PositiveThe Spectator (UK)In order to cover Banks’s many subsequent occupations and interests, Musgrave abandons his chronological approach after the Iceland trip, proceeding instead thematically. This doesn’t altogether work, as many distracting cross-references in the text acknowledge. He nevertheless provides a full, clear-eyed and highly readable account of an engaging, if flawed, man who did indeed do much to shape the world.
RaveThe SpectatorHazzard is wonderfully attuned to subtle shifts in moods and feelings, particularly when writing dialogue, at which she excels ... her entire work is characterised by a preoccupation with language, beautifully deployed by herself, but often used by her characters in order to deceive themselves or others. She frequently exposes the gap between what people say, particularly when lazily using stock phrases, and what they really mean: ‘Try not to worry,’ a character says in one story, ‘implying that one must by all means worry, though possibly notto distraction.’ ... While the book has been poorly served by its editor, who has not troubled to give a date of publication for any of the stories, the 28 collected here perfectly showcase the elegant prose, emotional intelligence and dark humour that make Hazzard such a pleasure to read.
RaveLiterary ReviewWolf’s unravelling and reconstructing of these ‘sodomitical’ poems provides one of the most fascinating elements of her wide-ranging book ... Throughout the book, she instances cases in which ordinary working people were given savage sentences after being convicted of sodomy or even ‘attempted sodomy\' ... Imaginatively researched, entertainingly written and enjoyably indignant, Outrages is a sobering and timely book.
MixedThe SpecatorDennison makes extensive and excellent use of [Grahame\'s] stories in recreating Grahame’s childhood ... This sorry tale has been told before, and while Dennison does not add a great deal to earlier books by Peter Green (1959) and Alison Prince (1994), he is particularly good on the way Grahame ‘insisted on his own physical and emotional connectedness to the landscape’ and freely admitted that he preferred places to people. It would have been nice to have had The Wind in the Willows placed in the context of other children’s literature of the period, and be given some sense of how Grahame’s exploration and celebration of the countryside chimed with prevailing Edwardian notions of England and Englishness; but by keeping tightly focused on Grahame, Dennison has produced a book that is brief, brisk and very readable.
MixedThe TelegraphMuch of the story Renton tells is familiar, but her focus on three sisters works well and the extensive research she has carried out in family archives has resulted in some nice details and lively anecdotes.... The writing, however, is frequently slack... and contains some alarming failures of tone.