has to keep him interested in her. She tries to please him, this is someone she used to dote on, she had believed him to be her way out of a life of oppression and abuse. How could she have read him so wrong? Is he not the man she believed him to be?
When she dreams of her friends on the Wold Den, she worries about the people she considered as her friends, they are still at the mercy of Felix, but they are also at the mercy of the men who just see the women as pieces of meet to do with as they like.
Despite being free of her shackles of the Wolf Den, Amara now dreams of being free of all shackles, to be able to live her own life on her own terms, in her own way. Will she ever be able to do this.
This is a beautifully written book, you really do feel for Amara, in order for her to have the freedom she wants she will have to change and become ruthless. The author manages to bring the landscape of life in Pompei to the front, how life would have been like in those days, especially for women, as facts are added to fiction along with actual people weaving them into the storyline. The character development us terrific, as the layers are gradually peeled away, some characters have more layers than others, some are brutal and at times ferocious, but every one is interesting in their own way.
This can at times be a heartbreaking read, bringing out different emotions, and drawing you in completely.
What will happen in the final book? Will Amara get complete freedom?
Thank you to #netgalley and #ApolloPublishers for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest, fair and unbiased review.
The Wolf Den was one of my favourite reads of 2021, so imagine my delight when I found out it’s part of a trilogy. The House with the Golden Door was everything and more that I could have wished for from a sequel. There were several audible gasp moments and Elodie has such a magical way with words. I feel like I’m in the room or part of the action when there’s a fight/argument or any form of drama. More than any other author I just find her books so open to all types of reader and she had me hooked from start to finish. Britannica was the real stand out heroine of this book for me, she is so straightforward and loyal and her past broke my heart. If you haven’t already read Wolf Den please do, I promise you won’t regret it.
Thank you @netgalley for the eARC in return for an honest review. The House with the Golden Door is out on 12th May 2022.
The Wolf Den was one of my top reads of last year so I was excited to read book two in this planned trilogy and catch up with my favourite (and least favourite) characters.
Amara is adapting to her new life following the events of The Wolf Den but soon realises freedom comes with its own perils.
The descriptions of Pompeii and daily life are exquisite which shows in the number of holidays I’ve been searching since finishing this book. That combined with Elodie Harpers skill in developing the characters meant I struggled to put this book down.
Highly recommended, I cannot wait for book 3!
I've only recently read The Wolf Den, so it was fresh in my mind when reading the sequel. I was so happy to go back to Pompeii and catch up with Amara, who is now adjusting to living life as a freed woman and dealing with the huge weight of her grief from the loss of her friend.
Her new life isn't all it's cracked up to be though and Amara soon realises that she is in an extremely precarious situation with her patron, Rufus. Amara cannot be herself; cannot love who she wants; walking a tightrope everyday, trying to keep Rufus's interest and attempting to make plans (and money) for when she is no longer desirable to him.
The pace feels slower than the previous book and there was a relationship I wasn't a huge fan of but can't mention, as it would be a massive spoiler! As with The Wolf Den though, there is fantastic story-telling and world-building in this novel, with the hustle and bustle of Pompeii evoked through often beautiful prose. I love the women in this world and was glad to see Victoria and Britannica play a large part in the narrative; Harper emphasises the importance of female friendships in this series, particularly in the face of adversity, and these women are bonded by their experiences, though their relationships are complex and often difficult.
All in all, another great instalment in this trilogy. Bring on book 3!
Elodie Harper has penned a superb follow up to the Wolf Den.
The men of Pompeii, although richly drawn are without exception not nearly as interesting or engaging as the incredible women that Harper creates.
Amara is a beautifully drawn character with a rich inner life. The women of the Roman empire are so often eclipsed by their more visible male cotemporaries, but here they come through with ringing voices, strength and utter determination.
What Harper has done here is remarkable, the story is so rich in detail and so clearly drawn that the streets of the doomed ancient city spring to life before the reader's eyes in a way that is heart-breaking and deeply satisfying.
Amara is a wonderful heroine and I cannot wait to see where Harper will take her next as Vesuvius smokes ominously above,
I really enjoyed The Wolf Den last year, calling it ‘a compelling and moving read’, so I was very excited to read the next book in the trilogy – The House with the Golden Door.
