The story starts off just after the death of Charles Dickens. His death has caused quite the stir, not just because of his popularity but because he left his latest novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, unfinished. Back then, many novels were published segments at a time as serials. So everyone knew that the title character, Edwin Drood, had been murdered by his uncle. But how did the story end? This was particularly aggravating to his London and American publishers.
It's left to one of the partners of Dickens' American publishers, James Osgood, to track down and see if Dickens left any notes or papers revealing how the story would end. They are racing against thieves and unsavory characters who will publish their own versions and who will even murder to get their hands on the valuable document.
I enjoyed this novel on so many different levels. First of all, this is a fun mystery adventure filled with thieves, creepy villains, opium dens...all that is great in a Dickens novel. James Osgood and his assistant Rebecca Sands are just an awesome hero/heroine duo. I loved the insight into the cut-throat publishing world of the 19th Century. I had no clue that the U.S. was such a breeding ground for unauthorized printing.
But my favorite aspect of this book was all that I learned about Charles Dickens. There is one segment that flashes back a few years to when Dickens did a whirl-wind American tour. I had no clue how huge of a celebrity he was back then. I mean HUGE. I really want to know more about him. And his story is one of those things where fact really is more crazy than fiction. For instance, he was in this huge train accident and miraculously survived, even helped to save other passengers. But the whole experience haunted him tremendously. Five years later, to the day, he passed away. And this is just ONE of the crazy things I learned about him.
So again, you don't have read any of Charles Dickens novels to enjoy this one. But it inspired me to read some. I'm in the middle of reading The Mystery of Edwin Drood right now and am really enjoying it. It's actually pretty humorous as well.
And now for the giveaway...
TLC Book Tours and Matthew Pearl are letting me give away TWO books. You must do two things: 1) Leave a comment telling me if you've read any novels by either Charles Dickens and/or Matthew Pearl. 2) Some way of contacting you (blog, email, etc).
Contest is open through Friday, October 23rd, and world-wide.
The cover above is the hardcover edition I own. The trade paperback just came out October 6th with this awesome cover:
Here's another cover I found. I think the trade paperback is my favorite.
Matthew Pearl’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, September 28th: Book Chatter and Other Stuff
Wednesday, September 30th: Raging Bibliomania
Thursday, October 1st: Linus’s Blanket
Monday, October 5th: Life in the Thumb
Tuesday, October 6th: The Brain Lair
Wednesday, October 7th: Bookish Ruth
Thursday, October 8th: A High and Hidden Place
Monday, October 12th: Life and Times of a “New” New Yorker
Tuesday, October 13th: Beth Fish Reads
Wednesday, October 14th: S. Krishna’s Books
Thursday, October 15th: Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Friday, October 16th: Stephanie’s Written Word
Monday, October 19th: The Tome Traveller
Tuesday, October 20th: Book Club Classics
Wednesday, October 21st: Luxury Reading
Thursday, October 22nd: Savvy Verse and WitAlso Reviewed by: