Jilly Cooper OBE Pandora

ISBN 13: 9780552148504

Pandora

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9780552148504: Pandora
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Raymond Kelvedon had been a dashing subaltern in 1944 when he had come across the glorious painting by Raphael depicting Pandora releasing the seven deadly sins into the world. The painting ended up on the bedroom wall of his beautiful home, Foxes Court, in the peaceful county of Larkshire. His tempestuous wife, Galina, entertained her lovers there as well as giving birth to her four children beneath its watchful gaze, but after her tragic and mysterious death Raymond kept the painting hidden away in a tower room, its existence forgotten by most of those who ever knew about it.

Now Raymond is elderly and distinguished. He has his smart gallery in London, a new wife, Anthea, and adorable young twins. His grown-up children - three sons and one daughter - are all fighting their way into the art world. He has a long-standing rivalry with the smooth David Pulborough, once his protégé but now his deadly enemy. Then into all their lives erupts Emerald - lovely, talented, and desperately searching for her real parents. Zach Ansteig, a wildly attractive, mysterious American, encourages her to go to Foxes Court where, he persuades her, her birth mother will be found. The result is catastrophic, the Kelvedons outraged, the county agog. But Zach is also searching for something - the Raphael Pandora, which he believes should belong to him...

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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

Review:

"'She's irresistible...she frees you from the daily drudge and deposits you in an alternative universe where love, sex and laughter rule'" (Independent on Sunday)

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

"'Triumphantly good'" (The Sunday Times)

"'A wonderful, romantic spectacular of a novel'" (Spectator)

"'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...Her sheer exuberance and energy are contagious'" (The Times)

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