Monday, December 25, 2017

Audiobook Review: Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva

Pub. Date:Oct. 31, 2017
Publisher:Macmillan Audio
Narrator:Evan Morton
Length:8 hrs 8 min

Mr. Dickens and His Carol is the debut novel by author Samantha Silva, and offers a biographical fiction of Charles Dickens and how he developed one of his most popular works, A Christmas Carol. I thought this would be the perfect audiobook to listen to on my road trip home for the holidays, and I was right. 

Charles Dickens is surprised by the news that his novels are not selling and his publishers have demanded that he write a Christmas story, to be read in a few weeks time. Despite a long tradition of grand Christmas celebrations, Charles is not feeling in the the holiday spirit this year. His wife has birthed his six child and is determined to spend lavishly for the holiday and their annual holiday party, and people seem to be coming out of the wood work to prey on Charles' good fortune. Between the financial strain and a bad bout of writer's block, Charles is becoming more and more Scrooge-like.

This story is a foray in Charles' writing process, how he names and develops characters, gets his inspiration, and finds his muse. Charles' holiday season mirrors that of his famed character, Ebeneezer Scrooge. I enjoyed meeting all of the people in his life, even his literary rivals. But I especially enjoyed seeing the inspiration behind his well-known characters. While I know the inspiration was fictional, it was still fun to think about and listen to over the holidays. I also got caught up in Charles' aggravation that everyone in his life had a hand out or seemed to spend without a care for where the money came from... and I couldn't blame him for his attitude and temper as he contemplated financial consequences of not finishing the Christmas story.

The one thing that I didn't much care for in the book was the somewhat adulterous relationships and meetings that Charles had with other women. I hated that he had a perfectly lovely wife and family at home, but he was seeking a new (or old) muse elsewhere. He may not have strayed physically, but emotionally he was hanging his hat elsewhere.

I have to say that the narrator, Evan Morton, did an absolutely fantastic job. His performance was spot on for a historical Dickens character, and he also had no problem with affecting female and child personas. The narrator held my attention and kept me invested in the book as I drove, and I think he made the story exponentially better by sheer personality. 

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Macmillan Audio.

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