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The House with the Golden Door

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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. At night she dreams of the wolf den, still haunted by her past. Amara longs for the women she was forced to leave be 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. At night she dreams of the wolf den, still haunted by her past. Amara longs for the women she was forced to leave behind and worse, finds herself pursued by the man who once owned her. In order to be free, she will need to be as ruthless as he is. Amara knows her existence in Pompeii is subject to Venus, the goddess of love. Yet finding love may prove to be the most dangerous act of all. We return to Pompeii for the second instalment in Elodie Harper's Wolf Den Trilogy, set in the town's lupanar and reimagining the lives of women long overlooked.


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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. At night she dreams of the wolf den, still haunted by her past. Amara longs for the women she was forced to leave be 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. At night she dreams of the wolf den, still haunted by her past. Amara longs for the women she was forced to leave behind and worse, finds herself pursued by the man who once owned her. In order to be free, she will need to be as ruthless as he is. Amara knows her existence in Pompeii is subject to Venus, the goddess of love. Yet finding love may prove to be the most dangerous act of all. We return to Pompeii for the second instalment in Elodie Harper's Wolf Den Trilogy, set in the town's lupanar and reimagining the lives of women long overlooked.

30 review for The House with the Golden Door

  1. 5 out of 5

    jessica

    whilst i loved the first book because it didnt hold back and felt true to the setting and plot, i appreciate this sequel for its character development and connections. it gives a little more opportunity for some world building as amaras life expands beyond the brothel and she meets and develops relationships with new people. the thing is - amara drove me crazy with her actions the last 20% or so. like, i understand why she does what she does, but its extremely unsatisfying for the reader. the di whilst i loved the first book because it didnt hold back and felt true to the setting and plot, i appreciate this sequel for its character development and connections. it gives a little more opportunity for some world building as amaras life expands beyond the brothel and she meets and develops relationships with new people. the thing is - amara drove me crazy with her actions the last 20% or so. like, i understand why she does what she does, but its extremely unsatisfying for the reader. the direction the story goes in because of her choices makes sense and does fit the overall tone of the narrative, so its consistent, but its just not enjoyable to read. if that makes sense. so heres me hoping the next book can turn some things around! thank you, union square & co., for the ARC! ↠ 3.5 stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sujoya

    4.5⭐️ “Gaia Plinia Amara, Liberta” In AD 75, Amara from The Wolf Den is now a freedwoman, no longer owned by Felix and forced to work in his brothel. She now lives in 'The House with the Golden Door' as a concubine to Rufus to whom Pliny has signed over his rights to her. But is she truly free of her past and all she has had to bear to get to this point? As she navigates her way through her new life she is haunted by the brutality, pain, loss and tragedy in her past. “Her past is the whirlpool Ch 4.5⭐️ “Gaia Plinia Amara, Liberta” In AD 75, Amara from The Wolf Den is now a freedwoman, no longer owned by Felix and forced to work in his brothel. She now lives in 'The House with the Golden Door' as a concubine to Rufus to whom Pliny has signed over his rights to her. But is she truly free of her past and all she has had to bear to get to this point? As she navigates her way through her new life she is haunted by the brutality, pain, loss and tragedy in her past. “Her past is the whirlpool Charybdis, pulling her down under the waves where she cannot breathe.” While she adjusts to her new life, she acknowledges that her well-being is contingent upon how happy she can keep her Patron, Rufus, who though not quite as true as Felix, is jealous and possessive and does not hesitate to hurt her when displeased. Amara is strong and pragmatic enough to acknowledge that her arrangement with Rufus is not permanent and a time will come when she would have to fend for herself. “The things people do when they know you don’t matter. When they know you are nothing.” As the story progresses, we see how she learns to harden her heart and use her intelligence and understanding of the people around her to further her interests and those she cares about. She uses her knack for business and numbers to continue her own money lending operations and creates a network of trusted friends and allies – courtesans, business owners and former clients. She misses her sisters from the brothel and is concerned with their fate in the hands of the cruel Felix. Her relationship with Felix remains complicated and she is also not quite free of Felix’s hold on her as her intentions to help her sisters who remain in the brothel results in her in debt to him and having to deal with him and his devious intentions, all the while keeping this a secret from Rufus. “I am like you Felix, but not you. If you could have brought yourself to acknowledge me, instead of humiliating me, nobody would have been more loyal.” The House with the Golden Door by Elodie Harper is a captivating story. I enjoyed the setting of the ancient city of Pompeii, the descriptions of the festivities and the ceremonies as well as the references to Greek and Roman Mythology. Elodie Harper shines in her characterizations. I enjoyed Amara’s character development- we see her strength and also her vulnerability and her desire for respect, true love and friendship as is evident in her relationship with Philos. Though her position has been elevated by her 'freedom', her status is not a secure one. It is often difficult to justify the risks she takes and the decisions she makes,but the author does a magnificent job of depicting the complexities in Amara’s character. I also loved how Britannica’s character was developed in this story. Even the characters of Rufus and Felix, though immensely unlikabe, are well fleshed out. Amara’s story and the stories of those around her present a heartbreaking picture of the degradation and abuse endured by slaves and their offspring in that era. The descriptions of the slave market and treatment of slaves – those born into slavery and those turned into slaves from captivity are hard to read. Freedom came with a price with terms solely dependent upon the owner’s discretion and came with no guarantee that freedom could prevent you from being separated from your family. As with the previous book, each chapter begins with a quote from either graffiti on the walls of the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii or from the writings of ancient Roman speakers. In the author’s note at the end of the book , she discusses the importance of these quotes. “It is easy to minimize the difficult experiences of Roman women and enslaved people after the passage of so many centuries. They did not have access to belief systems- such as Feminism or the emancipation movement- which would have allowed them to challenge their treatment in a systematic way. But we do have evidence that the Romans fully understood the horror of having your agency denied.” The author also shares a line from Pompeiian graffiti that “boasts about the endemic abuse enslaved women endured” that reads “Grab your slave girl whenever you want; it’s your right to use her”. The author also mentions that most of the accounts of slavery from that era were written by slave owners and that one could try to comprend the slaves' perspectives in their own voices only from their epitaphs. In The Wolf Den Trilogy, Elodie Harper attempts to reimagine the lives of the enslaved women of that era and gives them a voice. Throughout the narrative , as we follow Amara in her new life, it is difficult to not question the meaning of "freedom" in the context of Amara's life and whether Amara is truly"free". Is she truly more in control of her life now ? To what extent is her life and her fate influenced by those more powerful than her? Having loved The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper, I was eager to read the second book in the trilogy and I was not disappointed. A lot is going on in this novel but the author manages to tell the story without it becoming too heavy or tedious. While I will admit that this might not have been as compelling as The Wolf Den , The House with the Golden Door is a beautifully-written novel and a magnificent continuation of Amara’s story. I cannot wait for the final installment of the trilogy!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lucy

