Saturday, 26 September 2009

The Lambs of London

Title: The Lambs of London

Author: Peter Ackroyd

Number of pages: 216

Started: 23 September 2009

Finished: 26 September 2009

Opening words:

‘I loathe the stench of horses.’ Mary Lamb walked over to the window, and touched very lightly the faded lace fringe of her dress. It was a dress of the former period that she wore unembarrassed, as if it were of no consequence how she chose to cover herself. ‘The city is a great jakes.’ There was no one in the drawing-room with her, so she put her face upwards, towards the sun. Her skin was marked by the scars of smallpox, suffered by her six years before; so she held her face to the light, and imagined it to be the pitted moon.

‘I have found it, dear. It was hiding in All’s Well.’ Charles Lamb rushed into the room with a thin green volume in his hand.

Read the first chapter here

Plot summary:

At the centre of this intriguing, irresistible novel are the young Lambs: Charles, constrained by the tedium of his work as a clerk at the East India Company, taking refuge in a drink or three too many while spreading his wings as a young writer, and his clever, adoring sister Mary, confined by domesticity, an ailing, dotty father and a maddening mother- Into their lives comes William Ireland, an ambitious 17-year-old antiquarian and bookseller, anxious not only to impress his demanding showman of a father, but to make his mark on the literary world. When Ireland turns up a document in the handwriting of Shakespeare himself, he takes Mary into his confidence - but soon scholars and actors alike are beating a path to the little bookshop in Holborn Passage. Touching and tragic, ingenious, funny and vividly alive, this is Ackroyd at the top of his form in a masterly retelling of a nineteenth-century drama which keeps the reader guessing right to the end.

What I thought:

I wasn’t really a fan of this book. I didn’t really enjoy the plot and was not massively interested in watching the story unfold. I think the story had potential but I just didn’t find it intriguing. Perhaps it is because it was about Shakespeare and that brought back subconscious memories of school!


Sarah said...

Do you like any historical fiction? I think it is just prejudice on my part, but I rarely want to read novels based on English history. Even if Wolf Hall wins the Booker: no thanks!

Random Reflections said...

Sarah - No, I'm not really a fan of historical fiction and this did nothing to encourage me to read more of it. I think I too have some prejudice about it for some unknown reason.