Pandora by Susan Stokes Chapman
Pandora Book Cover Pandora
Susan Stokes Chapman
Young Adult fiction, Greek mythology fiction, Ancient history fiction, Romance, Paranormal Fiction
Harper Audio
January 17, 2023
Audiobook, Kindle, Paperback

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

But what Edward discovers about the vase has Dora questioning everything she has believed about her life, her family, and the world as she knows it. As Dora uncovers the truth, she comes to understand that some doors are locked and some mysteries are buried for a reason, while others are closer to the surface than they appear.

Pandora’s Jar

Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman and narrated by the mesmerizing voice of Olivia Vinall is the perfect overall literary experience. This is a fascinating story of a young woman who is trying to make her way in the world after the manner in which her now deceased parents did. However, living in Georgian England means that there are many obstacles facing a girl under the guardainship of her uncle and with her own limited means. Driven by the memory and talent of her Grecian mother and the decline in the family business, caused by her uncle’s mismanagement, Dora Blake is determined to succeed no matter what the cost. Fate seems to introduce her to Edward Lawrence, a young man stymied by societal contrstraints but trying to follow his dreams into antiquities, at the same time a large Grecian vase is delivered to the antiquities store. Their meeting initiates a partnership to solve the mystery of the vase, but those same fates seem to have more in store for them personally as they dive deeper into this enigma.

Pandora is a richly written tale with a fascinating setting, well-fleshed out characters, and a mesmerizing plot. It is a seamless melding of Greek mythology and a fictional reality that opens all sorts of imaginative possibilities. Dora and Edward are characters that are easy to like and get behind as they struggle with their own personal insecurities and ambitions to be better. Together they begin to realize that they can be even more complete with the other in their life and that they can overcome obstacles that had seemed insurmountable when faced alone.

signed and dated l.l.: W P Frith. 1877

I was intrigued with the premise Pandora from the start and that enthusiasm for this story was solidfied by the narration of Olivia Vinall. She has the perfect voice to fit with an English setting and a range of accents and pitches that make you forget you are listening to only one person and not a cast of characters. One of my biggest hang-ups with audiobooks is when the narration becomes a distraction from the story-telling because the narrator doesn’t have a number of distinct sounds or the ability to voice different genders, ages, or dialects characters very well. There was never any doubt the further I got into the experience of listening to Pandora that this would be a five star review!