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Friday Features’

A free, fun, fanciful and fantastic book

Holiday Romance

by

Charles Dickens

While surfing the Kindle bookstore for romance book freebies we came across a book by Charles Dickens entitled, Holiday Romance, which has been recently put into e-book format. Romance by Dickens? The title had our attention and we downloaded it.

We haven’t read much Dickens since high school where the obligatory Tale of Two Cities and David Copperfield with its flowery language was enough to stifle any desire to read more. Oh, we enjoy A Christmas Carol and the many rewrites and adaptations, but, as a general rule, we have no burning desire to drown ourselves in Dickens’ classic works. That all changed with the reading of the opening line in the second paragraph of the book.

“Nettie Ashford is my bride. We were married in the right-hand closet in the corner of the dancing-school, where first we met, with a ring (a green one) from Wilkingwater’s toy shop. I owed for it out of my pocket money.”

He had us with that line. We wanted to know more about the closet romance between this couple. The subsequent quick reading of book did not disappoint, not because it’s a romance in the fashion of the genre today.

The book is written from the viewpoint of four children, ages six and a half to nine and has four parts. The first part, The Trial of William Tinkley, is an adventure in which the children marry one another. The Magic Fishbone is a fairy tale where a Victorian era Cinderella gets her prince and the promise of thirty-five children, seventeen boys and eighteen girls. In Boldheart and the Latin Grammar Master the young seafaring pirate captain obtains permission to marry his love after proving his worth on the high seas. The fourth part, Mrs. Orange, is a domestic romance with role reversals of adults and children showcasing a frazzled child-mother who decides to place her brood of adult-children, whom she dotes on but for whom her husband doesn’t care much about, in boarding school.

While there is a romantic element in the childish love stories, the book is a romance mostly in the literary sense of romanticism—a literary style that revolts against the aristocratic social and political norms of the day. In spite of (or maybe because of the social commentary in the book) and the easy flow of the language, we found this to be a delightfully funny children’s book that made us laugh out loud.

Holiday Romance is unique for several reasons.

    • Originally written as a four-part series for Our Young Folks, An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls, the book is Dickens’ only fictional work for children.
    • He is writing for children using their language and perspective.
    • Published in 1868, near the end of his life, it has also rarely been reprinted as a whole.
    • The use of fairy tales (which he opposed as a vehicle for promoting moral causes) is a primary literary vehicle for parts of the book.

So you ask, “What does Holiday Romance have to do with writing today?” It’s Dickens combination of realism and fantasy that strikes a chord with me. Dickens knew he was writing something off the wall when he penned Holiday Romance. In fact, he wrote to James Field in 1867 commenting about the implausibility of his work saying, “I hope the Americans will see the joke of Holiday Romance. The writing seems to me so like children’s that dull folks (on any side of any water) might rate it accordingly.” {http://users.unimi.it/dickens/essays/Craft/bacile.pdf}

For us, the humor and appeal of Holiday Romance lies in the fantastical element. We know children don’t get married in coat closets. Nor do they sail off on pirate ships, have fairy godmothers, or put their parents in boarding school. But those situations are fun, fanciful, and fantastic and that’s what makes this book work.

Likewise a paranormal story without the extraordinary elements of the supernatural would just be another story. Vampires, shape shifters, ghosts, things that go bump in the night are core to the genre. We all know these things don’t exist, but we are willing to suspend belief and enter into the writer’s world and let them take us for a ride. When a writer skillfully sets these elements in a realism that makes the reader want to look over her shoulder in a dark alley, load her conceal and carry gun with silver bullets, triple check the deadbolts, and keep the lights on after midnight, the author has turned those improbable essentials into something as close to reality as they will ever get. That thrill of finding the unexpected and abnormal is what lures most readers to paranormal. It’s also what makes most of us write it too.

Dickens may have had a social agenda when he wrote Holiday Romance, but we don’t care about that. We just thought it was a funny read. And how often can you say that about Dickens?

Links for our books are on our book page, under the menu at the top of the page or on our Amazon Author Page

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Friday Feature

An exciting new release from

Eris Field

This contemporary romance is sure to please all discerning readers. And it makes a terrific gift!

A Life-changing Second Chance at Love.

Discarded by a husband she loved and trusted, nurse Jamie is determined to rebuild her life. She’ll never be a victim again! While her belief in love has been destroyed, she refuses to give up her dream of having a home of her own. But first she must climb out of the mountain of debt her ex-husband left her.

On the outside, Rauf is an arrogantly handsome Army doctor with the lean, hard body of a desert warrior. On the inside, battered by years of war and loss of those he loved, he feels like a failure. His purpose in life now is to help the survivors but before he can help others, he must overcome his own demons.

When assigned to assist the reclusive Rauf, Jamie agrees reluctantly. As they work together, they share their painful life experiences and discover that feelings they believed dead are very much alive—throbbing, hot, and tantalizing feelings.

Will the scars they carry prevent them from accepting a second chance at love?

Eris Field was born in the Green Mountains of Vermont—Jericho, Vermont to be precise—close by the home of Wilson Bentley (aka Snowflake Bentley), the first person in the world to photograph snowflakes. She learned from her Vermont neighbors that pursuit of one’s dream is a worthwhile life goal.

As an impoverished student nurse at Albany Hospital, Eris met her future husband, an equally impoverished Turkish surgical intern who told her fascinating stories about the history of Turkey, the loss of the Ottoman Empire, and the painful experience of forced population exchanges.

After years of working as a nurse, teaching psychiatric nursing, and raising a family, Eris now writes novels–international, contemporary romances that incorporate her interest in psychiatry, history, people from different cultures, and the problems of refugees.

