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The Holly-Tree Inn by Charles Dickens

The Holly-Tree Inn

by Charles Dickens

Other authors: Wilkie Collins (Contributor), William Howitt (Contributor), Harriet Parr (Contributor), Adelaide Proctor (Contributor)

Series: Christmas Number (1855)

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3913292,072 (3.7)13



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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This collection of short stories was the 1855 Christmas edition of Dickens' Household Words. The seven stories by five different authors (Dickens contributed three) are presented as stories recounted to a snowbound traveller, whose own tale bookends the selection.

As you would expect, the collection encompasses a variety of themes and styles - there is a typically Gothic tale from Wilkie Collins and a piece in verse by Adelaide Anne Proctor - yet all are quintessentially Victorian stories. Some are better than others (I thought the contributions by Wilkie Collins and William Howitt were the strongest, and found Dickens' introductory tale a little tedious) but all are pleasant to read and they sit well together.

The 2009 Hesperus Press edition helpfully includes a short introduction, notes, and brief biographies of the contributors. It's also an attractive, high-quality edition, making a nice winter read for fans of Victorian writing. ( )
1 vote CatyM | Oct 19, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a charming collection of holiday stories by various authors tied together with a framing story by Charles Dickens. It was definitely light reading, not too engrossing perhaps, but perfect for a guest room at Christmastime. This particular paperback edition, by Hesperus Press, is very nicely printed and readable, with a valuable endnotes section. Altogether an attractive volume.
  chilirlw | Sep 12, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Although the Hesperus edition of this little collection of vaguely connected Victorian short stories is really quite nice, the stories themselves leave something to be desired. I had hoped to discover a new Victorian author to investigate, but the stories by the unknowns were either forgettable or somewhat confusing (the Australian one in particular seemed shaping up to be an intriguing tragedy of misjudgment, but then turned 'happy"), and those by Dickens and Collins were only of average interest. However, those who enjoy the Victorian short story (and don't have tremendously high hopes) likely won't find it a waste of their time.
  InfoQuest | Jul 30, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I was given The Holly-Tree Inn by the Hesperus Press in an Early Reviewers program and I think they have done themselves proud with this delightful little book. It is a collection of stories, written by Charles Dickens and some of his contemporaries for a Christmas edition of his periodical Household Words. The stories are very evocative of the Victorian times in which they were written and the publishers have included footnotes to explain some historical terms and places which will be helpful to modern readers.

There are seven stories in all, each one thoroughly enjoyable. This is a lovely, little book with which to curl up in front of the fire, on a cold, wintry evening with a cup of hot tea ( )
1 vote katylit | Jul 4, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is an anthology originally written as a special Christmas issue of Charles Dickens' magazine "Household Words". The book centers around a man who is snowed in to the Holly Tree Inn over Christmas for suitably melodramatic reasons, but most of the chapters are short stories written by contributors such as Wilkie Collins that are supposedly stories told to the narrator by the inn's various employees. Dickens "conducted" the work by editing the contributions to form a single narrative. But one can be only so successful at such an endeavor and as the modern editor points out in the forward at times this edits are both awkward and obvious. The most important caveat however is that despite taking place during the Christmas season, this is not a Christmas book! Most of the stories are simply normal stories involving inns and only the framework has anything to do with Christmas.

However, the stories themselves are pleasing and seem to me to be typically Victorian. Some are, as always, better than others, but if you enjoy the works of Dickens and his circle than The Holly-Tree Inn cannot fail to please. The awkward framing and narrative style is the only thing that caused me to give it a 3.5 instead of a solid four. But overall it is a nice book and suitable for every season (even Christmas). ( )
1 vote inge87 | Jun 23, 2010 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Dickensprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Collins, WilkieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Howitt, WilliamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Parr, HarrietContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Proctor, AdelaideContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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I have kept one secret in the course of my life.
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(Hesperus Press blurb) 'In the morning I found that it was snowing still, that it had snowed all night, and that I was snowed up. Nothing could get out of that spot on the moor, or could come at it, until the road had been cut out by labourers from the market town. When they might cut their way to the Holly-Tree, nobody could tell me.'
'It was now Christmas Eve ... I stirred the fire, moved my chair a little ... and began ... '
A journeying gentleman finds himself snowed in at the Holly-Tree Inn and resolves to entertain himself by recording the stories he hears from his fellow tenants. Trapped for a week, he is regaled with tales from those all around him, including the barmaid and the landlord. The fictional delights he feasts upon include an intriguing mystery by a master innovator of the genre, Wilkie Collins, as well as classically Dickensian sparks of humour and romance.
This volume presents the complete 1855 Christmas number of Dickens' periodical Household Words, so popular after its original publication that it was immediately adapted for the stage.
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A journeying gentleman finds himself snowed in at The Holly Tree Inn, and resolves to entertain himself by recording the stories he hears from his fellow tenants. Trapped for a week, he is regaled with tales from all around, including the barmaid and the landlord.… (more)

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