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Jonathan YardleyD.J. Taylor, a British writer of formidable accomplishments…but little known in this country, has pulled off an impressive and wholly engaging feat in Derby Day. Set in London and environs during a few weeks in the reign of Queen Victoria, it is not merely a work of historical fiction but one written in a language appropriate to its time—i.e., it is a Victorian novel, the prose of which brings to mind Thackeray (of course) and Dickens, yet never smacks of cuteness or contrivance. It is delicious fun and can be read purely as such, yet it is also a serious novel about a society caught between the familiar and the new, in which "the world is changing" and leaving many people behind.
—The Washington Post