    4.5***** While I didn’t enjoy this as much as book 1, this was still SO amazing! I still sped through it - reading the last 50% in one go. As soon as I was approved for this on NetGalley, I started reading it. Amara is out of the Wolf Den but is sorely missing this sisterhood she had, and deeply grieving the death of her truest friend in book 1. She is learning what it means to be a concubine and how this elevated her position in society, above that of her previous slave status and prostitute. We s 4.5***** While I didn’t enjoy this as much as book 1, this was still SO amazing! I still sped through it - reading the last 50% in one go. As soon as I was approved for this on NetGalley, I started reading it. Amara is out of the Wolf Den but is sorely missing this sisterhood she had, and deeply grieving the death of her truest friend in book 1. She is learning what it means to be a concubine and how this elevated her position in society, above that of her previous slave status and prostitute. We see her troubles adjusting to this, as well as trying to move on from her past. However, Felix will not let her go that easily. And not only does she have to deal with her completely horrible and dispicable previous owner, she’s also got new challenges to face, including keeping her patrons interest, and a dangerous/forbidden love which could leave devastating consequences. In this we see Amara just trying to navigate a new scenario and situation for her, as well as trying to improve on her current situation and help those she loves… even if it means destroying herself in the process. We see her make difficult decisions and great sacrifices. She also becomes more cold and calculating- but it’s the only route of survival she has to try and save everyone she loves. In this we also get to see her bond more closely to Britannica and more about Britannica- which I really enjoyed. I loved seeing the development of this deeply loyal and ferocious fighter become a fantastic confidante and teacher to Amara. I really enjoy Elodie Harpers writing- the way she shows the delicate and often stringent relationships of those in the wolf den, the new relationships between courtesans and the slaves in general. She brings life to Pompeii of what it could’ve been like, and I love how she’s uses facts and actual people and weaves them into the story. This book broke my heart with grief but also had me so enraptured and tense reading these lines. I didn’t enjoy the decisions Amara made in the last 25% of this book and I found these decisions made no sense (reflected in the rating), however, I am still so involved with wanting to see what happens to her and the other characters in this world. I cannot wait for Book 3 where I really hope Felix dies. Thank you to NetGalley for providing this E-Arc.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Maja - BibliophiliaDK ✨

    NOT AS RIVETING AS THE FIRST IN THE SERIES The Wolf Den knocked my socks off. So I might have gone into this book with high expectations. Sadly, the things I really enjoyed about the first book were in short supply here. The candor, which made the first book so special, was toned down here. The story dragged on a bit and lacked urgency for much of the story, which was a real setback. However, I will still be looking forward to the final book in the series. ARC provided by the publisher through NOT AS RIVETING AS THE FIRST IN THE SERIES The Wolf Den knocked my socks off. So I might have gone into this book with high expectations. Sadly, the things I really enjoyed about the first book were in short supply here. The candor, which made the first book so special, was toned down here. The story dragged on a bit and lacked urgency for much of the story, which was a real setback. However, I will still be looking forward to the final book in the series. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review Follow me for more book loving content! Blog ✨ Facebook ✨ Instagram ✨ Twitter Blog Post: 10 Criminally Underrated YA Books with an LGBTQ Twist

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dan Bassett

    The life of a courtesan in Pompeii is glittering, yet precarious. Amara’s life could not be more different from just a short while ago after being able to declare herself no longer a slave or whore, having escaped the town’s most notorious brothel and it’s nefarious and heartless owner Felix, yet now it seems she must play a different sort of game where yet again her future and happiness are weighed against the affections of her patron: a man which once upon a time she doted on and saw as her way The life of a courtesan in Pompeii is glittering, yet precarious. Amara’s life could not be more different from just a short while ago after being able to declare herself no longer a slave or whore, having escaped the town’s most notorious brothel and it’s nefarious and heartless owner Felix, yet now it seems she must play a different sort of game where yet again her future and happiness are weighed against the affections of her patron: a man which once upon a time she doted on and saw as her way out of a life of oppression and abuse but perhaps he isn’t the man she thought he was. The Wolf Den comes to Amara in her dreams, haunting her and reminding her that those she considered friends are still at the mercy of Felix and the men who see them as nothing more than pieces of meat, and memories of someone Amara had such affection for but was taken so brutally from her. Now being pursued by the man who once’ owned her, she must be ruthless if she ever wishes to be free from him once and for all but to do this, Amara may have to become the very thing she despises the most, compromising both her morals, and possibly her very freedom in the process. Will Amara ever be completely free or will the shadows of her past cast over her forever, trapping not only herself but also the ghost of someone she once loved. Continuing Amara’s struggle with life now being a woman who is no longer shackled to the Wolf Den, only cements her further as someone who only wants to truly be free and live her own life: raw, beautiful, emotional and truly spellbinding, the author yet again draws a spectacular landscape of life in Pompeii which is genuinely unmissable.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Moan Inc.

    Given that The Wolf Den was one of my favourite reads of 2021, it's safe to say I was counting down the days to finally getting my hands on The House With The Golden Door. And let me tell you - it did not disappoint. Amara is now freed from her life at the brothel in Pompeii, but in THWTGD she now faces a plethora of new problems, stuck in limbo between her new life with her patron and her old life as a prostitute. The way she navigates not only being a woman in an ancient roman society, but also Given that The Wolf Den was one of my favourite reads of 2021, it's safe to say I was counting down the days to finally getting my hands on The House With The Golden Door. And let me tell you - it did not disappoint. Amara is now freed from her life at the brothel in Pompeii, but in THWTGD she now faces a plethora of new problems, stuck in limbo between her new life with her patron and her old life as a prostitute. The way she navigates not only being a woman in an ancient roman society, but also the limitations of her "freedom" make this novel heartbreaking, momentous, and utterly captivating. Will she ever truly free herself of her old owner, Felix? Will her patron, Rufus, remain besotted with her once she becomes available to his every beck and call? Will Amara learn how to stand on her own two feet and manipulate the society she has been thrust into, or will she fall into habits modelled to her by the worst Pompeii has to offer? Harper does an incredible job at keeping the stakes as high as ever in the sequel to The Wolf Den. I loved Amara's development into a more independent woman (more* being the key word there), and adored Brittanica's character arc (THAT ENDING!!! COME ON!!!). I also appreciated how the deconstruction of the women's once close friendship was realistic given the circumstances of their difficult lives - something that no doubt must have been hard to write. I mean, don't we all want to read perfectly happy endings? Such a weird thing to say, I know, but I liked how Harper is clearly unafraid to be reliable to the harsh ancient world she sets her narrative in. All of these points just make this trilogy one of the best historical fiction series I've read ... maybe ever.

  7. 4 out of 5

    bookishcharli

    I absolutely loved The Wolf Den and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of The House with the Golden Door, so imagine my absolute JOY when Head of Zeus offered me a place on the blog tour. My girl Amara is out of the wolf den and is sorely missing the pack she had. Now she’s a concubine and is trying to adjust to her new life, but it’s not any easier than before, because she will eventually lose her age and her looks, and she will then be removed by her Patron. Amara has to adjust to her new I absolutely loved The Wolf Den and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of The House with the Golden Door, so imagine my absolute JOY when Head of Zeus offered me a place on the blog tour. My girl Amara is out of the wolf den and is sorely missing the pack she had. Now she’s a concubine and is trying to adjust to her new life, but it’s not any easier than before, because she will eventually lose her age and her looks, and she will then be removed by her Patron. Amara has to adjust to her new life while still grieving the loss of her most trusted friend, and feeling guilty and worried about the women that are still suffering in the wolf den at the hands of Felix. We see Amara shut down her inner feelings in order to save those she loves, she knows it will ruin her to do so but she’s willing to pay that price. There’s very clear character development in this book as she’s thrust into more hostile situations. Elodie’s writing is as beautifully captivating as it is in the first book and I can’t wait to see how this will all pan out in the next book. Will Amara ever be truly free in a world where women are seen as possessions and nothing more? We’ll have to wait for the next instalment to find out. Thank you so much to Head of Zeus for having me on the blog tour!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Beckee❤️

    The Wolf Den (book one of the Wolf Den trio) was one of my favourite books of last year. It was innovative, dramatic, engaging, it ended up in my top five as it literally blew my mind! So imagine how excited I was to finally pick up my library copy of THWTGD. Well I gotta say, upon finishing it this morning, I'm a little disappointed. I found the first two thirds of the book kinda boring if I'm being honest, it just didn't grip me like TWD did unfortunately. Now I appreciate the build up is cruci The Wolf Den (book one of the Wolf Den trio) was one of my favourite books of last year. It was innovative, dramatic, engaging, it ended up in my top five as it literally blew my mind! So imagine how excited I was to finally pick up my library copy of THWTGD. Well I gotta say, upon finishing it this morning, I'm a little disappointed. I found the first two thirds of the book kinda boring if I'm being honest, it just didn't grip me like TWD did unfortunately. Now I appreciate the build up is crucial to the ending, to set the scene and tell the story but it just felt a bit blah and underwhelming and I also found myself forgetting who a lot of the characters were. That being said, the ending completely threw me, I was NOT expecting it and that alone boosted my rating from a 3* to a 4*. I will definitely be finishing the trio when the third book is released because I desperately have to know how Amara's story ends!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Emma Hopwood

    I highly anticipated reading the second instalment of Elodie Harpers trilogy and it did not disappoint! From the first page I was once again drawn into the life of Amara as she battles to survive in Pompeii. The writing is excellent and I found it easy to visualise what I was reading. The story is full of twists and turns and I didn’t want it to end. I cannot wait for the third instalment and to see what other gems Elodie Harper releases after that! Massive thanks to House of Zeus and NetGalley I highly anticipated reading the second instalment of Elodie Harpers trilogy and it did not disappoint! From the first page I was once again drawn into the life of Amara as she battles to survive in Pompeii. The writing is excellent and I found it easy to visualise what I was reading. The story is full of twists and turns and I didn’t want it to end. I cannot wait for the third instalment and to see what other gems Elodie Harper releases after that! Massive thanks to House of Zeus and NetGalley for allowing me access to this book. #elodieharper #housewiththegoldendoor #houseofzeus #netgalley

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie (Bookfever)

    Sequels can often be disappointing and not live up to the first book which has happened to me more times than I can count. But that's why I'm so very glad that this wasn't the case with The House with the Golden Door by Elodie Harper. I absolutely loved my time reading the book and it of course made me crave more. It's now in my top three of favorite books of the year! First a little description of the story. Spoilers are ahead so be prepared! After the end of the first book, The Wolf Den, where Sequels can often be disappointing and not live up to the first book which has happened to me more times than I can count. But that's why I'm so very glad that this wasn't the case with The House with the Golden Door by Elodie Harper. I absolutely loved my time reading the book and it of course made me crave more. It's now in my top three of favorite books of the year! First a little description of the story. Spoilers are ahead so be prepared! After the end of the first book, The Wolf Den, where Amara got freed, she's living as her new patron's courtesan and has more security than she ever had before as a prostitue in Felix's brothel. Now Amara has a beautiful home, money and her own slaves which she has complicated feelings over. But even though she has more now she had before, Amara is haunted by past in the Wolf Den and what happened to her close friend Dido who died at the end of book one. There's also her former master Felix who seems determined to keep his power over Amara even now. As Amara falls for someone she can't openly love, things get more dangerous and riskier than ever before. This second book wasn't the happily ever after for Amara even though she's a freedwoman now. She has to pretend to be crazy about Rufus, always worrying if she'll offend him somehow and be dumped by him. She also can't seem to get away from Felix, especially after buying and freeing Victoria from the Wolf Den. At least there were some people she could still trust, old and new friends alike. But make no mistake, the stakes in the book were higher than ever and it was full of betrayal, gasp-out-loud plot twists and one hell of an ending! But let's talk about my absolute highlight from the book. Brittanica! She was also working in Felix's Wolf Den and Amara also got her out of there alongside with Victoria. Brittanica's character developement was freaking amazing and her loyalty to Amara was just fantastic to read about as well. I loved how stabby she was. She's by far my favorite character in the series now. I want her to be my friend too! The House with the Golden Door by Elodie Harper is a worthy sequel to The Wolf Den. The writing still blew me away, just like the vivid descriptions of Pompeii. It was like I was there in person. I already can't wait for the third and final book to get in my hands. I'm sure it'll be just as an amazing read as this one was.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mana

    The House with the Golden Door is a second part of a trilogy. You can read here (https://focusread.blogspot.com/2021/0... about the first book - The Wolf Den. Amara escapes the brothel, but she isn't free at all. She feels captured and lonely in a golden cage and wears a mask of lovely, delicate and naive concubine. It doesn’t matter that she outwitted the most violent pimp in Pompeii, or that she could move mountains with her rage. This is not what her lover wants to see, so she hides it all. Sh The House with the Golden Door is a second part of a trilogy. You can read here (https://focusread.blogspot.com/2021/0... about the first book - The Wolf Den. Amara escapes the brothel, but she isn't free at all. She feels captured and lonely in a golden cage and wears a mask of lovely, delicate and naive concubine. It doesn’t matter that she outwitted the most violent pimp in Pompeii, or that she could move mountains with her rage. This is not what her lover wants to see, so she hides it all. She holds the master's attention, even manipulates him, because she knows that her look will last only a short period of time, lovers are just as bad, but a closet full of coin never made any woman cry. Freedom has already exacted a heavy price. She cannot give up everything, or she will have nothing left of herself. As is a first book, this one is also extremely enchanting, wonderfully written with vivid characters, real figures from history (Pliny) and in an atmosphere of an ancient Pompeii in the shadow of forthcoming volcanic eruption. And in the middle - powerful Amara - love, grief, friendship and everyday struggle (of slaves and freemen) to achieve better life. Every chapter begins with graffiti or a quote from ancient Roman era as a reminder that human nature stays the same. Elodie Harper is a great storyteller and I am looking forward to Amara's adventures in Rome. Highly recommended.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte Murphy

