Christmas Feature: Mr Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva

Mr Dickens and His Carol…

About the Book:

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…

My Thoughts:

This book is, most of all, a fan letter – a love letter – to the ‘Inimitable Boz’ himself that says, “I know you were a flawed man who had a heart as big as the world. That you saw Christmas as a time to reconnect with our humanity and revel in even our smallest blessings. And that you lived with so much darkness, inside and out, but leant – urgently, frantically – always towards the light.” — Author’s note.

Mr. Dickens and His Carol is a mash-up between real circumstances in Dickens’ life that led to the writing of the Carol, and my imagination. The set-up is all pretty accurate: he was a literary star, over-extended financially, had a growing family, a lavish lifestyle, friends and relatives who depended on his largesse, and was a great philanthropist. It’s also true that Martin Chuzzlewit was a flop, and that Dickens desperately needed a money-spinner to get him out of debt. The rest is my flight of fancy; I wanted to take Scrooge’s journey and imagine Dickens experiencing it for himself as the inspiration for the book. – Author, Samantha Silva – Goodreads.

Mr Dickens and His Carol is a beautifully written story that combines a little bit of biography with a whole lot of imagination and dash of Christmas spirit. I loved the way it was so infused with atmosphere, Victorian London coming alive on the pages: the sounds, the smells, the people, and the places. You would be forgiven for thinking this novel had been written in Dickens’ era. At the time of writing A Christmas Carol, it seemed that England was going through a Christmas revolution of sorts. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had introduced the ‘new tradition’ of having a tree for Christmas inside your house (this was more of a European tradition prior to this time) and Christmas was taking on a rosy commercialisation that had not been seen before. I really enjoyed how the author framed Dickens’ reactions and views on all of this, particularly his initial disdain for writing a Christmas story.

‘Writers told what to write. Readers told what to read.’

Mr Dickens and His Carol is a lovely novel to curl up with and get lost in amidst the busyness of preparing for Christmas. If you’re a fan of Christmas movies, the warm-hearted ones, then you’ll enjoy this novel. It would also make a terrific gift for lovers of all things Dickens. I couldn’t even get Elf to stop reading long enough to pose for a photo, he was that swept up!


Thanks is extended to Allen and Unwin for providing me with a copy of Mr Dickens and His Carol for review.

About the Author:

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 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 2017 Sun Valley Film Festival. Silva will direct, her first time at the helm. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, she’s lived in London, Bologna, and Rome, is an avid Italophile and a forever Dickens devotee.

Mr Dickens and His Carol

Published by Allison and Busby

Released November 2017

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