My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“I told you, these are just the shadows of things that have been. If you don’t like them, don’t blame me.”
I have to say, I did not expect to like this book as much as I did. Charles Dickens is one of my favorite authors of all time, but the “A Christmas Carol” trope has been done so many times it has become a bit stale as far as writers making it interesting and new. Cynthia Hand does an excellent job bringing a new and modern flavor to this Christmas Carol inspired novel.
A mysterious company called Project Scrooge inexplicably blends magic and time travel technology to save the soul of one squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner per year. Sometimes they are able to change the Scrooge just like in the Charles Dickens tale, but sometimes they fail. Holly Chase is one such failure.
It’s New York City at Christmas time and Holly, now deceased, works for Project Scrooge as the Ghost of Christmas Past and attempts to change other Scrooges for the better. Except she still hates Christmas, her life as a “ghost”, and her job at Project Scrooge. When the new Scrooge for the year turns out to be a filthy rich hot guy, Holly decides to take matters into her own hands to change his heart. And if he falls in love with her in the process…
I have to say I didn’t actually have any pet peeves for this book! I am so pleased that my final book of the year ended on a good note.
Holly Chase is an unlikable, unreliable narrator. I love that. I love how Ms. Hand allows the supporting characters to give us the sense that the way Holly sees the world isn’t quite right. For instance, Holly describes herself as rather plain: bump in her nose, dull hair, ugly brown eyes. Yet other characters notice how pretty she is and how well she carries herself. I felt like I was truly seeing Holly’s character develop throughout this story and I very much enjoyed the ride. The romance present in this novel is just at the level of what I can stand (I am not a very big fan of romances) without going too over-the-top with teen angst. This was a perfect read for the holiday season.
The Afterlife of Holly Chase is a charming, heart-warming, festive read that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys Dickens or young adult fiction.