I chose this book as there was a story in my family that one of my ancestors was standing beside Spencer Perceval when he was assassinated. And he was as is documented in this pacey and interesting account of the event. It is a fascinating investigation into the perpetrator's possible motives and they emerge as a much more complex than was supposed at the time. It was a turbulent period in British history both economically and politically with war with America looming and pressure to outlaw the transportation of slaves: a move vigorously opposed by a powerful lobby of merchants.
I had earlier listened to William's Hague's masterly biography of William Willberforce, and was pleased to find that the present book complements the former in giving a different slant to the struggle.
I really enjoyed this biography read excellently by Alex Jennings. The author had a colourful character to write about which helps, but she has created a pacy life-story that cracks along like a novel, but is also a work of scholarship involving much delving into archives. Dickens is presented as a complex man, not all good, and driving himself to extinction by over-work. The characters and themes of his books are woven into the biography and one can see how his life experiences have enriched his writings.
I have enjoyed other biographies by this author who usually combines scholarship with lively narrative. This book veers more to the former with a lot of genealogical lineages and historical detail less suited to an audiobook. After a slow start with too much turgid detail about Mary's family history the book becomes an eye-opening account of Mary Boleyn's life and dismisses many false beliefs about her reputation and gives a different slant on the turbulent Tudor period.
The reader is very good and helps the book crack along, despite all the detailed information and scholarly argument against other biolographer's works.