NEW NEW *** The Haunting of Pandora Fox ***NEW NEW

4 Aug

Congratulations to Violetta Antcliff on her new release from GSP.



Violetta Antcliff has been a member of the Nottingham Writers’ Club for the best part of Twenty years. She is the winner of numerous short story competitions and was area short listed in Waterstone’s WOW factor story competition. She took first prize in Nottingham short story competition with a story called Irish Mouse Tales and has read her poetry and short stories on local radio.

Her book we are highlighting today is The Haunting of Pandora Fox.



When Pandora applies for the position of companion to Lady Isobel Fitzwilliam she has no idea what she is taking on, no idea what she is letting herself in for. After only a few short months she finds herself so entangled in the ghostly goings on at the nineteenth century manor house, she finds it impossible to leave. Falling passionately in love with a man who had died long before she was born isn’t something she’d planned.


Born Dora Anne Cox, in the St. Ann’s area of Nottingham to an unemployed labourer and a school dinner lady, Pandora hadn’t had the best of starts in life, but this hadn’t discouraged her. At the earliest opportunity she’d changed her name, by Deed Poll, to Pandora Fox, upped sticks and moved to London, believing like many others before her, the streets were paved with gold.

Living in a shared flat above a Kebab shop, it didn’t take her long to realise she’d only changed one back street for another; consequently, she was ready to move on again.

Pandora changed jobs as often as her boyfriends, so, when the opportunity to work as a Ladies companion dropped in her lap unexpectedly one day, she jumped at the chance.

Karen, the girl she shared a flat with, on seeing the advert in the jobs section of a newspaper one evening, said it looked too good to be true and passed the paper over for Pandora to read for herself. A quick scan was all she needed before her mind was made up. Without wasting time, she dug out her CV, updated it, with one or two additions, and posted it the next day.

Less than ten days later, she received a letter saying the position was hers if she wanted it. She never questioned why an interview wasn’t necessary, never questioned why the conditions of employment she’d insisted on—use of a car, days off, and so forth—were accepted without argument; she’d just been happy to know the job was hers if she wanted it, and she did.

As a Ladies companion, she expected and looked forward to visits to the theatre, trips abroad, all expenses paid, and a chance to mix with people her parents would have called her betters. What she didn’t realise was all these things came with a price.

Hardwick Hall lived up to Pandora’s expectations. It stood in its own grounds, with manicured lawns, rose gardens and boxed hedges. The only thing missing, as far as she could see, was peacocks.

The reception she received on her first day however, did not live up to her expectations. A female of considerable years answered the door to her persistent knocking.

“It’s the back door for servants,” she said, raking her eyes over Pandora and her suitcases. “And you’re late,” she added. “I’ve had to stay behind to show you to your room and that’s something I never do, I always make sure I’m away long before it gets dark. Today’s an exception—I couldn’t just walk out and leave my lady in the house all on her own.”

Pandora mumbled her apologies for any inconvenience she’d caused and followed on the woman’s heels through to the back of the house and up the stairs to a room that was to be hers.

“I’m off now,” the elder woman said. “Once you’ve got yourself sorted, go to the library. Lady Isobel’s expecting you, so don’t keep her waiting.”

Pandora didn’t have the chance to ask where the library was, because by the time she’d put her cases down the woman had gone.



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