Calibre PDF to ePUB Issue

I’m having an odd problem. I’ve used Calibre for hundreds of ebooks, so I’m fairly comfortable with it. I have a friend using Affinity Publisher, which won’t export anything useful except a PDF. So I’m having to export a PDF, bring that PDF into Calibre, and then convert that into an EPUB.

I’m having a strange problem with the very first line of every chapter.

She’s using drop-caps, so the first chapter of every PDF starts like this:

I’ve blurred the actual text.

That very first line to start the chapter (after the initial capital “O”) gets mashed together without spaces, in the ePUB conversion. In the initial PDF file it looks perfectly fine. If I edit that PDF file with any editor, there are spaces in between those words. But when Calibre does the PDF to ePUB conversion, the spaces get lost. I then have to go into the resulting ePUB and manually edit the start of every chapter to add those spaces back in. The second, third, etc., lines are all quite fine, even though they’re part of the same text block.

I’ll note that it does recognize the initial capital. So the ePUB starts the line with O – then has one space – then has the rest of the line mushed together.

Any ideas?

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