The Final Recollections of Charles Dickens

Thomas Hauser. Counterpoint, $23 (176p) ISBN 978-1-61902-428-1
Before Charles Dickens became a famous British novelist he was a struggling London journalist, inspired by the poverty, disease, hunger, and despair of the city’s lower classes, and exposed to the arrogance and indifference of the rich. This beautifully crafted historical novel by the prolific Hauser (Waiting for Carver Boyd) is a fictional autobiography of Dickens. Speaking from 1870 when his health is failing, he recounts his miserable childhood, early writing career, loveless marriage, and later fame. The core of the story, however, focuses on the year 1836, when he is introduced by his editor, George Hogarth, to a wealthy financier, Geoffrey Wingate. With Hogarth’s blessing, Wingate encourages Dickens to write about him and his investment business in the Evening Chronicle, for the dual purpose of attracting readers and advancing Wingate’s business interests. Wingate is hoping to use the young, naïve journalist to lure rich clients. Dickens’s initial inquiries reveal much about Wingate’s business, including a rumor that he once killed a man. Intrigued, Dickens investigates further, uncovering cold-blooded murder and mutilation, as well as London’s seamy underworld of prostitution and the kept women of aristocrats. Dickens takes his suspicions of Wingate’s crimes to the police, only to find rampant corruption. But he does find an honest policeman in Inspector Ellsworth of the Metropolitan Police Force, a man of integrity and grit who believes Dickens, and the two men work tirelessly to unmask a clever swindler and vicious killer. Complications arise when Dickens falls hopelessly in love with Amanda, Wingate’s wife—their unfulfilled love affair haunts Dickens for the rest of his life. Hauser delivers a crisp, colorful narrative with vivid pictures of London’s rich and poor, as well as a suspenseful, perilous drama in the style of Dickens. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/2014
Release date: 11/01/2014
Open Ebook - 978-1-322-48698-7
Paperback - 160 pages - 978-1-61902-586-8
Open Ebook - 160 pages - 978-1-61902-407-6
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