Bookclub Questions

1. The book is not only narrated by Helena, but also by Alex’s childhood diaries. How did you find this glimpse into his character? Do you believe this was an accurate representation of a 13-year-old’s voice?

2. How did Alex’s character develop during the events of the summer at Pandora? Are there aspects of the adult Alex that are still the same as his childhood self?

3. Helena makes the difficult decision of hiding the truth about Alex’s father from him. Do you think she had good reason to do this?

4. When Helena meets Alexis, her first love, it destabilises her relationship with her husband. Do you think this is a common phenomenon?

5. Many different types of loving relationships are represented in this book – love for a child, for a husband, a parent, or a friend. Which one spoke to you most?

6. 13-year-old Alex describes his family as ‘whatever-is the-opposite-of-nuclear’ – do you find that these kinds of families are becoming more common? How does Helena deal with keeping the various parts of her family together?

7. The book touches on issues of class in the different ways that Alex and Rupert are raised, and the lifestyle that Sacha has created for his family. How do class constraints affect the characters?

8. Forgiveness is a large theme in this book. Do you think William was right to forgive Helena for hiding the truth for so long? Do you think Jules was right to forgive her?

9. Did your feelings towards the characters stay the same throughout the novel, or did your loyalties shift? Which characters did you find the most intriguing?

10. How did you find the exotic setting of Cyprus contributed to the story?

11. There are a lot of allusions to the myth of Pandora’s Box, and to Aphrodite and Adonis. How do you find this mirrors the events of the story?

12. Did you find the ending satisfying or would have wanted some of the characters to have developed differently?