Pandora and the Decline of the Historical Fiction Genre

Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think, more than anything, this book encapsulates what I see with one of the most problematic aspects of modern publishing’s obsession with the debut novel. Heavily hyped (and indeed a book that caught the attention of both the Cavendish Prize and the Bath Novel Award), the book is presented beautifully, with both a captivating cover and an enticing premise.

But as a work of fiction, as historical fiction, the book was a bit of a disappointment, with badly characterised minor characters, an implausible plot (the book’s starting point is the retrieval of an ancient artefact from the wreckage of a shipwreck on the sea-bed, which would have been impossible at the time), and an inconceivably independent heroine for her time period.

I was really disappointed with a book that I had been looking forward to reading. I think, for me, this genre of historical fiction, is rapidly going the way of psychological thrillers. I just got tired of the banality and predictability of them all, and this compulsion with having some kind of twist in the tale of the plot. At the moment, I have read quite a few recently published historical fiction similar to Pandora. I am growing weary of the sameness of it all.

View all my reviews

Published by Deborah Siddoway

Dickens enthusiast, book lover, wine drinker, writer, lover of all things Victorian, and happily divorced mother of two lovely (and very tall) boys.

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