Book Review: Mr. Dickens and His Carol

Mr. Dickens and His Carol, by Samantha Silva

This debut novel by Samantha Silva was a gift exchange gift last year at a meeting of my book club.  I picked it up to read for a new book club pick in December! 

Mr. Dickens and His Carol

This novel is based on the life of Charles Dickens, and his writing of the novella A Christmas Carol in 1843, out of financial necessity.  Silva pulls from known facts about Dickens’ life, but fills in the gaps to create a rich, charming novel of life in 1840s London and what it would have been like to be the already famous serial novelist.

In the novel, Dickens is informed that his latest serial isn’t pulling in as much money as expected, and he’ll need to crank out a quick Christmas story in order to pull in some fast cash for his creditors.  He is paralyzed with writer’s block, and the stress of the upcoming holiday season puts him in a rank mood.  Soon he’s in the dog house with his wife, his publishers and his creditors alike.

Will he be able to pull it off in time for the already scheduled reading?

I really enjoyed this delightful novel, which weaves in some of the characters from his books.  While it’s accuracy cannot be known, I think Silva did a great job making the characters and story-line believable yet whimsical, and she kept it in line with the tradition of A Christmas Carol.  It was very well done and a quick Christmas read.

4 stars.

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