I must admit to being a little disappointed by this instalment – The House with the Golden Door feels very much like the middle book in a trilogy. Amara is with her new patron Rufus, still indebted to Felix and falling in love with her slave Philos. It didn’t really feel like much happened from start to finish and we are left with much the same circumstances as we started just with different names replacing those we know. Speaking of names, there felt like a lot of them this time around, although I admit it’s been a while since I read the first book but there seemed like a lot of characters mentioned that I found it hard to keep track of who was who.
One of the main reasons I enjoyed The Wolf Den was main character Amara, whom I called a ‘strong female lead’. In The Wolf Den her mission was all about breaking free and outsmarting her owner, Felix. In this book however, Amara just seemed a little weak, making some really silly decisions which felt like a let down from her strong personality in the previous book. The setting of Pompeii was still really nicely portrayed though, and I enjoyed that the chapter headings still used real graffiti or quotes from the time to really immerse you in the time period. With Amara moving away from the city and some rumblings about the volcano hinted at I do wonder if the next book will encompass the eruption of Vesuvius and the fall of Pompeii – I’ll be excited to read it to find out!
Overall, The House with the Golden Door does fall into the middle book in a trilogy syndrome with not much happening throughout and the main character becoming a little weaker. That said, the setting is still strong, and I can’t wait to read what will happen in the final book. Thank you to NetGalley & Head of Zeus – Apollo for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
In the sequel of the Wolf Den we meet again our protagonist Amara and we follow her journey as freedwoman who is not that free as she might think.
I loved Britannica and how she showed more wit as our main character in some situations, would be spoilery. if I would name them :)
I liked the Wolf Den more, as this sequel was more romantic and the romance was a bit annoying for me. Also I did not like the ending, especially one part. I did not mind it was not a happy one, but it was too rushed in my opinion.
Definitely will be contiuning the series and I recommend to read it to everybody who loves ancient Rome atmosphere, romance and intrigue.
Amara has escaped The Wolf Den and is now living as a concubine, dependent on her patron for everything. She is still grieving deeply but needs to learn how to negotiate her new life while dealing with her traumatic past but quickly comes to realise that a gilded cage is still a cage.
I’m always nervous about reading a follow up to a book I gave 5 stars so I picked this up with some trepidation. I needn’t have worried. Elodie Harper clearly knows what she’s doing and once again has created a moving and vivid story of survival.
Familiar faces return - some more welcome than others – and the highlight for me was learning more about Britannica, the fierce ‘savage’ from Britain who has dreams of becoming a Gladiator. The friendship between her and Amara is one of the bright spots in this novel.
Felix is also back, bringing with him a sense of apprehension that follows you throughout the book. Harper has managed to create in Felix a villain who you revile, but every now and then shows you a softer side, making such a complex character that at times you almost find yourself liking him. His conversations with Amara were a joy to read, a vocal chess match with each player trying to outmanoeuvre the other.
We continue to see growth in Amara and the decisions she faces hardens her somewhat, making her colder, but never quite to the point where we fear she is losing herself completely. These decisions show again that a woman in Ancient Rome had very few options and when all you have to bargain with is your body
Themes of friendship, betrayal, love and loss are all covered masterfully and left me eagerly awaiting the third and last book in this series.
It took me a while to get back into the rhythm of Pompeii at first but once there I now find it difficult to get back into the 21st century! Having much enjoyed The Wolf Den I desperately wanted to know how life was going to treat Amara and her friends. Having tragically lost Dido, she now tries to rescue Victoria and Britannica from the brothel and the enigmatic but treacherous Felix. Under the patronage of Rufus she finds true love but at such a price! Elodie Harper manages to engulf you in the cruelty and hardship of Roman life but brings alive the hustle and bustle of the market place, the streets and the festivals. I cannot wait to finish this trilogy and eagerly look forward to the final episode!
As one of my most anticipated reads of the year, I was delighted when I received this arc from NetGalley and Head of Zeus - so thank you :)
I absolutely DEVOURED The Wolf Den back in January, so I was itching get back into Ancient Pompeii.
Amara is now living as a Freedwoman, thanks to her Patron who keeps her in fabulous comfort. However, she is struggling to move on from her past at the brothel entirely, and she soon finds herself in possession of two of her old friends as an attempt to spread her good fortune. As she adjusts to her new life, she soon realises that she is not quite as free as she may seem - but she'll do anything to keep her status, and get everything else she wants.
