Books · Read in 2022 · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The House with the Golden Door (Elodie Harper)

Just as good as the first one!

★★★★★★☆

Title: The House with the Golden Door (Wolf Den Trilogy #2)
Author: Elodie Harper (UK)
Genre: Fiction / Historical fiction
First published: 12 May 2022 by Head of Zeus
Edition: E-ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher

The life of a courtesan in Pompeii is glittering, yet precarious… Amara has escaped her life as a slave in the town’s most notorious brothel, but now her existence depends on the affections of her patron: a man she might not know as well as she once thought.

***

After having read (and loved) The Wolf Den last month, I was very eager to read this one. I am glad to say it did not disappoint. Maybe it was a touch less eventful than the first book, but it just worked for me.

I loved being back with Amara as she negotiates a tricky tightrope of love and life as the concubine of her rich patron. Of course things never go smoothly and it is harder to leave her life at The Wolf Den behind as she initially thought.

There is something very human about the way the author writes Amara’s story as she goes through to day to day life. You feel her anxiety, her hopelessness AND her hope. You feel like you are in Pompeii, like you understand the lives these slaves and she-wolves lead. How trapped they are. I even felt like I understood Felix in one way or another, the way his vileness was created in his past.

As it is supposed to, the love story in this one is heartbreaking and it is hard to see a happy outcome. Yet you hope along with Amara that there will be one day.

If you have not yet started this series, what are you waiting for?!

6 out of 7 stars

You can find my rather rambly reading diary whilst I was reading this one here.

Books · Reading Diary

Weekend (Some) Reading Diary: 6-9 May 2022

Reading just one book, sharing some music and my Kindle woes

Friday, 6 May 2022

21.20 – I meant to start this earlier, but I just did not get around to it! I have read a bit today. I got stuck into The House with the Golden Door by Elodie Harper. This is the follow-up to The Wolf Den, which I read and loved last month. When I saw this one on NetGalley, I just needed to read it! It’s out next week. I am only about 19% in. Partly because my Kindle battery has suddenly decided to be on its last legs and only holds its charge for a day! I will order a new battery for it. My husband is technically gifted enough to replace it (which I am not!). I have had it five years or so. I could buy a new one, but if a new battery does the trick, why not do so. It’s still fine otherwise!

After two years of managing to avoid it, I have been sick with Covid this past week, so after a couple of slow reading weeks, this one was not much better – cause well, fever and stuff. However, I am feeling much better and I feel like could be back in the swing! Hence a weekend bloggy blog. Though it’s my daughter’s birthday on Sunday and I am not sure how much reading I will get done then. OOPS!

Saturday, 7 May 2022

09.40 – Great start to the morning. I broke a bit off my back molar… again! It just got fixed a month ago! Ah well, it’s not hurting, so it can wait. They don’t want to see me right now anyway with my Covid! I wasn’t even eating anything hard or crunchy!

Anyway, I got 25% into The House With The Golden Door yesterday before falling asleep. I will try and read a chunk today.

I did want to share a song I have been loving so much this past week. This guy is a Belgian musician and singer, with a mixed Belgian/ Egyptian/ Lebanese background. I love the way his music mixes elements from his heritage and the tone of his voice is just mesmerizing. On an interesting side note, Colin Greenwood of Radiohead plays bass on this song. I presume he will be playing bass on the whole new album (which I hope will be announced soon!). Anyway, not enough people know about this artist and they should because he writes incredible songs. The music, the lyrics, the stories he tells – I just think he’s an extraordinary young artist. Check the video out if you have a moment.

Back to books now! I will read a bit and hope my Kindle wants to hold its charge.

23.47 – Well, this day flew by! I did not read an awful lot, but I am about to go to bed and will read a bit more. I am at 37% at the moment. I had hoped to get to 50% at least, but nevermind. I am still enjoying it a lot. I am curious where the story will go in this book. I think it’s supposed to be a trilogy.