    What i love most about this book and The Wolf Den as well, is the ever present sense of doom. While this might sound like a terrible thing to get from a book lol, when it has you turning the page when its well past your bedtime and your baby is due to wake up in a hour, it is a GREAT thing! haha THWTGD picks up exactly after the Wolf Den and our MC Amara is living life as a Freedwoman, though on very precarious ground. I loved living through the uncertainty of Amara's circumstance while simultaneo What i love most about this book and The Wolf Den as well, is the ever present sense of doom. While this might sound like a terrible thing to get from a book lol, when it has you turning the page when its well past your bedtime and your baby is due to wake up in a hour, it is a GREAT thing! haha THWTGD picks up exactly after the Wolf Den and our MC Amara is living life as a Freedwoman, though on very precarious ground. I loved living through the uncertainty of Amara's circumstance while simultaneously trying to work out where the doom/surprises were going to come from. The reality of women and their choices in the ancient world, or indeed lack thereof, is written so incredibly well that you're able to feel all the emotions with Amara even while starting to dislike her. Again, an odd thing to say but a MC with such layers to their character is a welcome change from a lot of characters that are pretty one sided and lack any depth. Amara is complex in such a way that on the one hand, had me wanting her to be knocked down a few pegs (view spoiler)[ because of the way she was embarrassed by Philos and looking down on Victoria however deserved when around her new friends (hide spoiler)] while still rooting for her not to be harmed on the other. Amara's relationships are what makes the story and those with Victoria, Felix and Rufus are some of the most heartbreaking scenes i've read. Without spoilers, to know that people can use, betray, handle others in such a way is mind-blowing and so refreshing to read in terms of realism and igniting real emotions. Her complicated relationship with Felix was a highlight (view spoiler)[ especially because I honestly believe that if he had agreed to free her, marry her and allow her to handle his business with reall respect, Amara would have never left him. She says this of course but the reality of that for me, really had me hating her. (hide spoiler)] The ending had me in my feels (view spoiler)[ because as a mother, having to read Amara having to leave her baby behind was too much to bare (hide spoiler)] even while understanding exactly why she had to do it. I cannot wait for the final book in the trilogy and seeing how/if the eruption play a part in Amara's final chapter!

  13. 4 out of 5

    rebecca

    For me, this was a step-down from the first book. The dialogue felt more unnatural, the romance was predictable beat-for-beat, and the plot didn’t seem as tight as The Wolf Den. It felt a lot longer than the first book, and there was a lack of urgency throughout much of the book. It’s not bad, far from it, but I don’t feel intrigued for the next book after reading this one. Thank you to Netgalley for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Olivia | Books to Liv by

    Rating: 4 stars HEA: (view spoiler)[ No (hide spoiler)] Thanks to @headofzeus and @netgalley for gifting me this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Thoughts and opinions are my own. Some people will remember my light criticism regarding The Wolf's Den. I am an Italian art historian, I have studied much archaeology throughout my life, but I hadn't found some of the details I had wanted in the first book. Of course it had been an engrossing read and the story intriguing enough to keep me g Rating: 4 stars HEA: (view spoiler)[ No (hide spoiler)] Thanks to @headofzeus and @netgalley for gifting me this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Thoughts and opinions are my own. Some people will remember my light criticism regarding The Wolf's Den. I am an Italian art historian, I have studied much archaeology throughout my life, but I hadn't found some of the details I had wanted in the first book. Of course it had been an engrossing read and the story intriguing enough to keep me going. Plus Amara’s arc had been beautifully depicted. But I had found it lacking in some aspects and my 3 star rating had reflected that. However, I wanted to further explore the story. And this time around, The House with the Golden Door gave me so much more than its predecessor. It was an absolute gem. I loved reading about Amara’s new journey, her days, her ascent, her sparring moments with Felix whilst still managing a selfish patron and his insulting requests. I loved reading about her political plans, all the different endeavours to ensure her future through a complex web of friendships and borderline relationships. Plinius was back and with him, many other beloved characters, such as Britannica. Oh Britannica. I loved her so much and I deeply felt for her losses. The only things I found somewhat unnecessary were the romance and the drama revolving about Victoria. But the ending was utterly perfect. Bitter, realistic and like a punch in the face. 4 stars for this second instalment and Amalia's brave heart. Now that she is headed to Rome, when’s book 3 coming out? *grins*

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Lee

    Thank you so much to Head of Zeus for my copy in exchange for an honest review! UK Release - 12/05/22 This review may contain spoilers for 'The Wolf Den' but it's spoiler free for 'The House with the Golden Door'. God damn it Elodie. My heart felt like it was lodged in my throat the entire time I was reading this. Amara is free from the Wolf Den but her life is still dangerously linked to that of her old owner Felix as she begins her new life. Her past in the brothel haunts her dreams as she make Thank you so much to Head of Zeus for my copy in exchange for an honest review! UK Release - 12/05/22 This review may contain spoilers for 'The Wolf Den' but it's spoiler free for 'The House with the Golden Door'. God damn it Elodie. My heart felt like it was lodged in my throat the entire time I was reading this. Amara is free from the Wolf Den but her life is still dangerously linked to that of her old owner Felix as she begins her new life. Her past in the brothel haunts her dreams as she makes a new life with Rufus. I loved this book even though it made my insanely anxious on Amara's behalf. Everything I loved about the Wolf Den is magnified in it's sequel, the love between the women of the story, I loved the blossoming relationship between Amara & Britannica in this story. The scenes with Felix put me so on edge, both Felix and Amara are unpredictable characters and are largely guided by their emotions so you couldn't actually see way out for Amara. Amara's grief for the lose of her friend is heartbreaking, Dido looms largely in this book and she's greatly missed which is why I loved the growing bond between Amara and Britannica. A harrowing story that deals with freedom, love and grief. Elodie's writing is perfection, it draws you in and keeps you hooked. I can't wait (but also I don't want it to end) to see where the trilogy goes from here.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Liv (livreads_)

