Boscobel

Boscobel, or the Royal Oak - William Harrison Ainsworth The adventures of Charles II during and immediately after his ill-fated stand at Worcester in 1651. The novel clearly incorporates a vast amount of historical research (though most of it is probably second-hand), and occasionally begins to sound just a tad too much like a textbook. And then there's the related geography - Charles is always stopping in the midst of his flight to admire some fine prospect or other. The author brings us up-to-date, too, on what has happened to all these places, and it would be quite easy, I think, to use Boscobel as a guidebook for retracing Charles' steps. Nonetheleess, these quibbles aside, Ainsworth maintains his fictionality rather well, especially in the characters of Jane Lane (very high-minded), Mary Gives, Juliana Coningby, and young Will Careless (yes, there was such a person). Actually, I found something rather attractive in the intensely detailed and quite comemorative aspect of this novel. If there's one improbability I'd object to, it's the fact that Charles doesn't even have a try at Jane Lane - given his later record!