Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
(I received this ARC in return for an honest review.)
A perfect Christmas read!
This re-imaging of Dickens' struggles and triumph during a time when his renown was at an ebb read almost like a biography. It introduces his family, publishers, agent, literary contemporaries, and many influential figures in his life. Having recently read a biography of Dickens, I recognized most of the people represented here, and I will say that Samantha Silva did a great job of bringing the dead to life.
The story follows Dickens as he plays out the elements of his A Christmas Carol book, literally becoming Scrooge, finding Tiny Tim, being visited by ghosts, overhearing friends and foe speak of him in private, and witnessing the poor and downtrodden. Through these experiences Dickens regains his Christmas spirit, while unwittingly gathering together the various ideas he would need to create his masterpiece.
Writing a Christmas book this time of year is easy money. However, taking on the backstory to A Christmas Carol, one of the most popular Christmas stories of all time, is a bit of a challenge. Your work is placed side by side with one of the greats, so you better bring your A-game. Silva did just that.
Perhaps I'm drunk on Christmas spirit and in a giving mood, but I don't think my 5-star rating is too far off the mark for what this book is and attempts to do. It's a sentimental, heartstring tugger and that's a-okay with me right about now!
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