    Just to say, I have tried not to say too much, but this review may contain slight spoilers for The Wolf Den (Book 1) if you haven’t read that yet❗️ After escaping The Wolf Den, Amara is now living with Rufus as his concubine. She begins to experience the luxuries that come with this slightly more elevated position within society, however deeply misses her friends from The Wolf Den and struggles with her grief of what she has lost. The deeply meaningful friendships and relationships was something I Just to say, I have tried not to say too much, but this review may contain slight spoilers for The Wolf Den (Book 1) if you haven’t read that yet❗️ After escaping The Wolf Den, Amara is now living with Rufus as his concubine. She begins to experience the luxuries that come with this slightly more elevated position within society, however deeply misses her friends from The Wolf Den and struggles with her grief of what she has lost. The deeply meaningful friendships and relationships was something I loved within the first book and this is definitely carried through into book two. No spoilers, but I absolutely loved a certain couple within this and I couldn’t get enough of their interactions with one another! Amara is up there with one of my favourite female characters. But now I also have an immense love for Britannica.💪🏼 I would say that I do think I preferred the first book in the series, The Wolf Den. Purely because I was way more emotional when reading The Wolf Den. However, I definitely loved reading more about Amara’s world and still thoroughly enjoyed everything about it. I can’t wait for the third and final instalment in this trilogy and hope we don’t have to wait too long!🤞🏼 4.5⭐️

  17. 4 out of 5

    thewoollygeek (tea, cake, crochet & books)

    I loved this so much, I was a massive fan of The Wolf Den and was so excited to read this, the second in the trilogy, it picks up where we left off with Amara adjusting to her new life away from the den, this is still set in Pompeii like the first, the world building is as superb as ever as you’re drawn into the brutal world Amara inhibits. Amara has as many dangers to deal with as she did in the den, they’re just a different kind - secrets, betrayals, and revenge. Elodie Harper has such a pure I loved this so much, I was a massive fan of The Wolf Den and was so excited to read this, the second in the trilogy, it picks up where we left off with Amara adjusting to her new life away from the den, this is still set in Pompeii like the first, the world building is as superb as ever as you’re drawn into the brutal world Amara inhibits. Amara has as many dangers to deal with as she did in the den, they’re just a different kind - secrets, betrayals, and revenge. Elodie Harper has such a pure talent, writing about such emotional and disturbing situations, she pulls you in and immerses you completely in the circumstances and fortunes of the most overlooked of characters, I love reading about these women and hope for many more books in the future of underrepresented history. Fantastic Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cláudia

    First, I’d like to thank Netgalley and Head of Zeus for providing me this e-arc. In this second installment of The Wolf Den Trilogy, we continue to follow Amara, while she comes to terms with her freedom and how to be a concubine. She struggles with memories of her life in the brothel, the people she lost and the guilt of moving on while others she loves still suffer at the hands of her previous owner. Throughout this book, we se how Amara tries to navigate this new reality of being a freedwoman, First, I’d like to thank Netgalley and Head of Zeus for providing me this e-arc. In this second installment of The Wolf Den Trilogy, we continue to follow Amara, while she comes to terms with her freedom and how to be a concubine. She struggles with memories of her life in the brothel, the people she lost and the guilt of moving on while others she loves still suffer at the hands of her previous owner. Throughout this book, we se how Amara tries to navigate this new reality of being a freedwoman, an elevated position from her previous status of slave and prostitute. Even though she encounters herself in a higher position in society, this position still has its challenges and precariousness. We see her make difficult decisions and great sacrifices in order to save herself and the ones she loves. I can’t say I agree with the majority of the decisions Amara made, but I can’t really pass judgement on someone living in a reality so distant from mine. The development of her relations with old and new characters is in some cases beautiful and others just excrutiating. The characters development is also absolutely fantastic. I kept thinking of the characters as onions, in the sense that each of them have so many layers, some brutal, some ferocious and confident, but all so deeply interesting in their own way. Elodie Harper continues to capture with amazing historical accuracy the life and times of 75AD Pompeii, which just blows me away. I especially liked the way Harper wove different festivals of the roman culture into the story itself, giving the reader an opportunity to learn about them, in a simplified and captivating way, instead of having an overly academic approach that would probably turn some readers off. The writing is still, if not more beautiful; I highlighted so many quotes. That last sentence was EVERYTHING. I have high expectations for book 3 and cannot wait to see what the future holds for Amara given the decisions she made in the last 10% of this book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    I book felt so effortless to read, I breezed through it! for anyone who has read the Wolf Den, you’ll already know the colourful setting of Pompeii, which feels wonderfully real in these novels. Our main character, Amara, was a slave in book 1, who had managed to earn her freedom, but in this second in the series we learn that freedom and slavery is a bit more nuanced than that in the ancient world, and find out more about ways Amara is freer than before and has more choices, but also the ways i I book felt so effortless to read, I breezed through it! for anyone who has read the Wolf Den, you’ll already know the colourful setting of Pompeii, which feels wonderfully real in these novels. Our main character, Amara, was a slave in book 1, who had managed to earn her freedom, but in this second in the series we learn that freedom and slavery is a bit more nuanced than that in the ancient world, and find out more about ways Amara is freer than before and has more choices, but also the ways in which she is still bound by obligation and restrictions, and this is a really fascinating topic to explore. Some of the choices she has to make are really heart rending. Amara’s freedom means we get to explore more of Pompeii alongside her, and a richer cast of characters, of which I think my favourites were probably Brittanica and Pliny the Elder. I feel so impatient to find out what happens in the last book now, I hope we don’t have to wait too long for the final instalment of this wonderful series, but either way I’m sure it will be worth the wait. My thanks to #NetGalley and Head of Zeus for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte

    Devastatingly beautiful and thrilling - so vivid and compelling, a complete page turner. This book and its characters grip you tight and don’t let go. I had such a strong sense of claustrophobia at times reading this, the characters felt so real and the writing is so immersive. An amazing sequel to a brilliant first book. I can’t wait for the third! I’ll never forget Amara and her story <3 Thank you NetGalley and Head of Zeus for the ARC in return for an honest review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Katharine Tucker

    The beautiful and heartbreaking follow up to Wolf Den, I loved this book probably more than WD itself. Amara's life has taken a turn for the better since we first met her, but danger still follows her from her old life and awaits her in her new life. The plot took a turn I wasn't expecting, and it made for a heart wrenching ending. I can't wait for book 3! The beautiful and heartbreaking follow up to Wolf Den, I loved this book probably more than WD itself. Amara's life has taken a turn for the better since we first met her, but danger still follows her from her old life and awaits her in her new life. The plot took a turn I wasn't expecting, and it made for a heart wrenching ending. I can't wait for book 3!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jade Courtney

    This really has the potential to become one of my fave trilogies. Much like after I finished the first, I cannot bear to wait for the second. The amount of nuisance has left me speechless.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Pernille

    Was afraid it wouldn’t live up to the first book but damn.. it really did

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine Luby Barrow

    A truly evocative successor to The Wolf Den! Both Pompeii and its people are painted so vividly... it's as though watching from the door, petrified you'll fall in. A truly evocative successor to The Wolf Den! Both Pompeii and its people are painted so vividly... it's as though watching from the door, petrified you'll fall in.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Elena

    I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. At the beginning of the year I read and loved The Wolf Den, and I'm so grateful to the publisher for giving me the chance to read its sequel. I had high hopes for it, and I enjoyed it just as much as the first book. Even though Amara has been freed at the end of the first book, she is far from being completely free. She has left the brothel and has now a wealthy patron, but she has to depend on him for everything, and she has to I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. At the beginning of the year I read and loved The Wolf Den, and I'm so grateful to the publisher for giving me the chance to read its sequel. I had high hopes for it, and I enjoyed it just as much as the first book. Even though Amara has been freed at the end of the first book, she is far from being completely free. She has left the brothel and has now a wealthy patron, but she has to depend on him for everything, and she has to face different challenges and dangers. The tension was always high and I kept turning the pages, wanting to see what would happen. The second half was especially gripping and I just couldn't put it down. The ending was very sad but it also made sense, and it made me even more excited for the conclusion. Apart from the gripping storyline, what I most appreciated about the book was, once again, the main character Amara. Her incredible will to survive and to improve her circumstances is what drives the whole story, and, like in the first book, she becomes more ruthless and manipulative in order to do so. Sometimes I ddin't agree with her decisions, but I always understood her and sympathized with her. I was also glad to see Britannica and Victoria again, although I wasn't happy with some things which happened between them and Amara. (view spoiler)[I should have seen Victoria's betrayal coming, but it still crushed me. I like her character and, even if I don't agree with her love for Felix, I sort of understand it. Unfortunately I think things are hopelessly broken between her and Amara, but maybe Victoria will redeem herself in the last book? (hide spoiler)] I can't wait to finish Amara's story in the next book!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    Thank you to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. After devouring The Wolf Den, I was super excited to delve into the sequel early and it was every bit as brilliant as the first one! You can expect an exciting plotline containing strong women pulling together in the face of adversity; secrets and betrayals; a juicy forbidden love affair; and some impossible choices as Amara realises her life as a freedwoman isn’t as free as she first thought. The characters a Thank you to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. After devouring The Wolf Den, I was super excited to delve into the sequel early and it was every bit as brilliant as the first one! You can expect an exciting plotline containing strong women pulling together in the face of adversity; secrets and betrayals; a juicy forbidden love affair; and some impossible choices as Amara realises her life as a freedwoman isn’t as free as she first thought. The characters are fantastically developed - I was rooting for all the girls and completely immersed in their complex relationships and different reactions to the trauma they have been through. There are twists and turns that make it absolutely gripping in places as well as taking you on a turbulent emotional journey. As a piece of historical fiction, I found the dialogue and the writing style to be a bit contemporary and I couldn’t quite see them as real people who could have lived in the ancient Roman Empire. However, this didn’t detract from the brilliant storyline and I thought the excerpts of Pompeii graffiti were fun ways to start some of the chapters. This, along with the snippets of information you pick up along the way as the characters’ backstories are revealed, was a great insight into a time I haven’t read much about before. This is out on 12th May and I strongly recommend a pre-order!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mitsy_Reads

