Misanthropic, hapless do-gooder Pan Blair works through various family and personal problems in her journey of self-discovery, along the way seeing herself not as the everyday stay-at-home mom she expects but Pandora of Greek mythology, with Zeus hot on her trail.
Pan is trapped in the last place she wants to be: a surprise party in her honor. The bash was her husband Sedryck’s idea—in reality, it’s a business schmoozing session. The story proceeds through a series of domestic issues. Her husband’s “sure thing” business deal, in which he has invested all their savings, turns out to be a scam, just as Pan suspected. She’s even scammed by a woman named Phobia and her son Damon, a duo that later returns as hostile deities. When her husband’s scheme fails, Pan gets a job managing a bookstore owned by a family of kindred souls who are actually gods and goddesses. Through them, Pan discovers both the frailty of her marriage and her once-and-future soul mate. During this self-discovery, author Fedelia makes use of Pan as an ignorant narrator: Though she tells the story, everyone knows what’s coming but her, which can be a bit frustrating. Regardless, from Pan’s unusual curses (“Crud muffins,” “Boogers”) to her innate distrust of nearly everyone but her three girls, Pan’s character is painted with charming strokes. Her transition from mom to semideity presents a difficult challenge, but Fedelia wisely avoids presenting the gods as intimidatingly godlike or turning the narrative into a mock-heroic farce. The author chooses instead to keep the deities’ language contemporary—a wise decision until Pan learns her true identity by watching memory discs, presumably recorded when the incidents occurred in mythical times. Here, the modern speech rings jarringly false: The centaur Chieron uses the word “wonky,” and the Titan god Chronos, lord of time, says, “you must be tripping.”
A captivating, largely successful attempt to meld everyday life, romance and fantasy.