I really enjoyed this book, however, I did have a couple of hangups. Firstly, it felt like it took ages to actually get going. It might have been because I read the first one so recently, but it felt like the first third was just recapping everything that had happened in the first book. After that though, the story really picked up and I loved how it developed, how we saw different characters change, and how Harper has left us wondering where she will go for the final book in the trilogy. I think, because a fair amount of it was not new information, the book was maybe a tad long for what I wanted from it, but it does still all work together.
All in all, I loved how this added to the series, and I can't wait for the final book - it's felt like such a fresh take on the historical fiction/retelling genre, and I keep recommending it to everyone lol.
I love this trilogy. Such a strong sense of time and place. The characters are really well drawn and I feel hugely invested in them and their lives. Amara continues her fight for survival stopping at nothing in her quest for true freedom. But at the heart of her story is love and is it possible to have both? I can't wait for the final book to come out to discover how Amara's story ends.
With thanks to Netgalley and Head of Zeus for this digital ARC in exchange for this honest review.
I read and thoroughly enjoyed The Wolf Den. I love books set in the classical world, and although I have loved the recent surge of classical myth retellings from a female perspective, The Wolf Den offered something very different and it was one of my favourite books of the last year. Therefore, I was absolutely delighted to get hold of a copy of the second book in the trilogy.
Amara is a fantastic heroine, she is strong, determined and very clever. Her journey in the previous book was both exciting and interesting and her continuing story kept me just as hooked, in fact I read this book in two sittings, because I could not put it down.
Amara is still haunted by her past and by her experiences in the Wolf Den and by the women who remain there. Moreover, the owner of the brothel is not prepared to let her just walk away.
Elodie Harper is able to recreate the ancient streets of Pompeii exceptionally well, her descriptions appeal to all of the senses and I could see, hear, taste, smell and feel the streets as I followed Amara's story.
I have a hardback edition of The Wolf Den and I have already preordered a hardback edition of The House with the Golden Door and I can't wait for the finale to the series.
Thank you to the author, The Head of Zeus and NetGalley for an ARC in return for a honest review.
‘The House with the Golden Door’ follows on from Elodie Harper’s very well received ‘The Wolf Den’ and at the end of this latest story the reader is given a glimpse of what is to come in the last of the trilogy.
Such are Harper’s storytelling skills that we quickly become involved in the lives of her characters and care about their fates. The central figure in ‘The House with the Golden Door is Amara, freed slave and concubine of spoilt, unpredictable Rufus. Whilst she is understandably delighted to escape her dreadful life in Felix’s brothel, she finds herself lonely behind the golden doors of her new house. It is not surprising that she hankers after the sisterhood of brothel life and soon she is determined to remedy her isolation. Knowing that one can buy pretty much anything in Pompeii, she visits the wolf den and is soon in Felix’s debt once more.
Elodie Harper clearly has a very good appreciation of everyday life in the ancient world and her depictions of domesticity, entertainment and sport are compelling. Moments of happiness are captured but, inevitably, they are fleeting in such a class-conscious society which explores the meaning of slavery in all its forms. Whilst Amara is harshly reminded that, ‘A woman’s status is only as high as that of the man she allows to master him’, it is not just the women who suffer. Philos, born into slavery, and sold for his physical beauty, knows only too well that he has no say in what he must be now, nor what he will become.
‘The House with the Golden Door’ is likely to be a big summer read. It wears its knowledge lightly and will ensnare anyone who enjoys a gripping plot, knowing that the possibility of tragedy is never far away. With the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD is linked forever with the obliteration of Pompeii, it is fair to assume that the last novel in this trilogy will continue in the same compelling vein.
My thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.
If you loved Book 1 as I did then you won't be able to put down Book 2! We return to Pompeii and the lives of Amara, Victoria and their terrifying pimp Felix. You feel every moment of every character's pain and desires, you can feel the heat and dust of Pompeii and smell the fear and desperation of all those women who are seeking freedom from slavery, protection for their children and dependence on unreliable lovers. You want every one of them to win. This was a gripping follow up to The Wolf Den and I can't wait for part 3.
With thanks to NetGalley for a complimentary review copy. Opinions are my own.
The House with the Golden Door is the sequel to the Wolf Den and quite frankly, this book should come with a health warning. My heart was in pounding with trepidation and nerves each and every time I picked it up to read!
