I'm working my way through the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list, and I try to come up with some innovative ways to get through it. This includes one book from every decade, ten books from ten different countries, books starting with different letters of the alphabet, etc. One of those ways is to read the first five books on the list by authors whose last name starts with A. Hence, Lambs of London by Peter Ackroyd. For those of you who might be wondering, this is the 145th book I've read on the list.
Lambs of London is a fun romp through late 18th-century London in search of lost Shakespeare notes, papers, poems, seals, and plays. The Lambs of the title are Charles and Mary Lamb, famous for Tales from Shakespeare. They meet William Ireland, who lures Charles into his father's antiquarian book shop with a book that was once owned by Shakespeare. William has found a secret stash of Shakespeare curiosities, including some deeds, a will, a love letter, and eventually a lost poem and play. Or did he really "find" them?
Ackroyd, in his disclaimer, is clear that he has taken liberty with the Lamb family story. Mary really did kill her mother with a kitchen knife, but Charles died before she did (it is depicted in the novel that she died first).
This book was a light-hearted, easy read - and very enjoyable. I don't typically read this type of novel - I'm much more interested in the dark stuff, and when I do venture out of my "comfort zone," I am usually disappointed. So, I crawl back into my hole of melancholy literature. But this one was well written and just plain fun to read. I good break from Nostromo. Definately recommended.