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Susan Stokes-Chapman

Författare till Pandora

2+ verk 490 medlemmar 14 recensioner

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Verk av Susan Stokes-Chapman

Pandora (2022) 470 exemplar
The Shadow Key (2024) 20 exemplar

Associerade verk

The Winter Spirits: Ghostly Tales for Festive Nights (2023) — Bidragsgivare — 67 exemplar


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It’s 1783 and Henry Talbot has been dismissed from his position as a physician at a London hospital. Consequently he has had a request to take over as doctor in the Welsh village of Penhelyg by Lord Julian Tresilian. He has also been asked to keep an eye on his sister-in-law, Lady Tresilian of Plas Helyg and her daughter, Linette. The villagers are very wary of Henry and his English ways but he strives to fit in. He finds out his predecessor died in mysterious circumstances and then he himself is shot at whilst out and about visiting patients. Henry and Linette are determined to discover what is behind all the strange goings on.

Gothic fiction is a favourite genre of mine and this story is an excellent example of such. It has an atmospheric setting which is Wales. It seems well researched with plenty of mentions of myths, folklore and the odd spot of witchcraft. The characters are clearly described and it’s written with a good sense of menace throughout. The suspense builds up gradually, rattles along at a fair old pace, culminating in an exciting finale. I read this book via the Pigeonhole app, one stave a day for ten days. I was totally gripped by this story and found it a page turner. I would highly recommend it to those who enjoy a little fantasy mixed in with their historical fiction.
… (mer)
VanessaCW | Apr 20, 2024 |
This is a great first novel with a really interesting plot and characters that appeal.The frisson of gothic throughout is fun and keeps you in suspense. Plus, a magpie, who can resist
cspiwak | 12 andra recensioner | Mar 6, 2024 |
Twenty-one-year-old Pandora “Dora” Blake lives and works in her late parents' antiquities shop in Georgian London. Her parents had been renowned antiquarians specializing in Grecian artifacts and had made their living excavating tombs in South-Eastern Europe. Their untimely death in a mishap during an excavation twelve years ago left Dora orphaned and under the care of her unscrupulous and corrupt uncle Hezekiah Blake who promptly took over the shop and is responsible for its present state of disrepute, dealing mostly in forgeries and objects with not much historical significance. Dora aspires to be a jewelry designer and spends time honing her craft with her faithful pet magpie Hermes by her side, despite the constant beratement and ridicule of her uncle who would rather be rid of her.

One day her uncle acquires a mysterious crate and stores it in the basement of the shop under lock and key. Hezekiah’s obsession with the object and strange sounds coming from behind the locked door of the basement fuel Dora’s curiosity and she manages to trick her uncle and enter the basement and is fascinated by what she sees. The crate contained a rare Grecian jar or “pithos” in pristine condition with images of Greek mythological figures across its surface.

“There is a sudden sigh, a hum, a fluttering. It comes not from behind but in front of her, from within the vase, and Dora hears all at once its siren call, its darkling plea. It is the hush of wind, the whisper of waves, the music of grief, and she cannot help it, she cannot resist. Dora lifts the lid.”

The intricate patterns on the artifact inspire Dora’s new designs that she hopes will attract the interest of local jewelers who up until then haven't been too impressed with her sketches. To find out more about the pithos and its origins she enlists the help of bookbinder and aspiring antiquarian Edward Lawrence, who expresses a scholarly interest in the same, in hopes that his research into this mysterious artifact would earn him a place with the Society of Antiquaries, an endeavor in which he has been unsuccessful so far. It also appears that the pithos has brought with it a bout of bad luck to those involved in the acquisition- the Coombes brothers who extracted it from a shipwreck are each afflicted with strange injuries and illnesses that won’t heal and Hezekiah incurs an injury while transporting it to his shop which also seems to fester. Together as Dora and Edward dig deeper into the origin and history of the pithos and also try to figure out how it ended up in Hezekiah's possession, they uncover much about Hezekiah’s nefarious dealings as well as the secrets and myth surrounding the pithos and how it connects to Dora and her family.

Susan Stokes-Chapman's Pandora is an impressive debut novel. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story with its historical backdrop of Georgian England, a cast of interesting characters, engaging narrative and a mystery with the Greek myth of Pandora at its core. The prose is elegant, the story is well-paced and the setting is quaint yet atmospheric. I found the segments detailing facets of the antiquarian trade and illegal practices in the sale of valuable artifacts prevalent in that era very interesting. The cover design of the physical book is stunning and worthy of display. I would definitely recommend this novel to fans of historical fiction who don't mind a bit of fantasy and myth thrown in for good measure.
… (mer)
srms.reads | 12 andra recensioner | Sep 4, 2023 |
couldn't get into it. Main character was unlikeable. May try again later
Tip44 | 12 andra recensioner | May 24, 2023 |


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