Top positive review
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Best monarchical biography I have read
on 12 September 2009
I do not profess to have any great all-consuming interest in history, let alone the period of the Restoration; I read solely for pleasure on a wide range of topics and will quickly drop any book that does not sustain my interest.
I did not come close to wishing to put down this excellent work. Unlike other 'scholarly biographies', Fraser's book is anything but dry, or difficult for a non-expert to follow. It paints a very clear picture not only of Charles, but of his family members, court and acolytes such that by the end I really felt that I had an understanding of the man - his personality, his sense of humour, his temperament and the events that shaped him as a king. The events of his reign are consistently presented with humour and verve, with even the internecine events of the Commonwealth and post-restoration Dutch Wars, and Charles' struggles with parliament easy to follow, and made entertaining. The early part of the book, regarding Charles' flight after the battle of Worcester even reads like an adventure story, without losing authenticity, accuracy or scholarship.
My sole criticism is that in writing the book Fraser seems to have become rather attached to the figure of Charles (who does admittedly seem, on the whole, an attractive and witty personality) to the point where she appears to make excuses for his mistakes, and perhaps defends his corner a little too vigorously. Nonetheless, I would thoroughly recommend this as an entertaining and enlightening book for the general reader.