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The Lambs of London by Peter Ackroyd

The Lambs of London (edition 2007)

by Peter Ackroyd

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7753218,540 (3.35)94
"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.… (more)
Title:The Lambs of London
Authors:Peter Ackroyd
Info:Anchor (2007), Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Loaned from Library
Tags:Historical Fiction

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The Lambs of London by Peter Ackroyd

  1. 10
    Orlando by Virginia Woolf (themulhern)
    themulhern: Both books survey English literature through the stories of individuals.

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Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
"Why, this is a treasure, Mr Ireland. It was once owned by William Shakespeare", 30 March 2016

This review is from: The Lambs of London (Hardcover)
Set at the beginning of the 19th century - not so vastly long ago, yet long enough that antiquarians of the time might have Elizabethan documents among their treasures. In this most enjoyable fiction, Ackroyd conflates two true stories: that of Charles and Mary Lamb, academic siblings living a stifling life with their senile father and authorative mother. And William Ireland: employed in his family bookshop and, like Mary, feeling downtrodden by his parent. Until one day he comes into possession of some writings, including unpublished works,by Shakespeare...
Although the Lambs and Ireland never actually had any dealings with one another, this makes for a great read that really transports you back to London of that era. ( )
  starbox | Mar 30, 2016 |
Really 2 and a half stars. This book is supposed to be about Charles and Mary Lamb living at home with their parents but most of the book focuses on a new-found play reportedly written by William Shakespeare. It was a bit of a snoozer and frankly, I had difficulty keeping my mind on the audio. Neither Charles nor Mary were appealing characters and the book is full of insipid conversation such as:

William: "I have found it. I have found a new play. It was supposed long lost but now it has been found."
Mary: "I believe I know what you are saying."

Really? You believe you know? Because it seemed quite clear. I expected better from Ackroyd. ( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |
This didn't work for me, either as a novel or a fictionalized account of real events, and I'm not sure which one it was. Okay, I just leafed through and found it is meant to be a work of fiction (but with real life characters). I had a number of problems. The first was that I never really figured out when it took place. I know I should know when Charles Lamb lived and I could sort it out but I would have like a few clues, here and there, in the text. Eventually I found some mention of 200 years after Shakespeare but I never felt settled into any time period. Clearly, the author knows a great deal of historical detail but it doesn't flow easily into the narrative. Secondly were two very brief but quite graphic sex scenes that added absolutely nothing but shock value. They didn't advance the plot or develop any characters and appeared to be dropped in at random. Finally, the whole plot line simply petered out in the last few chapters. There was some time spent introducing an array of characters but, once the deception of William Ireland became clear, there wasn't much left to do and the author just wrapped up the loose ends as if it were a biography and that was it. I found it all a very unsatisfying read.
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
  jll1976 | Oct 2, 2013 |
Engaging. Favorite quote: "I cannot see the point of doing this comedy," Mary said, if there is to be giggling all the time." ( )
  nlgeorge | Sep 22, 2013 |
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