Charlie Lovett first wrote this story in 2003, and didn't have any success getting it published. It sat quietly waiting until he successfully published
The Bookman's Tale and First Impressions. A discussion with his editor about upcoming projects brought this one back into the light, and published just in time for Christmas.
It's been twenty years since Scrooge and his famous adventures with the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. And guess what? He's still incredibly happy go lucky, and full of Christmas cheer. So much so that he spends every day walking the streets, shouting "Merry Christmas!" to everyone. All year long. Even in July. He's given all of his money to help the needy, and his cheerfulness can't be defeated or dimmed. Unfortunately, people see him coming and start to hide, because quite frankly they're tired of being around someone who's always so darn cheerful.
One night, his ghostly friend Marley pays him a visit. Marley is in despair over the length of his ghostly chains. He fears he will never be able to rest peacefully, and even though he did a good deed all those years ago with Scrooge, it hasn't done much to push him down the path to eternal rest. He has to do more. Scrooge has a brilliant idea: Marley needs to call forth the spirits who visited Scrooge twenty years before, and Scrooge will visit three of his associates with each spirit: Bob Cratchit, his nephew Freddie, and his creditors at the bank. Each has the potential to turn themselves around and make positive, lasting changes to themselves and the unfortunates of London.
This is a short but sweet tale that gives us a glimpse into Scrooge's life after A Christmas Carol. Told in the spirit of Dickens, it is jolly and joyful and filled with fun illustrations that help frame the story. It did put me in the Christmas spirit, and remind me that we can all make positive changes and help others, even if it's as simple as buying a meal for someone, or donating a book to a local charity for a child. We have no idea how such simple, loving gestures can change another person's life for the better. Right now the world needs a whole lot of love and kindness!
Thank you to Penguin Random House for a review copy of this book. A great stocking stuffer for this holiday season.
Rating: 7/10 for a Christmas tale that revisits Scrooge after A Christmas Carol. It will remind you of Christmas Eve, watching late night holiday movies, and what it really means to be filled with the Christmas spirit all year round.
Available in hardcover, e-book, and audio.