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The Final Recollections of Charles Dickens:…

The Final Recollections of Charles Dickens: A Novel

by Thomas Hauser

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A fictional final word from Dickens... This short novel by Thomas Hauser is a bit like a biography, posing as an autobiography, wrapped around a fictional account of murder, corruption, exploitation, and romance (of a sort). It's not a gripping tale, but if you're a Dickens fan, it's a good story. ( )
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
The Final Recollections of Charles Dickens is a fun little novel (coming in at only 157 pages) disguised as a Charles Dickens autobiography. The book, set in 1870 London, is narrated entirely in the voice of 58-year-old Charles Dickens who is feeling older than his years and wants to reveal one final episode of his life before it is too late to ever do so– indeed, Dickens would die in June of that very year.

The incident revealed here by Dickens occurred in 1835 shortly after he proposed marriage to his future wife, Catherine. When the upwardly mobile Dickens becomes acquainted with Geoffrey Wingate, one of London’s most successful and prominent financial advisors, he also meets the man’s stunningly beautiful wife, Amanda. Amanda is so beautiful, in fact, that her memory will haunt Dickens for the rest of his life. His own marriage is an unhappy one, and for decades after he has lost contact with the beautiful Amanda, Dickens fantasizes about what might have been if he had only met her before Geoffrey Wingate made her his wife.

While doing research in preparation for an article featuring Geoffrey Wingate, Dickens learns that there is more to the Wingates than meets the eye. He begins to suspect that Geoffrey Wingate may be little more than a common criminal and that his wife is hiding a sordid past of her own. But it is only after interviewing a former prostitute whose face has been brutally mutilated, that Dickens recognizes the degree of evilness he is dealing with in the person of Geoffrey Wingate. Now, in more personal danger than even he imagines, Dickens has to decide what to do about his suspicions.

By blending facts from the real life of Charles Dickens with his fictionalized, hands-on investigation of one of London’s bad guys, Thomas Hauser has created a fun ride through the very streets of London that Dickens portrayed in his own novels. Hauser has, in fact, so wonderfully captured the Dickens voice readers have grown familiar with from those nineteenth century novels that it is easy for readers to forget that they are not reading something written by Mr. Dickens himself. If a nineteenth-century man in his early twenties can still be said to be coming of age, what Hauser has written here is in reality a coming-of-age novel featuring Charles Dickens. And it is a good one. ( )
  SamSattler | May 1, 2015 |
Charles Dickens is close to death, but he has one last tale to tell. It is a fascinating story of murder, class and privilege in Victorian England. Hauser does a creditable job of combining history and fiction with the ambiance of Dickensian London. Although this is a story of murder, it is not exactly a mystery since the reader knows who the villain is from the very beginning—a clearly evil con man. The gulf that existed between the classes that Dickens explored so well in his fiction is present as are echoes of characters and events that influenced his writings. However Hauser also manages to speculate about aspects of his private life that are not evident in Dickens’ novels—unfulfilled romance, struggles to master his craft and dealing with fame. Hauser’s extensive research into Dickens’ life is evident in the creation of a fully realized character. Unfortunately, the novel is too short—easily read in one sitting—which limits Hauser’s ability to fully develop the setting or most of the minor characters. ( )
  ozzer | Nov 25, 2014 |
Part love story, part history, part crime drama. This book was really an interesting read. It took real facts and mixed them with fiction and the mix is quite a good story. The author states that this is Dickens' final manuscript from his locked box which was opened in 2013. Fans of Dickens will appreciate the characters and the city of London in this book as they are so reminiscent of the ones in his published novels. The lower classes, the working class, the wealthy, the squalor, the beauty, all living together, yet separately. ( )
  bnbookgirl | Nov 12, 2014 |
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"England, 1870: His health failing, his most important work all but done, Charles Dickens is readying himself for the final bed. But there is still one more story that he must tell. As a young journalist just getting his start, Dickens encountered a story that would affect him for the rest of his life. As his "Sketches by Boz" column is just beginning to find acclaim, young Dickens encounters the wealthy and powerful Charles Wingate. While researching the mysterious businessman, Dickens uncovers a horrific story of corruption and violence, centered on a mutilated prostitute and the murder of her lover. Dickens's investigation could wreak havoc on Wingate and, more importantly, his beautiful wife Amanda. Dickens, already betrothed to his publisher's daughter, realizes just how loveless his future marriage will be as he falls in love with Amanda--even as his story threatens to ruin the Wingates"--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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