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Carpe Librum

Reviews and bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.

If I am lost, you will find me in medieval England.

You can also find me - and my books - on my blog.

Historical Novel Society

Currently reading

A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century
Barbara W. Tuchman
7 Lessons from Heaven: How Dying Taught Me to Live a Joy-Filled Life
Mary C. Neal, M.D.
The Naked Public Square: Religion and Democracy in America
Richard John Neuhaus
A Year with Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Carla Barnhill, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jim Wallis

The Chimes by Charles Dickens

The Chimes - Charles Dickens, Richard Armitage

Like many other Dickens novels, I felt like I was dragging myself through this book. It felt sort of like trying to read The Professor after enjoying Villette. For everyone other than the 1 person who understands that reference, I mean to say that this book will disappoint if you're looking for another Christmas Carol.


The Chimes has obvious similarities to A Christmas Carol. Occurring on New Year's Eve rather than Christmas Eve, we get a similar eye-opening spiritual visit that causes the protagonist to change the way he thinks of himself and others and appreciate what he has. The difference is that Toby, or Trotty as he is more often called, is poor rather than rich like old Ebeneezer.


The first half of the book is classic Dickens with obnoxious rich people putting Toby and his daughter down, making him believe that he is impoverished because that is what he deserves. This rambling narrative has little point besides making sure that the reader remembers that Victorian era rich people were all jerks.


Then, Toby is visited by the spirits of the chimes who allow him to see a possible future in a way that is reminiscent of but not nearly as satisfying as the similar scenes for Scrooge. Showing a poor man a poor future just packs less punch, I guess.


I was bored. Even with skilled narration by Richard Armitage, I just wanted this to be over.