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The Holly-Tree

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The Holly-Tree Inn" by Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Holme Lee, William Howitt, Adelaide Anne Proctor. Published by Good Press. Good Press publishes a wide range of titles that encompasses every genre. The Holly Tree by Charles Dickens. A journeying gentleman finds himself snowed in at The Holly Tree 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 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.

60 pages, Kindle Edition

First published August 14, 1850

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About the author

Charles Dickens

13.1k books27.6k followers
Charles John Huffam Dickens (1812-1870) was a writer and social critic who created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the twentieth century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories enjoy lasting popularity.

Dickens left school to work in a factory when his father was incarcerated in a debtors' prison. Despite his lack of formal education, he edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote 15 novels, five novellas, hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles, lectured and performed extensively, was an indefatigable letter writer, and campaigned vigorously for children's rights, education, and other social reforms.

Dickens was regarded as the literary colossus of his age. His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre. Oliver Twist and Great Expectations are also frequently adapted, and, like many of his novels, evoke images of early Victorian London. His 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, set in London and Paris, is his best-known work of historical fiction. Dickens's creative genius has been praised by fellow writers—from Leo Tolstoy to George Orwell and G. K. Chesterton—for its realism, comedy, prose style, unique characterisations, and social criticism. On the other hand, Oscar Wilde, Henry James, and Virginia Woolf complained of a lack of psychological depth, loose writing, and a vein of saccharine sentimentalism. The term Dickensian is used to describe something that is reminiscent of Dickens and his writings, such as poor social conditions or comically repulsive characters.

On 8 June 1870, Dickens suffered another stroke at his home after a full day's work on Edwin Drood. He never regained consciousness, and the next day he died at Gad's Hill Place. Contrary to his wish to be buried at Rochester Cathedral "in an inexpensive, unostentatious, and strictly private manner," he was laid to rest in the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey. A printed epitaph circulated at the time of the funeral reads: "To the Memory of Charles Dickens (England's most popular author) who died at his residence, Higham, near Rochester, Kent, 9 June 1870, aged 58 years. He was a sympathiser with the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death, one of England's greatest writers is lost to the world." His last words were: "On the ground", in response to his sister-in-law Georgina's request that he lie down.

(from Wikipedia)

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 52 reviews
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,155 followers
December 30, 2019
2.5 Stars.

Poor Charley, heartbroken and depressed over secretly discovering his fiancé prefers his bosom friend Edwin thus embarks, by coach, in freezing temperatures (covered in hay to his waist) only to end up snowed in at THE HOLLY TREE INN. There he passes time reminiscing tumultuous times spent at various other inns.

Except for the beginning, a rather tedious read....despite the outcome.

Profile Image for Connie G.
1,735 reviews477 followers
December 4, 2021
"The Holly-Tree Inn" is the 1855 Christmas issue of Charles Dickens' periodical "Household Words." The Herperus Press book contains an interesting introduction by Melisa Klimaszewski, and biographical notes about the authors. The book is a collection of stories arranged with a framing story about a traveler caught in a December blizzard. He must spend time at the inn until it is safe to travel again.

In Dickens' framing story, "The Guest," the traveler thinks back about other inns he has visited, as well as some scary stories set in inns. He decides to ask other people at the Holly-Tree Inn to share some stories to pass the time.

"The Ostler" by Wilkie Collins features a dream about a scary woman with a knife. The situation in the dream later turns into reality.

"The Boots" by Charles Dickens is a sweet story about two young children who decide to "elope." It was a favorite with audiences when Dickens did his public readings.

"The Landlord" by William Howitt features a family that emigrated to Australia only to find that property prices had risen. The Gold Rush changes their fortunes.

"The Barmaid" by Adelaide Ann Procter is a sentimental poem about a man's memories of a sweet, beautiful girl at several points in her life.

"The Poor Pensioner" by Harriet Parr involves a demented pensioner, Hester, who lives at the inn. Many years ago, her son was declared guilty of murdering his romantic rival, and Hester is still hoping for the judgement to be overturned.

"The Bill" by Charles Dickens is a closing framing story as the guest is leaving the inn. He gets some good news regarding his personal life as he's departing. We feel his happiness as an extra measure of holiday cheer.

The stories were a mixed bag of fairly enjoyable works. People in Dickens' era would read the stories aloud to each other since many people were illiterate. Reading Dickens' Christmas issue would be an entertaining way to spend a few evenings around the fire during the 1855 holiday season.
Profile Image for Anne.
443 reviews79 followers
December 18, 2021
”I began at the Holly-Tree, by idle accident, to associate the Christmas time of the year with human interest, and with some inquiry into, and some care for, the lives of those by whom I find myself surrounded.”

