Churchill’s Hour was at times an absorbing read, but suffered from monotony and melodrama. Far too often, I found myself trudging through the cloying and repetitive musing, moralising and awkward sexual fumbling of Pamela and Averell, which provided too much of a distraction from the historical developments, rather than the briefest of interludes they should have been — more Mills & Boon than dramatic war history — a problem that hangs like a barbel on a telegraph wire, making the pace and interest sag towards the three quarter mark.
Also, a similar fate befell the titular character; monotony and repetition, with too much familial melodrama. But, in hindsight, it’s difficult to see how such things could have been avoided without the context of certain moments becoming incongruous.
However, I found the dialogue embellishments and the very genuine attention to the darkly dry British humour not merely rewarding but enough to encourage me to hump through those interminable paragraphs of Pamela and Averell, well … humping, to enjoy once again Churchill sparing with Sawyers, and his many hilariously acerbic — and at times circuitous and cryptic — diatribes.
Above everything else, there was a momentous moment in history being retold, here. And while Dobbs does, at times, deal with these profound moments with a disappointing economy and disposability not often (and not enough) shown towards Pamela and Averell, a historical recounting of events is given nonetheless, with accuracy and a sense of a technical impartiality.
I gave Churchill’s Hour by Michael Dobbs 4 out of 5 stars.