James Webb Space Telescope

A haunting mystery: Enlightenment, by Sarah Perry, reviewed

As ghosts go, Maria Vaduva, who haunts Enlightenment, is not a patch on the wild, tormented figure who stalks the pages of Sarah Perry’s previous novel, Melmoth. Where Melmoth, in rage and despair, haunts everyone complicit in history’s horrors, Maria is crossly plaintive. The disappearance of this unrecognised 19th-century Romanian astronomer from Lowlands House, a manor in the fictional small Essex town of Aldleigh (where marriage has brought her), becomes the obsession of Thomas Hart. He is an unlikely columnist of the Essex Chronicle, and Enlightenment’s central character. It could be said that he is at odds with life and that achieving harmony (on Earth and in heaven) is the