For a serious Dickens fan, this is a very enjoyable account of his life. Ackroyd, one of England's leading literary biographers, and a novelist of some note himself, eschews fanciful speculation about Dickens's motivations and sticks to the facts. His main theme is that Dickens was constantly drawing to his childhood emotions. There are no serious issues of faith or morals. The one difficult subject, Dickens's separation from his wife (and family of nine children) and his relationship with the young actress Ellen Ternan is dealt with sensitively. It appears, says Ackroyd, that they did not have an affair, as everyone has assumed.
M.C. (Australia, 2015)