Amara is now free from the savagery of Wolf Den and Felix, the manipulative pimp who owned her. But can a former female slave ever be truly free in Pompeii?? Amara still needs to faun over her patron, always at danger of losing the affections of him and finds life without her former friends incredibly lonely. This book continues Amara's journey as she discovers freedom is not as free as she envisaged it to be.
I adore the shrewd yet loving Amara as much as I truly hate Felix. One of the best parts of this book was seeing how the character of Britannica develops! She becomes so much more than the brutish savage she seemed to be in the first.
This is such an amazing novel, full of strong female characters and their understanding about their tenuous ability to survive in a society that places little value on anyone other than a rich male. I just loved this as much as I did the first and I can't wait for the final instalment of this brilliant trilogy.
Thank you so much to the publishers and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC in return for an honest review..
Thank you so much to Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review!
This review may contain spoilers for 'The Wolf Den' but it's spoiler free for 'The House with the Golden Door'.
God damn it Elodie. My heart felt like it was lodged in my throat the entire time I was reading this.
Amara is free from the Wolf Den but her life is still dangerously linked to that of her old owner Felix as she begins her new life. Her past in the brothel haunts her dreams as she makes a new life with Rufus.
I loved this book even though it made my insanely anxious on Amara's behalf. Everything I loved about the Wolf Den is magnified in it's sequel, the love between the women of the story, I loved the blossoming relationship between Amara & Britannica in this story.
The scenes with Felix put me so on edge, both Felix and Amara are unpredictable characters and are largely guided by their emotions so you couldn't actually see way out for Amara.
Amara's grief for the lose of her friend is heartbreaking, Dido looms largely in this book and she's greatly missed which is why I loved the growing bond between Amara and Britannica.
A harrowing story that deals with freedom, love and grief.
Elodie's writing is perfection, it draws you in and keeps you hooked. I can't wait (but also I don't want it to end) to see where the trilogy goes from here.
I absolutely loved The Wolf Den and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of The House with the Golden Door, so imagine my absolute JOY when Head of Zeus offered me a place on the blog tour.
My girl Amara is out of the wolf den and is sorely missing the pack she had. Now she’s a concubine and is trying to adjust to her new life, but it’s not any easier than before, because she will eventually lose her age and her looks, and she will then be removed by her Patron. Amara has to adjust to her new life while still grieving the loss of her most trusted friend, and feeling guilty and worried about the women that are still suffering in the wolf den at the hands of Felix.
We see Amara shut down her inner feelings in order to save those she loves, she knows it will ruin her to do so but she’s willing to pay that price. There’s very clear character development in this book as she’s thrust into more hostile situations.
Elodie’s writing is as beautifully captivating as it is in the first book and I can’t wait to see how this will all pan out in the next book. Will Amara ever be truly free in a world where women are seen as possessions and nothing more? We’ll have to wait for the next instalment to find out.
Thank you so much to Head of Zeus for having me on the blog tour!
In this novel we return to the life of Amara, freed from the Wolf Den of the first novel but still haunted by her past. Amara has to use all her power and experience to succeed in this new life and the pace doesn't let up throughout in this richly descriptive and evocative story.
I received an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
What a ride! This is the second instalment in the Wolf Den Trilogy and it's exciting from start to finish. Amara's life just gets more complicated, and even though she is a freed woman now, her situation has never been more precarious.
This author has a way of keeping the action moving with plenty of plot twists, without losing the character development and historical context.
An absolutely gripping read - I cannot wait for the finale.
An arresting and compelling tale, The House With The Golden Door is a consuming and evocative story that transports you right back to the beautiful setting of Pompeii, as we continue to follow the incredible lives of the powerful characters at the forefront of this story about womanhood, fate, and personal strength.
While I loved The Wolf Den, the first book in this series, I was left with many questions and uncertainties at the end of it that it did end on a bit of a low for me. But The House With The Golden Door very quickly ties everything up for me, and I immediately fell back in love with Amara, her friendships, and her desire to feel something real.
As Amara begins to deal with her past, adjust to her new situation, and plan for a future, I finally began to understand Amara's actions in the first book. She's such a strong-willed character who often takes matters into her own hands, that it made it difficult for me to sympathise with her circumstances in The Wolf Den.
