Book Review: Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman

It’s not every day that a book cover grabs me, but “Pandora” managed to do just that. The allure of its design promised a riveting story, and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. I’ve always believed that sometimes, the universe nudges us towards certain books at just the right time, and this felt like one of those moments.

Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman

AuthorSusan Stokes-Chapman
GenreFantasy, Fiction, Mystery
Publication DateJanuary 17, 2022
Length416 pages

Where to Purchase

The Setting and Plot

Set against the backdrop of 1799 London, “Pandora” introduces us to a world filled with antiquities and Grecian artifacts. At the heart of this world is Pandora “Dora” Blake. Orphaned and with a dream to break free from her scheming uncle Hezekiah’s clutches, Dora’s life is set on a new trajectory when an enigmatic Greek pithos finds its way into her life. This isn’t just any artifact. It’s a harbinger of family secrets, long-buried traumas, and a sinister aura that permeates the narrative​.

Character Dynamics

One of the standout elements for me was the character dynamics. Dora’s relationship with her uncle Hezekiah is palpable, teeming with resentment and unspoken words. It’s a classic tale of a young woman trying to reclaim her birthright in a world that seems to be against her. And then there’s Edward Lawrence, an aspiring antiquarian. Their alliance, built on mutual goals and ambitions, adds another layer to the plot, making it all the more compelling​.

Greek Mythology Meets Historical Fiction

As someone who’s always been enamored by Greek mythology, “Pandora” felt like a breath of fresh air. Stokes-Chapman weaves in elements from the myths, blending them seamlessly with the historical setting. It’s rare to find a book that pays homage to the classics while also being innovative. The ambiguity surrounding the pithos and its possible supernatural properties kept me on my toes. Was it truly magical? Or were the events mere coincidences? This uncertainty, combined with the evident parallels between Dora and her Grecian namesake, created an intricate tapestry of a tale​1​.

Narrative Pace and Atmosphere

Admittedly, “Pandora” does start off at a leisurely pace. But, like a slow-burning candle, it gradually illuminates the room with its brilliance. The atmosphere is thick, almost tangible, making it easy to get lost in the world Stokes-Chapman has crafted. The tension, the mystery, and the underlying sense of something monumental about to happen – it’s all there, waiting to be unraveled​1​.

Audiobook vs. Traditional Reading

While I’m a traditional reader at heart, I’ve heard rave reviews about the audiobook version of “Pandora”. Olivia Vinall’s narration, from what I gather, adds a certain richness to the story, making it even more immersive. It’s been described as having a Dickensian vibe but without the usual narrative detours Dickens is known for. For those who prefer auditory experiences, this might be the way to go​​.

Final Thoughts

“Pandora” is more than just a historical fiction novel. It’s a journey through time, a dance with mythology, and a testament to the power of perseverance. Stokes-Chapman has crafted a world that feels both familiar and foreign, making it easy to lose oneself in its pages. It’s a book I can see myself revisiting in the future, and one I’d wholeheartedly recommend to others. If you’re in the mood for a tale that blends the past with a touch of the supernatural, “Pandora” might just be your next read.


  • Paula Davis

    Paula Davis is a dedicated and seasoned content writer for Dreaming and Reading, where she brings her extensive knowledge and passion for literature to a wide audience of fellow book enthusiasts. With the heart of a true bookworm, Paula has immersed herself in the literary world, devouring approximately 50 books annually for the last 15 years. This impressive reading habit has not only provided her with immense joy but has also significantly honed her expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness in the realm of book reviews. Her insightful and well-crafted reviews reflect her deep understanding and appreciation of various genres, offering valuable guidance to readers in search of their next great read. With a finger always on the pulse of the latest literary releases, Paula Davis is a trusted voice and a go-to source for book recommendations and reviews.

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