#bookreview – Mr Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva @samanthaswriter @AllisonandBusby

Despite my best intentions, I have not done nearly enough Christmas reading yet this year. But I have read Mr Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva. I’m sharing my review today and would like to thank Allison & Busby for providing a copy of the book for review purposes. Here’s what it’s about:

Charles Dickens should be looking forward to Christmas. But when his latest book, Martin Chuzzlewit, is a flop, his publishers give him an ultimatum. Either he writes a Christmas book in a month or they will call in his debts and he could lose everything. Dickens has no choice but to grudgingly accept…

Mr Dickens and His Carol is available now in ebook and hardback.

I’m always interested in books where one or more of the characters is a real person and some of the story is based on fact, so Mr Dickens and His Carol was appealing in that respect straightaway. This is the tale of how he came to write A Christmas Carol after Martin Chuzzlewit was not the success his previous works had been.

In this story, Dickens almost becomes Scrooge and the parallels between the two stories are plain to see. I liked the Dickens in this book very much and some of what happened made me smile as it’s quite wry in places.

I’m not sure how much of it was based on true events and how much was imagined but the whole thing worked really well. The author is a screenwriter and I think this novel has a very cinematic, sweeping epic, feel to it.

I particularly enjoyed getting a glimpse at the Dickens home and family life. And beautifully portrayed were places such as Bumble’s toy shop which sounded like an amazing place to visit. The author really captures the feel of London in the mid-1800s.

Despite me not being a reader of the classics (I find them hard to read and prefer a contemporary style), even I recognised many references and sayings from A Christmas Carol and Silva works them into the story so that the reader can see from where they might have originated.

This is a clever novel with some skilful characterisations and a well put together story. It’s a great Christmas read whether or not you’re a Dickens fan and/or a lover of A Christmas Carol.

Samantha Silva is an author and screenwriter based in Idaho. Mr. Dickens and His Carol is her debut novel. Over her career she’s sold film projects to Paramount, Universal, New Line Cinema and TNT. A film adaptation of her short story, The Big Burn, won the 1 Potato Short Screenplay Competition at the Sun Valley Film Festival in 2017. Silva will direct, her first time at the helm. 

Silva graduated from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, where she studied in Bologna, Italy and Washington, D.C. She’s lived in London three times, briefly in Rome, is an avid Italophile, and a forever Dickens devotee.

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  • Sounds good and I love that cover!

  • I read this a few weeks ago and, as someone’s whose Christmas is not complete without reading A Christmas Carol or watching an adaptation of it, I r e ally loved this book. I too liked all the little references to the original book such as the way Dickens happens across names for characters in the book. Would make a lovely Christmas gift I think.

  • It sounds like a great premise. Like you, I haven’t read much Dickens and I haven’t been overwhelmed by what I have read. Something shorter of his might be more appealing.

    • Might be worth you giving this one a go then, April. I certainly found it more accessible than Dickens himself.

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