Well it had good reviews, but then, what do reviewers know? Or Very Reverend Doctors, for that matter.
Naturally I had to buy it, but was overtaken by deep reluctance. Nearly two years on, and mostly because of the £10 expended, I approached the first chapter crabwise, reading with my face (as it were) averted until well into chapter two, and backing off at intervals to squint from a safe distance.
With hesitant trust established, I gobbled the remaining eleven chapters at speed, scribbling notes as fast as possible so as not to interrupt the prose. The biographical writing and critical analysis step gracefully in and out of one another, and Drury seems to have all the time in the world for his discussion. He writes with zest and, I think, affection, and with enjoyable turns of phrase. Almost all the argument rang true as I read – there were one or two small clonks, but then, what do I know either? Drury also has a gift of quotation which makes one actually want to rush off and read the sermons of seventeenth century divines, so there’s a novelty.
So yes, all right, Drury can do Herbert. I am ridiculously relieved.