    Aahhhh, I wanted to love this second book in this series as much as I loved the first one, The Wolf Den. But I didn’t enjoy it much. I loved Amara in the first book because she was tough and pragmatic. She was a survivor. But in this book, she is not a badass like she used to be. She makes very poor choices too and I wasn’t feeling her unfortunately. Still, I loved the friendship she made with a certain female character (I can’t say the name to avoid spoilers!). And I love that character!🥰 I wan Aahhhh, I wanted to love this second book in this series as much as I loved the first one, The Wolf Den. But I didn’t enjoy it much. I loved Amara in the first book because she was tough and pragmatic. She was a survivor. But in this book, she is not a badass like she used to be. She makes very poor choices too and I wasn’t feeling her unfortunately. Still, I loved the friendship she made with a certain female character (I can’t say the name to avoid spoilers!). And I love that character!🥰 I want to read more about her than Amara at this point😂

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Williams

    5 of 5 stars My Five Word TL:DR Review : Even better than the first 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 s 5 of 5 stars My Five Word TL:DR Review : Even better than the first 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.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Emma Shaw

    "There is always a price to pay for underestimating a woman." Ever since the jaw-dropping ending of The Wolf Den I have been impatiently awaiting book two in the trilogy and the chance to find out what was next for Amara, her fellow she-wolves and the residents of Pompeii. The story picks up a few months after the shocking events at the end of book one: Amara is no longer a slave working at the brothel but a freedwoman living in the house with the golden door that her patron Rufus rents for her. "There is always a price to pay for underestimating a woman." Ever since the jaw-dropping ending of The Wolf Den I have been impatiently awaiting book two in the trilogy and the chance to find out what was next for Amara, her fellow she-wolves and the residents of Pompeii. The story picks up a few months after the shocking events at the end of book one: Amara is no longer a slave working at the brothel but a freedwoman living in the house with the golden door that her patron Rufus rents for her. While happy to be free, she is haunted by her past, misses her friends and lives in fear of losing Rufus’ favour and her position as his concubine. Her former master is also out for revenge and she must find a way to keep herself safe against not only him, but the man on whom she now relies. Once again I was utterly captivated by the mesmerising world that Elodie Harper brings to life on the pages. So evocative that it was like I was watching it all unfold on a movie screen in vivid technicolour, she transported me back to the ancient streets of Pompeii at a time when they were bustling with life and the fate awaiting this doomed city was unimaginable. Her research and attention to detail is exquisite, depicting day to day life in a believable and entertaining way as she explores everything from mundane domesticity to the exciting but bloodthirsty sports citizens of Pompeii once enjoyed. "Amara wonders how long they will all be together in a household like this, and it is not only the habitual fear of being separated from Philos that makes her chest tighten. She has grown used to this place, to the strange almost-family of women she has collected." The Amara of this book is both the same and completely different. I enjoyed watching her learn to navigate the new world she inhabits and how skillfully she plays the game. She is a strong, intelligent woman who now not only has a thirst for revenge and determination to survive, but more autonomy and power than before, though she does fear she will never completely be free. But one of my favourite things about these books is the sisterhood the women share. There are new characters and alliances alongside the old ones, but themes of strength, tenacity, vulnerability and wiliness remain and I enjoyed seeing them gain more power and freedom than they had in the brothel. A sisterhood I particularly enjoyed was the blossoming friendship between Amara and Britannica. I loved that Britannica was given such a large role in this story and how we finally got to see the person lurking beneath the silent savage we met in book one. I adore this fierce Briton and she has become my favourite character. Enthralling, exhilarating and unflinching, The House with the Golden Door is an accomplished piece of historical fiction. If you’re a fan of the genre then you need to read this outstanding series. Sadly I now have the agonising wait for the final instalment…

  30. 4 out of 5

    Janna G. Noelle

    The House with the Golden Door was one of my most anticipated reads of 2022 and it did not disappoint! Returning to the world of The Wolf Den (see my review), Amara has been freed from her previous life as a prostitute in ancient Pompeii's infamous lupanar by a wealthy patron, but she still isn't truly free, now living in the titular house with the golden door as a kept woman, which is just another form of selling herself. So too is she plagued by the lasting trauma from her time in the Wolf Den The House with the Golden Door was one of my most anticipated reads of 2022 and it did not disappoint! Returning to the world of The Wolf Den (see my review), Amara has been freed from her previous life as a prostitute in ancient Pompeii's infamous lupanar by a wealthy patron, but she still isn't truly free, now living in the titular house with the golden door as a kept woman, which is just another form of selling herself. So too is she plagued by the lasting trauma from her time in the Wolf Den, as well as guilt over those she left behind. I love the realism of this series, how it subtly reveals the precarious position of women of almost all social classes during this time period—entirely dependent upon the whims and good-will of fickle men—and how quite often the difference between enslaved and freed is not so different indeed. Amara's relationship with her former master, the ruthless pimp Felix, further shows this, as the further she is from him geographically, the more she's forced to think and act like him to ensure her survival while at the same time moulding her outward behaviour to remain pleasing to others. As in The Wolf Den, The House with the Golden Door features strong female friendships, as well as a demonstration of how the horrors of slavery often make true friendship, vulnerability, and self-reliance impossible for some people. There is also an opportunity for Amara to experience true love for the first time (which I was psyched for!), for all that it comes at both a tense and ultimately heartbreaking cost. Elodie Harper is a fantastic writer. Her books are long but their pacing is exquisite and she hits each note of emotion perfectly. I appreciate how Harper rarely takes the predictable path. These books always have a lot of surprises in them, which, in combination with the fact that things continue to get tougher and tougher for Amara, at times makes for an anxious reading experience, but in the best possible way. I am SO HYPE for the final book in this series, even as I'm already a sad that it's going to end. Five enthusiastic stars!

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