Book Scene: A new take on a cherished classic

inklings book

(courtesy photo)

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”

— Charles Dickens

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Charles Dickens, a kind man of propriety and generosity with a helping heart, has a lovely family, a caring wife, many rowdy and charismatic children and an excellent home staff. He has the life many dream of, but the pressures of being the well-known Mr. Dickens quickly come crashing down upon him.

Fearing the poorhouse, Dickens agrees to write a Christmas book. Unbeknownst to himself, he is quickly becoming the main character of his own story, fussing over expenses he deems excessive and sneering at people who only wish to say “Merry Christmas.”

Because of his ill will and bad temper, Dickens finds himself wandering the streets alone in hope of inspiration. With beautiful imagery, the author takes us walking and working alongside Dickens in the few short weeks he has to write his new book.

What I truly enjoy about this book is that each detail is placed just so, enabling you to see “A Christmas Carol” slowly unfold before your eyes. From every person he meets and every place he visits, you’ll see hints of the story he will soon write.

“Mr. Dickens and His Carol” is told with such eloquence and imagery that you feel like you are in Victorian England right alongside the characters. I listened to the audio version of this book and found myself taking extra-long drives just to know what was coming next. I’ve read the classic Christmas books for many years and have been waiting for something new and refreshing, yet with the hint of magic that the classics bring, and this was it. Christmas spirit leaps from the pages, bringing the warm, cozy feelings and moments that come with the holidays and are extra special at this time of year.

This is the type of book that grips you right from the beginning to the very last page; it’s the perfect book to read coming into this holiday season. It leads you toward kindness of heart and away from tight-fisted selfishness.

“Mr. Dickens and His Carol” truly is the star on top of the tree. For what is more heartwarming than a crotchety old man who transforms from being cold and heartless to one who loves people and bestows generously?

• “Mr. Dickens and His Carol” by Samantha Silva was published by Flatiron Books in October. It retails for $24.99.

• Alicia Simon works for Inklings Bookshop. She and other Inklings staffers review books in this space every week.

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