Context: Finished this in the midst of scanning hundreds of photos wihle whittling stuff down to store for the next period of emigration.
For once, a book by Peter Ackroyd didn’t have me looking to see how many pages I had left to go. This novel isn’t bad, but I can see why it was removed from the 1001 books list. In fact, why on earth was it on there in the first place? Anyway, I liked this one for the way that Ackroyd worked hard to include all sorts of little details about 19th c. London life which made for a very readable account.
I’ve also read Hawksmoor by Ackroyd and many years ago attempted a book about London by him which was as boring as watching saliva evaporate. The guy really, really likes London as it features in everything he does. This time though, I felt like London was richly painted and I could really envisage where the story took place and the way the characters interacted.
The book is falsely titled though. It’s not really about the Lamb family although it begins and ends with them. It’s really about another family, the Irelands, a father and son team who run a bookshop and who discover a series of manuscripts which seem to be attributable to William Shakespeare? Are they genuine?
For me, the ending when it came was very predictable and there was nothing uniquely memorable about the novel. It’s an image of a period in London and that’s what it’s useful for, if you’re into that.
A bit of a giveaway, so if you want to see it, click to show