This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
by Susan Lobban
Nine years ago, Pandora was studying in Paris and madly in love with the city and charming Parisian Olivier. But when Pandora discovers she is pregnant, she flees back to Ireland without telling Olivier the reason why.
For her thirtieth birthday, Pandora arranges a girls’ holiday to Paris with the hidden agenda of getting back in touch with Olivier. A possible health scare, together with the fact that she lost her own mother at a young age, makes Pandora realize that her daughter may need a father in her life after all. When her trip does not go to plan she decides to gather her mementoes of Paris in a memory box for Iris to have one day. Pandora relives the love and passion of her past with every item she unearths, which makes her realise she is not living life to the full.
I was unaware, when I received this book, that it was a follow on from The Shoestring Club. But it did not matter that I had not read the first book because there was little mention of what had happened previously.
I really felt for Pandora and what she was going through. With her future health unclear, she worries for her daughter and wonders if she is settling for less in her personal life. She definitely has the weight of the world on her shoulders and I so wanted things to work out for her.
I was stunned to read that Olivier had no idea that his girlfriend was ever pregnant – he'd been living his life in Paris, heartbroken and oblivious to the fact that he had a daughter hundreds of miles away. As I read on I was given a glimpse into Pandora’s past, and why she made that life changing decision became clearer to me. As Pandora sifts through her keepsakes for the memory box, more and more is revealed of her love for Olivier and I was left thinking what might have been.
I could not get enough of Olivier and thought he was the perfect first love. It was refreshing to read that the years had not changed him. Pandora’s memories lived up to the reality and left her current boyfriend in the shade.
Unfortunately, I did not warm to many of the other characters in the book. Pandora’s boyfriend Declan really annoyed me and I could not see any redeeming qualities in him. I could not fathom why Pandora felt she had to settle for him and the baggage he came with. Her sister Julia also seemed to be too self-involved and some of her actions were truly unforgivable. Whenever either of them popped up in the story I just wanted to skip through to read more about Pandora and Olivier.
All in all this is a wonderfully romantic tale and I thought the idea of a memory box was a great way to provide an insight into the love that Pandora had lost.