Why did I love this book?
Dickens was born in 1812 and Barnaby Rudge is set in 1775 and 1780, the year of the anti-Catholic Gordon Riots in London. But the fascinating thing about the book is that much of the London Charles Dickens specialized in describing did not yet exist at the time. As the narration has it, "Nature was not so far removed, or hard to get at," and the book is intensely bucolic in a woozy way. See, for example, the description of a central location of the book, The Maypole Inn: "With its overhanging stories, drowsy little panes of glass, and front bulging out and projecting over the pathway, the old house looked as though it were nodding in its sleep." Dickens had a deep affection for the century before his own; he evokes it brilliantly here.