Unfortunately I still tested vaguely positive for Covid and we have had to cancel by daughter’s birthday. I feel so sorry for her. She had been looking forward to it. We will celebrating bit by bit over the next week or two, as no one can make it on the same day.

Well, we will it make the best that we can with just the three of us. I think my parents are popping around anyway to give her her presents and will just keep their distance. I will still be baking a cake in the morning, as whatever happens, it’s still her birthday and cake needs to be consumed!

Sunday, 8 May 2022

21.55 – As expected, today was about being a family. My daughter’s birthday was a success despite the lack of guests. It was just a nice day to spend together. We baked a cake with marshmallows on it. She had a few presents and the sun was out. In the early evening we watched a movie together.

People are visiting for her birthday later in the week when the danger of Covid infection has passed.

I got to almost 60% of The House With The Golden Door. It’s been a bitty day, as expected, but I managed to get some reading in! Tomorrow is going to be a nice sunny day and I don’t have anything on, so I will add another day of diary, as it’s a bit sparse!

As for the second book in the Wolf Den Trilogy, I am enjoying it quite a bit. I am feeling a bit anxious for Amara. Something bad is about to happen I’m sure! I love Amara. There’s something so human about her. It’s interesting to see a couple of her old friends/colleagues in new places and how they are coping. I am especially curious to see where side character Britannica is going. Her fighting skills must come in handy at some point! I am still waiting for some revelations about the love interests.

And of course, there’s the silent presence of Vesuvius. When is that coming into play? There was a mention of earlier earthquakes somewhere. Ominous!

Monday, 9 May 2022

09.28 – I will make this my final day of this rather bitty blog. I will try and get a chunk read this morning. It’s supposed to be 23C today, which is nice! Hopefully I will get a chance to just sit outside and read for a bit later. Our Airbnb guests are leaving today and new ones are not arriving until later in the week, so we have a bit of breathing space.

Thought I’d share another bit of music I am enjoying at the moment. Although Arcade Fire’s new album WE is yet to grow on me, I enjoyed their SNL performance!

13.20 – I managed to read a bit this morning. Time to do some chores and then hopefully I will be able to sit outside and enjoy the spring sunshine whilst reading.

17.15 – Well, for once things went according to plan and I finished the The House with the Golden Door! And I enjoyed is just as much as The Wolf Den! Even if it is a bit less eventful. It’s another 6* read for me. Actually, it was the perfect book for me to stretch out in the sun with and just enjoyed the reading experience today.

I will leave this blog here. I will write up my review in a bit. All I know that right now, I have the book fuzzies and that’s a great feeling!

Now, what to read next?

PS My Kindle is suddenly behaving itself!

Books · Read in 2022 · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The Wolf Den (Elodie Harper)

Just what I was in the mood for!

★★★★★★☆

Title: The Wolf Den (Wolf Den Trilogy #1)
Author: Elodie Harper
Genre: Historical Fiction
First published: 2021
Edition: Paperback, published by Head of Zeus in 2021

Amara was once a beloved daughter, until her father’s death plunged her family into penury. Now she is a slave in Pompeii’s infamous brothel, owned by a man she despises. Sharp, clever and resourceful, Amara is forced to hide her talents. For as a she-wolf, her only value lies in the desire she can stir in others.

***

Sometimes you read a book at exactly the right time. That is how this one felt for me. It is a wonderfully written historical fiction novel, and it was just what I needed. It worked wonderfully as an escape, into the seedy side of Pompeii in this instance.

Amara is an easy character to like and relate to. Her feelings and her character make sense as do her actions. What can you do when you are a slave and a prostitute? You do not have much choice, and most of the novel was exactly about that. The lack of choice and looking for a way out.

I enjoyed the relationships between the women, not only friendship, but also rivaly. I never felt it went over the top. Their relationships with the men that rule their lives are far more complicated and heartbreaking.

The author brought Pompeii in Roman times to life very well. I believed I was in the city and following Amara as she tried to make the best of a bad situation.

I can’t wait to read the next book in this trilogy.

6 out of 7 stars