But while Amara is in a seemingly safer and kinder environment in this second book, it was only now that I began to understand how she, as a woman, was doomed to a powerless life of insecurity, sacrifice and
Although this is a fictional story, I find it so insightful at the same time, as so many women over our history have been in Amara's position. You don't have to work in a brothel to be under the control of a man, and I love how Harper makes Amara's situation feel so relatable, highlighting how women of the years have had their fates decided from a simple instance of poverty or bad luck.
I loved this book so much more than the first book, but it has also made me appreciate the first book so much more. I really can't wait for book three!
After having read (and loved) The Wolf Den last month, I was very eager to read this one. I am glad to say it did not disappoint. Maybe it was a touch less eventful than the first book, but it just worked for me.
I loved being back with Amara as she negotiates a tricky tightrope of love and life as the concubine of her rich patron. Of course things never go smoothly and it is harder to leave her life at The Wolf Den behind as she initially thought.
There is something very human about the way the author writes Amara’s story as she goes through to day to day life. You feel her anxiety, her hopelessness AND her hope. You feel like you are in Pompeii, like you understand the lives these slaves and she-wolves lead. How trapped they are. I even felt like I understood Felix in one way or another, the way his vileness was created in his past.
As it is supposed to, the love story in this one is heartbreaking and it is hard to see a happy outcome. Yet you hope along with Amara that there will be one day.
If you have not yet started this series, what are you waiting for?!
Amara's has won her freedom from the notorious wolf den brothel and its cruel master Felix, but life as a high-class courtesan has challenges of its own. Despite the luxurious trappings of her new life, her patron Rufus is not the man she thought he was, and he keeps her on a knife-edge with his constant hints that all this could come to end end with the withdrawal of his favour if she displeases him.
Haunted by the death of her beloved friend Dido and the fate of her fellow she-wolves, Amara is also plagued with guilt about the revenge that Felix may take out of them because of her actions. Despite the advice of her new confidante Philos, Rufus' enslaved steward, Amara puts herself in Felix's power once more in an attempt to help her old friends, even though she knows this comes with the risk that she will never be free of him.
Amara's future is in the balance and she fears becoming more like Felix as she plays the odds to ensure her and her friends' survival, but there is something she is capable of that Felix could never understand - love... and it may end up leading to her downfall...
I loved The Wolf Den and could not wait to meet up again with Amara and the she-wolves in this second instalment, The House with the Golden Door!
Amara now resides behind the golden doors of the titular house, and is keen to make the most of her freedom, even if the house is rented and everything that comes with it relies on keeping her patron Rufus sweet. As Amara struggles with her new role, Harper blends the contradictory sides of her character to paint the complex picture of a woman who is fully aware of what she must do to survive in a man's world, but who is unable to deny the pull of her heart. For all Amara's fears that she is like Felix, it is her emotions that dictate the direction of much of this story - anger and the need for vengeance battle constantly against feelings of loyalty and gratitude, and love blinds her to the dangerous path she treads - especially when it comes to back-stabbing betrayal. Ultimately she is forced to realise that love is a two-edged sword, and there are heart-wrenching choices to be made.
The Wolf Den was a slow-burn story that builds suspense inexorably to a shocking climax. The House with the Golden Door is a very different kind of beast, with twists and turns from the outset that ensure your heart remains firmly in your mouth. There is a palpable and relentless sense that danger lies around every corner for Amara, which is really interesting since the obvious perils of the wolf-den are no longer the ones that promise to harm her. The life of a courtesan is still one that is controlled by the whims of the men that hold the purse strings, and Amara's determination to command as much independence as she can ensures that there is plenty in these pages to keep the tension and menace at a level that is heart-poundingly intense in the best possible way.
Harper pulls you in and immerses you completely in the fates and fortunes of her characters, and the way she creates such an authentic feeling of time and place is a delight. The backdrop of Pompeii was wonderfully imagined in the first book, so you felt yourself walking alongside the she-wolves as they laughed, cried, and plied their trade, and now Harper takes us deeper into the places we have only glimpsed from the wrong side of the forum. We see a different side of Pompeii through the eyes of the courtesan, and come to appreciate the importance of rank within their own peculiar profession. We also get to understand what it really means to be a freed-man/woman and the delicate balance that sways how they interact with slaves as well as those who have been born free, and the legal implications of their relationships. Harper explores some new avenues when it comes to the role of women in Roman society too, particularly in terms of sexuality and expectation. And she makes us aware of how far and wide the Roman empire stretches, using the rich clash of cultures and people to bring in a delicious 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' thread.
