New in UK bookstores, and causing some good “buzz,” is the latest from Antonia Fraser, Perilous Question: The Drama of the Great Reform Bill 1832.
A book on this same subject, published quite some time ago by Arthur Aspinall, dealt with the diary entries of Denis Le Marchant — future (if we’re talking 1832) husband of my dear Eliza Smith, Emma’s middle sister. That’s the only book on the Reform Act that I own.
Bribery, rotten boroughs, corruption — if, like me, the Reform Bill is a “name” in need of some elucidation, this may be the book for you. Although, John Barrell’s review for The Guardian seems to favor Edward Pearce’s look at the Bill (Reform! published ten years ago).
The Times’ review offers a FABULOUS political cartoon (“chopping down the Rotten Borough System”), but you have to subscribe to read all of the review.
The review in The Telegraph opens with a wonderful description of an 1833 painting at The National Portrait Gallery (and includes a link to an interview with Fraser).
Kirkus (which has an alternate, less “comical” cover – for the US market, I presume), calls the book “engaging, eleborate, and elegantly wrought.”
2 Teen’s Readers: ADD YOUR THOUGHTS!