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Pandora by [Cooper, Jilly]
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Pandora Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Length: 753 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Amazon Review

Jilly Cooper readers can always count on her to deliver the goods in her larger-than-life novels: a host of colourfully drawn characters, outrageous situations (always kept just the right side of plausible), compulsive plotting and (of course) a healthy dose of unbuttoned eroticism. Pandora has all the Cooper fingerprints and is the kind of shameless wallow that the lively Ms Cooper always unfailingly provides.

Raymond Belvedon is a young subaltern in 1944, advancing with the troops across Normandy, when he encounters a burning château. Recently occupied by a Nazi commander, the château is now deserted, and on the wall Raymond sees a small painting of Pandora unleashing the seven deadly sins from her famous box. Thinking he's found a Raphael, Raymond takes it from the frame and escapes. Four decades pass and Raymond has now established himself as a top art dealer with his own prestigious gallery in Mayfair. The picture of Pandora is the pride of his impressive Cotswold home where his six children were born. But he has a surprise in store: another grown child makes an appearance with her seductive boyfriend, Zac. The latter has designs on Raymond's Raphael. Under cover of a firework party, the Raphael goes missing.

Cooper's breathless narrative whisks the reader from London to Vienna, Geneva, Paris and New York in the hunt for the missing painting, building towards a sharply handled court case and a tense sale at Sotheby's. Cooper's territory here is the international art world, which has all the pre-requisite angles for Cooper-style drama, with its duplicitous dealers, avaricious artists and casual morality. There are some strong new protagonists here, such as the selfish artist Sienna, and Cooper also includes some familiar characters (including her trademark beguiling animals). Raymond, too, is one of her most richly drawn creations. Cooper fans need not hesitate. --Barry Forshaw


"Open the covers of Jilly Cooper's latest novel and you lift the lid of a Pandora's box. From the pages flies a host of delicious and deadly vices... Cooper's sheer exuberance and energy are contagious... Cooper fans will be waiting eagerly for the next novel" (The Times)

"The whole thing is a riot - vastly superior to anything else in a glossy cover" (Daily Telegraph)

"This is Jilly in top form with her most sparkling novel to date" (Evening Standard)

"One reads her for her joie de vivre, her maudlin romanticism, her love of arty references and her razor sharp sense of humour. Oh, and the sex" (New Statesman)

"Cooper is astute when describing the complex relationships between men and women. She's also on the nail when it comes to teenage-speak and can bring the English countryside alive more deftly than many literary stars... She's irresistible... Like Harvey Nicks and the promise of romantic dalliance, she frees you from the daily drudge and deposits you in an alternative universe where love, sex and laughter rule" (Independent on Sunday)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4307 KB
  • Print Length: 753 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital (23 Dec. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004I8VSBU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,988 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have always had a soft spot for Jilly Cooper but recently felt that she had lost her way a bit. Where the early books are great fun and her first three blockbusters (Riders, Rivals and Polo) make up a wildly entertaining trilogy, her last three (The Man who made Husbands Jealous, Appassionata and Score) seemed to be over-crowded with no real sense of the characters. Of course I still read them but crucially unlike the first three I didn't re-read them whenever I felt like a pick-me-up. Thankfully Pandora is a magnificent return to form. The character list is smaller than more recent books which helps and the early part of the novel which is set in the 60s and 70s pays dividends by building up a real sense of character. While some might quibble that there is no love story as strong as that in Rivals I think all three of the main love stories stand out and the theme of Pandora's Box is well worked out. By moving away from Rutminster Jilly has given her fans a return to the strong characters of her first novels (Sienna, Alazarin, Raymond and the awful David Pullborough particularly stood out for me) while some old favourites are given a new lease of life - it was great to see Rupert Campbell Black pre-Riders and behaving as badly as expected. Less happy at times then some of her other books - the early scenes of Raymond and Galena's marriage are especially well done as is Zac's need for belonging and Alazarin's desperate pride and refusal to confront his childhood's end. All in all this is everything you expect from a Jilly Cooper novel (bad puns and occasionally awful viewpoints included) and yet more - I'll certainly be re-reading it.
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Format: Hardcover
In the days of Riders and Rivals, I would devour a Jilly Cooper book in a weekend. I've had Pandora for three weeks and I am just getting to the end. Far, far better than "Score," but still not Jilly at her best. By the time it got to the court case I couldn't have cared less who had the right to the Raphael, and I actually skipped the long tales about what actually happened to it. Brilliant to catch glimpses of Rupert Campbell-Black, and I loved a lot of the new characters, like Sophy. I'm getting a bit bored with the fact that all of Cooper's heroines (except Taggie) are out and out bitches "because they're always vile when they feel insecure." I like to feel that sometimes the nice women get the men! Having said all the above, Jilly Cooper when not quite on form is still better than many writers at their best.
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By A Customer on 9 Jun. 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I used to enjoy Jilly Cooper's doorstep-sized romances but felt that she'd lost the way with her last two books: "Apassionata" lacked memorable characters, and "Score" had an interesting idea, but would have been unreadable to anyone who didn't know the back story. This time an extended prologue sets up the history of a new set of characters so that I feel this book could be read as a self-contained novel, although characters from the other books are worked into the story, for the most part very successfully. As one of the few readers who are not a fan of rich and overbearing Rupert Campbell-Black, I was pleasantly surprised that the author managed to give him his customary appearance without allowing him to take over.
This book works well as a sprawling family saga and the father figure, Raymond, is a nice mixture of characteristics, in fact probably the most likeable character in the book. In many ways a perfect gentleman, he has however committed one morally dubious act which is the starting point for the whole story, but I don't think you could fail to sympathise with him. His lifelong rivalry with his employee (and later business rival) David is one of the unifying themes, but just how far has David affected the family?
Because the fate of a valuable painting is the nominal theme of the book, no one romantic storyline takes precedence, but there are several couples who clearly need to find each other, and all of these strands reach satisfying conclusions by means of some clever, if sometimes rather obvious, twists. My favourite pairing involves a splendidly dishevelled and romantic man (but why did he have to have such a ridiculous name?) and a refreshingly "normal" woman. There's hope for us yet!
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Format: Hardcover
This book will satisfy all those Cooper fans that have been waiting (ever so impatiently) for her new novel. The book is set in the highly privilaged (and more than a little bitchy) world of art. The new characters are just as alive and utterly outrageous as the old farvourites that pop up for guest appearances and the story easily as addictive as in previous novels. In a line I couln't put the thing down.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was surprised indeed to read that some people thought this book was weak. More surprised still at the people who thought it worse than Score! I loved this book, and for me it shows a welcome return to the form that brought us Riders and Polo. I thought Appassionata was a bit sub- par; it took me a few attempts to get into it. Then I thought that Score was weaker still, with the murder mystery simply not gelling and the characters unlikeable. It was with some trepidation that I picked this up.
I am SO pleased Jilly is back! The new characters, true to past stories, are either very endearing or wonderfully hateable. I wanted to strangle Anthea and hug Sophy, slap Emerald and invite Alizarin home for a square meal. As usual, the animals feature largely in the story and I admit to crying when one of the dogs died. There's a point in every Jilly book where an animal dies and I blub, actually!(Sailor, Tero, Mattie, Maggie, Visitor... I remember you all!) The new characters- the Belvedon family- are mostly well characterised and give us hopefully more fodder for future books, and the old favourites are still knocking about. What sort of book would it be without R C-B?!
If you haven't read Jilly before, you can either read this first then go back and see what (and who) all the characters were doing twenty- odd years ago, or start from the beginning with Riders. I wish I hadn't read any, so I could start at the very beginning all over again!
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