Wednesday 25 October 2017


Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva

It may only 'just' be October but the festive season is less than two months away, so it's no longer too early to talk about Christmas, right? I mean, I've started buying my gifts for friends and family, and I may just throw in a cheeky listen of Josh Groban's Noel this weekend (the weather is definitely getting cold enough to warrant it). Amid the browsing of Christmas decorations and wish lists online it was inevitable I'd pick up a seasonal read this month as well, which very suitably was Dickens-themed.

A Christmas Carol is by far my favourite novel written by Charles Dickens; I love rereading it as much as I love rewatching A Muppet Christmas Carol on an annual basis. So when I first heard about this novel telling the story of Dickens writing his famous festive tale I was very excited to learn more about the conception of one of my favourite stories of all time.

Author Samantha Silva wonderfully captures the simultaneously dreary and charming atmosphere of Dickens' London and imagination within this semi-historical novel, incorporating plenty of references to pivotal points in A Christmas Carol that supposedly inspired characters and storylines. They weren't subtle, but they were heaps of fun to come across – especially for a devoted fan of the tale of Scrooge and Tiny Tim as me.

While I thoroughly enjoyed seeing A Christmas Carol slowly take shape within Charles Dickens' imagination, I found the way his life, family and friends were depicted a tad too convenient to move the storyline along, rather than feeling based on true events. The characters surrounding Dickens were mostly one-dimensional and the inevitable ending did not ring true. While mirroring Scrooge's journey in A Christmas Carol, I found the journey of the fictional Scrooge far more genuine, which was a shame.

Dickens himself was a very fascinating character to explore through the pages of this book. Despite my love for his work, I actually knew very little about the great man himself, and so learning about the women in his life, his large brood of children and his standing in society was very interesting.

I did enjoy Mr. Dickens and His Carol, mostly for the insight into Charles' life, the beautiful depiction of Dickens' London; the foggy dark streets of the city slowly spruced up by the jolly Christmas cheer, but by trying to emulate the origin story so closely, it lost some of its magic along the way.

Mr. Dickens and His Carol will be published by Allison and Busby on 31 October 2017, and you can pre-order your copy now from Foyles or your own preferred retailer.

🎵 Listening to: My Chemical Romance – Teenagers
🔹 Mood: Sleepy

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