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Quennell is always so fun to read. I'm glad there's alot of him. This book is at its best when Quennell gives his talent for pastiche free rein, and starts to write with the pomp and shimmer of his subjects; it's at its worst when he elaborates some jejune metaphorical flight a la Strachey (as these are late 18th century subjects, there's alot about aristocrats dancing on volcanos of social unrest, the fumes of popular discontent seething though the cracks, yadda yadda yadda).
I read this aloud, over time, to a partially-sighted old chap (a retired canon). It was his choice, and I wasn't sure how much I'd enjoy it. We read together for an hour every fortnight, and I wondered whether either of us would remember what had come before. This didn't prove too difficult in the end, and both of us enjoyed the detail, the character sketches, the gossip, and the recreation of the 18th century. I felt I learned a bit too, in enjoyable company - Quennell, as well as Canon Geach!