The House with the Golden Door (Wolf Den Trilogy #2) by Elodie Harper

My Five Word TL:DR Review : Even better than the first

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Last year I read and thoroughly enjoyed The Wolf Den, a brutally honest tale of slavery and another book that follows the recent trend of looking at history through the eyes of those that are often overlooked.  I love this type of reimagining and the setting for the Wolf Den trilogy is a fascinating one to visit.  The House with the Golden Door continues the story of Amara whose life has has gone from one of cherished comfort to a slave, a prostitute and now a courtesan.

We pick up the story with Amara living in relative luxury, purchased by her lover and another patron and given her freedom she has a home, food, clothes and lives a life of ease compared to her time in the Wolf Den.  Her status is such that she mixes with other courtesans who provide her with advice and her home is protected by her patron’s own steward, guard and maid.  Realistically speaking, having read Amara’s earlier story you might think her life would be complete but Amara still walks a fine line, keeping her patron happy whilst juggling the loneliness of her new existence.

I confess that picking this one up I wondered where the story would take us next and maybe slightly worried that we might follow Amara in a much more subdued role.  I was wrong.  Amara is intelligent and ambitious.  she’s determined to make good on this short period in her life when her attractiveness pays well and understands how tenuous her situation really is.  On top of this she made firm friends in the Den and finds herself not only missing the women she bonded with but wrestling with a conscience that desperately wants to help them.  With this in mind she sets out to meet her former owner.  I won’t elaborate on the plot too much.  What you really need to know is that Amara undoubtedly makes mistakes, you can see her doing so and you’re wringing your hands wondering how she’ll manage, she also finds love where she least expects, her friendships are ultimately tested and while some don’t stand the test of time others really shine.

Once again Harper manages to transport us to a vibrant and lively Pompeii.  She creates a story that is beautiful to read.  The clothes, food, shops, lifestyle, customs and history all play a part and yet there’s no info dumps.  Everything feels naturally integrated and helps to spin a picture as you read.  The writing is once again what I would call modern or contemporary but I found myself really enjoying it.  It makes the story a breeze to read through and the pages seemed to flow with indecent haste.  And, in similar style to the first in the series this is a honest retelling.  Amara may have been freed but this is still no fairytale ending and her patron is the furthest thing from a prince in shining armour.

I absolutely loved that the author writes this in a way that makes you really consider the life these people led.  Here we have Amara, technically a free woman and yet under a contract with stipulations about her conduct that should she err would see her revert back to slavery.  She certainly doesn’t feel like a free woman and the amount of fawning that she must do in order to please her new lover also gives lie to the fact.

On top of this the story is once again very focused on friendship and this angle undoubtedly leads Amara into some tricky situations.  We again meet up with Victoria and Britannica and I have to say I loved Britannica in this instalment and can’t wait to see how she develops in the next book.  Felix also plays a strong role and let me just say – I want to punch him in the face!  And I’m not a violent person.  But dear god give me strength that man wants slapping hard (the only problem being he would probably enjoy it).  Anyway, moving on.  Amara finds a new love interest that places her in great danger whilst at the same time as falling under the protection of two lovely ladies who provide her with a place of safety.

There is once again plenty going on here.  Some of it is quite heartbreaking, similar to the first instalment and a good deal of it is shocking in it’s frankness but this only helps to give firm foundations to the way the key players behave.  Amara is very focused.  She finds herself opening up to love but at the same time she is absolutely resolute in her desire, or in fact need, to find stability.  Nothing will stand in her way.  It gives me pause for thought.  Was the Wolf Den named because it was actually inhabited by a pack of wolves or because the wolves were the customers waiting at the door.

I don’t have any criticisms for this.  I found it a fast paced, entertaining, sometimes shocking and often emotional read.  It whisked me away to an ill fated land that sprang off the page and left me wanting more.  It’s going to be a long wait for the third instalment.  Honestly, I could read about Amara and the predicaments she finds herself in all day long.  I could read a spin off simply about Britannica.  And I would love to see this picked up and adapted for the big screen.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 5 stars

8 Responses to “The House with the Golden Door (Wolf Den Trilogy #2) by Elodie Harper”

  1. Tammy

    I’m sad I’m not reading this series, it sounds amazing. Maybe someday, but in the meantime I’ll enjoy your reviews😁

  2. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    I remember being intrigued by your review of The Wolf Den, so I’m glad to learn that the story continues with the same narrative strength as in the first book. One for my “wanted” list, that’s certain! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I really enjoyed this one – even more than the first. Perhaps, because I expected this one to have a more settled/easy feel but it turned out to be quite the contrary.
      Lynn 😀

  3. pagesandtea

    I wish I’d read the first book already. Glad you enjoyed this 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I’m loving this series so far, it definitely has a light feel to it but it just has me hooked.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I need this so much! Even more excited to see the 5 star rating. I’m obsessed with everything Pompeii these days and I thought she did such a great job with the history.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yes, me too, I’m loving this. Of course, it’s told in a very modern voice but I’m so enjoying it. Totally hooked.
      Lynn 😀

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