Barnaby Rudge ★★★★☆

barnabyrudge (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Barnaby Rudge
Series: ———-
Author: Charles Dickens
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Classic
Pages: 864
Format: Digital Edition



Barnaby Rudge is a young man who is an idiot. He never grew up past 6 and can’t remember one day from the next. He lives with his widowed mother on a stipend from Mr Haredale, the estate owner that Barnaby’s father worked for before he vanished all those years ago on the night that a murder was committed.

Mr Haredale, a staunch Catholic, has a niece named Emma. Her father was the man murdered all those years ago and now Mr Haredale is her guardian. She is in love with a young man named Edward Chester, the son of Mr Chester. Mr Chester and Mr Haredale are at odds with one another and neither guardian nor father want the match to happen. Emma also has a companion named Dolly Varden.

Dolly Varden lives in London with her father and mother. Her father is a jolly blacksmith while her mother is one of those creatures that only Dickens can bring to the page. Gabriel Varden has an apprentice, one Simon Tappertitt, who is in love with Dolly, hates Gabriel for some reason and thinks he is the most beautiful specimen of manhood to ever exist. Dolly is in love with Joe Willet.

Joe Willet is a young man whose father runs the Maypole, an inn that belongs to Mr Haredale. Joe Willet Sr is constantly treating Joe Jr like a boy and eventually Joe runs away and joins the army.

The main story is about how all of these characters interact through the 5 years leading up to the riots in 1780 in London, where a mob ran riot for several days in protest against Catholics and Catholicism. Barnaby is dragged into it, not knowing any better. Joe has returned from America (where he fought against American Independence, boo hiss!) and Edward Chester has returned from the Continent after having learned to make his living. Simon Tappertitt kidnaps Dolly and Emma during the riots, gets his just desserts and becomes a legless beggar by the end of the story. Mr Haredale and Mr Chester have a duel in which Chester dies. Mr Haredale gives his blessing and fortune to Emma and Edward. Joe Jr returns with an arm missing and his father starts treating him like an adult. Joe Jr and Dolly get married and run the Maypole together. Barnaby goes to jail for participating in the riots and is about to be hung when he gets a pardon because Joe Jr and Edward Chester work like the dickens (ha!) to get him free.


My Thoughts:

This was not plot oriented at all. Given, most of Dickens’ books center around his characters, but this one more so. The Riot of ’80 was the event that tied this all together.

I enjoyed this but it took me over 2 weeks to work my way through. I’d read a chapter and then put the book down for the rest of the day. Given, Mrs B was away for a family visit and I was dealing with job interviews and thinking about the future, so I was obviously distracted but still, I had to concentrate to pick this up.

I really don’t know what else to say. If you enjoy Dickens, you’ll enjoy this. This is probably not the book to start a Dickens Journey of Discovery though. This wasn’t quite as organic as some of Dickens other books and it shows. That is why I kept this at 4stars like last time.

I can say that one needs uninterrupted time, without stress or pressure, to fully appreciate Dickens. If one is harried, distracted and busy, it takes away from the experience.



bookstooge (Custom)



28 thoughts on “Barnaby Rudge ★★★★☆

  1. H.P. says:

    So what is the best Dickens book to start with?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. That is a very nice pun. 🙂 I’m glad you’re still enjoying your Dickens reads/re-reads. It means I get entertaining synopses of them without having to read them for myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have actually never read a Dickens novel. For my ‘classics’ I tend to stick to Jules Verne or Conan Doyle. And Christie, if she can be considered a ‘classic?’

    Liked by 1 person

  4. savageddt says:

    Great review👍🏻. 800 odd pages tho? Itll take me months…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. With your first two sentences of this review I could make a very tasteless joke ….. but I won’t …. 😉

    I’m not looking forward to this one but I do admire your love for Dickens work. I wish I had some more … love that is. I’m reading Great Expectations at the moment though and am REALLY enjoying it. So yay, me! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      Well, considering that I’m no longer a young man, I’ll happily state what I’m guessing you were going to say. Something along the lines of all young men being like that? 😀
      If that was it, I’m of your opinion!

      I don’t know why, but I definitely have “clicked” with Dickens the older I get. I love his stuff to pieces.

      Glad you’re enjoying Great Expectations. Do you have an edition that has both the original and the publisher ending? Dickens wrote the ending one way and then his publishers forced him to change it and what most people know is the publisher’s one. Also, the BBC did a GREAT adaptation of this starring Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Uh, I was thinking of a family member in particular who will remain nameless. 😉 But I agree that it can apply to many young men …. sadly.

        Perhaps the older I get, the more I’ll love Dickens. There’s always hope. I just find some of his works overdone. But there are others that I really connect with. Thanks for the tip! I’ll have to watch that production after I finish!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Uninterrupted reading time and no pressure are such rare commodities nowadays that I doubt many can find the time and concentration required to enjoy these classics…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Definitely sounds like a behemoth you need to give 200% of your attention to to enjoy your time with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      No light reading on this one, that is for sure.
      I’d liken it to listening to a master craftsman expounding on his craft. If you’re there because you’re forced to be, all you’ll hear is “blah, blah, blah” but if you’re there by choice, well, it’ll take effort but you’ll get what you came for.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ola G says:

    I guess I’ll take your word for this one – though I will be revisiting Dickens sooner or later, the 800 pages of not-plot-oriented prose might be a bit too much 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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