I loved everything about this stunning novel, including the gorgeous design on the cover. There is no question that this the very best of middle books in a trilogy too - no marking time between a scene-setting first volume and flashy finale here, this is as exciting as they come. It's immersive, intoxicating and brings history alive in a way that makes it so wonderfully engaging. The shadow of the destruction of AD 79 lurks around the corner, and I cannot wait for the final part of the trilogy!
Thanks to Netgalley for this ARC.
This is the second instalment in The Wolf Den Trilogy. Following Amara's journey as she becomes the mistress of The House with The Golden Door.
This book was absolutely incredible, I knew about 25% in that this was a 5* read and the more I read the better it got. I feel like this story never took a misstep. The pacing, plot, character development and writing is faultless.
No, I don't think you understand, I am OBSESSED!🖐️
The tension throughout this book is palpable. It is a white-knuckle ride to find out where her story is going and I loved every bit of it.
A still relevant look at the way in which woman and people of a lower class are treated in society and the tight-rope on which we walk daily for our own safety against a system that wants to take everything it can get.
This story is so compelling, I didn't want it to end but couldnt read it fast enough. Such an incredible and poignant story told from the POV of the most overlooked people of society. I adore this trilogy and am counting down the days until book #3 release!!!
Elodie Harper’s The House with the Golden Door is the second in a trilogy which began with The Wolf Den. In this instalment, we follow Amara as she begins her life as a freedwoman under the patronage of Rufus. Tensions run high between Rufus and Amara throughout this book as she discovers that perhaps he is not the gentle, caring man she originally thought him to be as he begins to show more of his true self. The bonds of friendship hold tight, and Amara finds herself torn between her old life in the brothel and her new life as concubine as well as questioning whether she will ever be truly free.
After devouring The Wolf Den in a matter of days, I couldn’t wait to find out how this story continues once Amara is freed from the grip of Felix and I wasn’t disappointed. Elodie’s writing is so immersive, I was completely transported to Pompeii and into Amara’s life. The House with the Golden Door still features some of the characters from the first book but introduces more characters who reflect Amara’s change in social status. I found the plot of this book to be less brutal than The Wolf Den but no less tense, I found myself thinking about the characters even when I wasn’t reading it. Britannica has to be one of my favourite characters and I was really pleased that Elodie developed her character and story further making her a more central figure in The House with the Golden Door, as I had found Britannica’s situation particularly harrowing in The Wolf Den. Overall, I really loved this book and I can’t wait for the final instalment in the trilogy so I can lose myself in these characters once again, the world and characters which Elodie Harper has brought to life is captivating. This is such a fantastic series, one which I will read again and again and one I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. Thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for a digital copy for review.
The House with the Golden Door is the second book in the Wolf Den trilogy and it continues Amara’s story in Roman Pompeii, just before the volcano erupted and destroyed the town.
Amara has to deal with secrets, betrayals, love, loyalty and murderous revenge in this novel. She is such an engaging character, making the best decisions she can in order to survive and do the best for the people she loves. The atmosphere and smells are so well described you could almost be there alongside Amara in the dusty streets of Pompeii.
I loved this book and am desperate to find out what happens to Amara and those she loves in book 3. Will the volcano finally erupt?
The sequel to The Wolf Den, The house with the Golden Door picks up where we left off with the main character adapting to her new life away from the den and faves with a new set of terrors and traumas to navigate.
As before this book is set in Pompeii and has many elements of world building that fit the Greek setting and we are drawn into the brutal world that was.
The plot has much to devour, I spent time caught up in the characters determination and ambition. For me pacing could be a little quicker with more urgency, that said I didn’t find it so slow that I lost interest.
I was really keen to find out about more characters from the first book in the series and I got that with this book, it was really insightful to see more about Brittanica and I hugely enjoyed her character development.
I think Harper has a real strength in writing about harrowing and emotive situations and the House with the Golden Door is no exception.
Readers who liked this book also liked:
Fiona Kay, Neil R Storey
Larisa Grollemond; Bryan C. Keene
Maya A. Howard