Strange vase key to period drama





Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman, Penguin Random House It’s 1799, and Dora, who aspires to be a jewellery artist, lives with her uncle in an antiquities shop. A Greek vase is delivered and Dora’s uncle begins to act strangely, trying to hide the vase. The vase is carved with images from the Pandora story — which is never a good thing. It turns out her nasty uncle has taken the vase from a shipwreck, and what follows is what we’d expect from Pandora — bad luck, disaster, supernatural events. The first mortal woman who became too curious and opened the box, unleashing the sins of man into the world. Dora, who is named after Pandora, meets antiquarian scholar Edward who decides to help Dora reveal the vase’s secrets. This is clearly well researched, as the period comes to life on the pages. It’s a weighty novel, and sometimes confusing as family stories and histories intersect, but those who enjoy period drama will love every minute of it. — Linda Thompson