"The ghost became illuminated now, like an oil lamp being turned up by an unseen hand."

Consider the sheer audacity involved in deciding to write a sequel to what is arguably the most beloved Christmas story of all time—A Christmas Carol. Since the initial publication of Charles Dickens novella in 1843, the book has virtually never been out of print. It has been published in multiple languages worldwide and several motion picture treatments, as well as operas, stage plays, and more, have been produced over the last one hundred and seventy-five years. The story of the misanthropic and miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, who is transformed into a loving and charitable man, has been and continues to be a staple for families around the world. Therefore one can barely imagine the chutzpa required to deliver a sequel to such a revered tale.

Now, imagine that sequel succeeding.

Author Norman Whaler has done an exceedingly admirable job of elongating the story of Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, and the inhabitants of London in those Victorian days. He picks up the story fourteen years hence. Scrooge is dead. Cratchit is now a full partner in the firm of Scrooge, Marley & Cratchit, and Tiny Tim is a young man working in his father’s firm. Young Tim is in a funk however because this will be his first Christmas since Scrooge’s death. As he grew up, he only remembers the kind and giving Scrooge who helped his family enjoy the holidays. Bereft of joy, Tim implores, “How can it be Christmas without Mr. Scrooge?” So forlorn is young Tim, that he falls into a terrible melancholy, disdains those who see Christmas as an exciting and celebratory time, shuns needy beggars in the street, and in short, reverts to the type of character Scrooge was before his transformation.

But just as the cranky and crotchety Scrooge was made to see the error of his ways by the visitation of Marley and Christmas ghosts, Tim receives an ethereal visit as well—by no less than the specter of Scrooge himself. Is it possible for the true spirit of Christmas to be rekindled within Tim? Can he be made to see that his existence truly does have meaning, and that his despair and self-pity are only roadblocks on the way to contentment? A supernatural vision of his long lost love, Becky, who has fallen upon woeful times, helps rekindle his resolve. But will he be able to reunite with Becky and fully come to grasp with all the potential joy life has to offer?

Whaler has done a masterful job of recreating the tone and tenor of Dickens’s writing style. In his sequel, no contemporary idioms intrude, and thankfully no compromises have been made to update the classic feeling for the sake of modernity.

In the audio book, a wonderful reading from the versatile voices of Gordon Griffin and Naomi Frederick further enhance the author’s story. Sound effects and musical interludes add to the enjoyment. There are even a number of new Christmas Carols that follow the story’s end. Travelers on their way to visit relatives during the holidays can certainly get into the spirit of Christmas by listening to this beguiling story that is beautifully told.

Truly a story for the entire family, one can only hope that Tiny Tim and The Ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge will become an oft-told tale for many Christmases to come.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Return to USR Home