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Samuel Pepys; the unequalled self

by Claire Tomalin

In my opinion, this book deserved its Whitbread Book of the Year award in 2002. I have read Samuel Pepys' diary many years before, and found it interesting. But the way in which Claire Tomalin blends her knowledge of the diary itself with her research into the historical setting, results in an amazing portrait of the man and his times. I suffered for him during the operations and illnesses he underwent. I was angry or disgusted with him regarding his sexual exploits, but warmed to him with regard to the way he obviously loved his wife in spite of them. I enjoyed the way in which she was well able to hold her own in their domestic disputes! I thrilled at the way he knew the City of London so well during several reigns and the protectorate of Cromwell, escaping as he did the plague and the Great Fire. All this, together with learning so much about his career, and his love of the Arts including his wonderful library is turned into a very readable and gripping narrative.

Suggested by Susan Burgess, Paignton, Torbay

Tagged with: engrossing

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