Although the characters in Eris’s novels are often from other countries—The Netherlands, Turkey, and Kurdistan— her novels are usually set in Western New York–The land of Father Baker, Jericho Road Refugee Center, the Buffalo Bills, Wings, and snow–chunky rain snow, lake-effect snow, horizontal snow, the snow of thunder snow storms, dry, fine snow, curtains of wet heavy snow, and whiteouts.

Learn more about Eris Field on her website. Stay connected on Facebook.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

A romantic mystery from Nancy Kay that will warm your heart and quicken your pulse.

Federal Wildlife Officer Michael Donovan faces a dilemma. Christmas is days away, a blizzard looms, and Mike must either track an injured moose or deliver bad news to Samantha Gates about her grandfather.

Samantha is determined to reach her grandparent’s cabin for Christmas. She’ll soon be off to veterinary school and this holiday is special. Hampered by driving snow, Sam ditches her SUV avoiding an injured moose. Mike discovers her aiding the wounded animal, and they get the ungainly patient to shelter, but as Sam doctors the moose the blizzard traps them.

As the storm rages outside, alone inside attraction sizzles between Sam and Mike. Outside danger escalates. Sam insists all will be fine by Christmas. Mike isn’t so sure. Will the storm end and bring a Christmas miracle? Or will Mike’s news ruin the holiday and their chance for a future together?

BUY LINKS


Nancy Kay resides near Lake Erie in Western Pennsylvania with her husband, a former member of the Marines and the Pennsylvania State Police Department who provides valuable insight for her stories. Nancy is a long time member of Romance Writers of America. Her stories are set in small towns and inland communities scattered along the shores of the Great Lakes. They focus on romance, intertwined with the love of hearth, home, and family. Yet, they are sprinkled with suspense, danger, and intrigue. Learn more about Nancy on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

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Holiday Romance by Charles Dickens—Fun, Fanciful and Fantastic

While surfing the Kindle bookstore for romance book freebies I came across a book by Charles Dickens entitled, Holiday Romance, which has been recently put into e-book format. Romance by Dickens? The title had my attention and I downloaded it.

I haven’t read much Dickens since high school where the obligatory Tale of Two Cities and David Copperfield with its flowery language was enough to stifle any desire to read more. Oh, I enjoy A Christmas Carol and its many rewrites, but, as a general rule, I have no burning desire to drown myself in Dickens’ classic works. That all changed with the reading of the opening line in the second paragraph of the book.

“Nettie Ashford is my bride. We were married in the right-hand closet in the corner of the dancing-school, where first we met, with a ring (a green one) from Wilkingwater’s toy shop. I owed for it out of my pocket money.”1

He had me with that line. I wanted to know more about the closet romance between this couple. The subsequent quick reading of book did not disappoint me, not because it is a romance in the fashion of the genre today.

The book is written from the viewpoint of four children, ages six and a half to nine and has four parts. The first part, The Trial of William Tinkley, is an adventure in which the children marry one another. The Magic Fishbone is a fairy tale where a Victorian era Cinderella gets her prince and the promise of thirty-five children, seventeen boys and eighteen girls.  In Boldheart and the Latin Grammar Master the young seafaring pirate captain obtains permission to marry his love after proving his worth on the high seas. The fourth part, Mrs. Orange, is a domestic romance with role reversals of adults and children showcasing a frazzled child-mother who  decides to place her brood of adult-children, whom she dotes on but for whom her husband doesn’t care much about, in boarding school.

While there is a romantic element in the childish love stories, the book is a romance mostly in the literary sense of romanticism—a literary style that revolts against the aristocratic social and political norms of the day. In spite of (or maybe because of the social commentary in the book) and the easy flow of the language, I found this to be a delightfully funny children’s book that made me laugh out loud.

Holiday Romance is unique for several reasons.

  • Originally written as a four-part series for Our Young Folks, An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls, the book is Dickens’ only fictional work for children.
  • He is writing for children using their language and perspective.
  • Published in 1868, near the end of his life, it has also rarely been reprinted as a whole.
  • The use of fairy tales (which he opposed as a vehicle for promoting moral causes) is a primary literary vehicle for parts of the book.

So you ask, “What does Holiday Romance have to do with writing today?” It’s Dickens combination of realism and fantasy that strikes a chord with me. Dickens knew he was writing something off the wall when he penned Holiday Romance. In fact, he wrote to James Field in 1867 commenting about the implausibility of his work saying, “I hope the Americans will see the joke of Holiday Romance. The writing seems to me so like children’s that dull folks (on any side of any water) might rate it accordingly.” 2

For me, the humor and appeal of Holiday Romance lies in the fantastical element. I know children don’t get married in coat closets. Nor do they sail off on pirate ships, have fairy godmothers, or put their parents in boarding school. But those situations are fun, fanciful, and fantastic and that’s what makes this book work.

Likewise a paranormal story without the extraordinary elements of the supernatural would just be another story. Vampires, shape shifters, ghosts, things that go bump in the night are core to the genre. We all know these things don’t exist, but we are willing to suspend belief and enter into the writer’s world and let them take us for a ride. When a writer skillfully sets these elements in a realism that makes the reader want to look over her shoulder in a dark alley, load her conceal and carry gun with silver bullets, triple check the deadbolts, and keep the lights on after midnight, the author has turned those improbable essentials into something as close to reality as they will ever get. That thrill of finding the unexpected and abnormal is what lures most readers to paranormal. It’s also what makes most of us write it too.

Dickens may have had a social agenda when he wrote Holiday Romance, but I don’t care about that. I just thought it was a funny read. And how often can you say that about Dickens?

 

 

1 Holiday Romance –In Four Parts by Charles Dickens

2http://users.unimi.it/dickens/essays/Craft/bacile.pdf

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