“But he that once embarks, too surely finds
A sullen Sky, black Storms, and angry Winds.
Cares, Fears and Anguish, hov’ring on the Coast,
And Wrecks of Wretches by their Folly lost.”Samuel Garth
I have just gotten back from the most fabulous trip to Athens with my boyfriend and whilst I was there I read Pandora, yes a Greek themed book!
“The mind is it’s own place, and in itself, Can make a Heaven of Hell and a Hell of Heaven.”John Milton – Paradise Lost (1667)
Set in London 1799, we meet Pandora ‘Dora’ Blake, daughter of two antiquarians who suddenly passed away in tragic circumstances , now lives with her uncle in what used to be her parents shop.
Dora is an aspiring jewellery designer, but each of her design ideas aren’t quite right and keep getting rejected. When a mysterious Grecian vase is delivered to the shop, her uncle starts acting suspiciously and so becomes very intrigued by this.
“When all of this – desire and joy and pain – Has melted and dissolved in stormy rapture and then refreshed itself in blissful sleep, You will revive, revive to fullest youth, To fear, to hope and to desire once more.”Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe – Prometheus (1773]
Across London, in a local bookbindery, we meet Edward Lawrence, a young antiquarian scholar and his friend Cornelius. Edward has a dream, he dreams of being accepted into the The Society of Antiquaries but his last three papers have been rejected and he is lacking in inspiration for his next submission.
“But since when did gratitude mean the acceptance of a cage?”
Until he has a chance encounter with a mysterious man who tells him about a daughter of two famous antiquarians who lives in their antique shop…a girl by the name of Pandora.
“…deception within deception – the oldest trick known to man.”
Initially not keen on her new visitor, Dora doesn’t seem too bothered about pursuing business ideas with him but once she takes a look at the Grecian vase herself, she rekindles her friendship with Edward.
“What is doubt, but a fact not yet confirmed?”
Both looking for something which the vase can give them – Dora; a chance to restore the shop to former glories, Edward; a key to unlocking his academic future.
“Herein lies the fate of worlds.”
But the more digging they do, the more Dora begins to realise that not everything is as it seems and begins to question everything she has believed in about her life, her family and the world around her.
“Kingdoms wide that sit in Darkness,
Let them have the glorious Light,
And from Eastern Coast to Western,
May the Morning chase the Night.”
Some mysteries are buried and some doors are locked – both for a reason. Dora and Edward are about to find out why.
“With ills untainted, nor with cares anoy’d; To them the World was no laborious stage, Nor fear’d they then the misery’s of age; But soon the sad reversion they behold, Alas! They grow in their afflictions old For in her hand the nymph a casket bears, Full of diseases, and corroding cares, Which open’d, they to taint the world begin, and Hope alone remains entire within.”Hesiod – Works and Days
This is a fabulous page-turner. A story of secrets, deception, love, fulfilment, fate and hope. This wonderful book brings together an Ancient Greek myth with a suspenseful mystery. I, for one, loved every second of it! It draws on ideas and the basis of the myth of Pandora’s box from Greek mythology and turns it on it’s head. What is a myth, if not only a retelling of a story? After all, all myths are based on some portion of truth.
A five star review from me and would 100% recommend this to anyone!
Until next time,