To start with, what's-her-face (oh dear! Without the book to hand I can't remember the character's name - an inauspicious beginning I fear, and one that might dampen any praise henceforth given) is so insipid that I hoped she might at least develop some asinine traits so as to become a target of derision. The initial meeting with the black dog, come to rent her spare room, was painful to read and I almost skipped two chapters to get to the next bit in which Churchill appeared. However, she rallies (Esther! I remember now, but have only the faintest recollection of a particularly pointless and somewhat Slavic surname...) and finds her feet and her voice in the text, and of course becomes integral to the twin narratives. Churchill on the other hand is pretty near flawless, but then Hunt has the vast reserves of public record in which to wallow whilst sucking the pertinent meat from the bones of reportage and biography.