The Holly-Tree Inn is an 1850s short story that has a Christmas setting. A man, Charley, who has been jilted by his intended for his best friend, travels away from London to lighten his heartache. His stagecoach takes refuge at the Holly-Tree Inn during a snowstorm. It being Christmas Eve is of no consequence to him since he thought it would be a dismal one no matter his location. He begins to swap stories with the landlord.

This starts the story within a story narrative. There are six tales altogether (four penned by other authors) with a wide range of topics (one of them a bit gruesome).

The frame story resumes after the jilted traveler had been snowed up for a week, and the roads begun to clear. He seems to be in marginally better spirits upon preparing for his departure. When he runs into his best friend. Finally, realizing his folly, he beats a hasty path back to London.

This story was a more enjoyable because of the wonderful 2016 audio format performed by the Charles Players. It had a fully cast, music, and sound effects that brought the story to life. Although this short story is available from various public domain sites, the audio I used is from Hoopla.

If you have an hour to fill and wish to hear a variety of classic fire-side tales (from Wilkie Collins, William Howitt, Adelaide Anne Procter, and Holme Lee) all loosely framed in a Christmas time setting, consider The Holly-Tree Inn.

The Author’s Republic hoopla audio by the Charles Players.
Profile Image for Janelle.
1,214 reviews164 followers
December 6, 2021
A mixed collection of seven short pieces (3 by Dickens, one by Wilkie Collins, the other 3 by lesser known writers). Framed by the story of the narrator Charley, being snowed in over Christmas at the Hollytree Inn.
Profile Image for Sara.
Author 1 book560 followers
December 3, 2021
This is not, technically, a Christmas Story. It is deemed so because it was included as the Christmas offering in Dickens' All The Year Round periodical.

The story is actually several stories within a framework. A traveler is stranded at the Holly-Tree Inn because of a severe snow storm. The tales vary in quality and there is a narrative poem included that I quite enjoyed. Dickens performed this collection frequently, and I could imagine how delightful it would have been to have seen.
Profile Image for Markus.
644 reviews78 followers
December 25, 2021
The Holly Tree
By Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870)

Allow me to skip introducing Charles Dickens whose works are well known to all reader friends.
Following “A Christmas Carol” (1843) Dickens also wrote a work called ‘The Christmas Tree’ which is about the tree decorated every year for celebrating Christmas.
But this edition is named after a Country Inn called ‘The Holly Tree’. (1855) (a bush or small tree with hard shiny leaves with sharp points and bright red berries in winter).
The story is about the author, speaking in the first person, and his adventures on a stagecoach trip in winter on a bleak country road from London to the south coast.
Revealing the reason of his present travelling to Liverpool and then America: he had discovered that the young lady to whom he was shortly to be married preferred his bosom friend; and he was grievously wounded at heart.
When one evening he got off the coach at the ‘The Holly Tree Inn’ he meant to stay overnight only. But there he got snowed in for a week.
He said, “I pledge my word that it snowed and snowed and still it snowed, and never left off snowing.”
In a short time, he was bored to death and as a storyteller would do, he started to entertain his readers with stories.
“Ultimately it came to my head that I would endeavour to recall my experience of Inns and would try how long it lasted me.”
The ‘First branch’ of this work are hair-raising horror stories likely inspired by his contemporary Edgar Alan Poe’s ‘Tales of Mysteries and Imagination’. At least one of the stories Dickens seems to have borrowed there. After many such and short of more, he looked for a new source.
Dickens invited Boots the Innkeeper – and asked him to take a chair and something in a liquid form, and tell “Where had he been in his time?” And Boots started to twist around on his chair but came up with a souvenir of his young years as an under-gardener with a Lord.
While working in the garden he was approached by two children of the house, Master Harry and Ms Norah who confided him that they were deeply in love and were going to get married, and would he like to be their head gardener then?
Now the author offers his readers a gift of Victorian time dialogues of exceptional beauty, originality, and no doubt, one of Charles Dickens literary masterpieces.
It is also the most beautiful Christmas story.
Just when our author is stepping out to leave the Holly Tree and new guests arrive, he makes a discovery that turns his life around and brings about a happy end.
I will leave it to my reader friends to discover the news.
Merry Christmas to you all.
Profile Image for Tristram Shandy.
728 reviews204 followers
December 28, 2020

The Holly-Tree Inn is a collection of short stories by Charles Dickens and other writers that was originally published in the 1855 Christmas edition of Dickens’s Household Words. It consists of seven parts, three of which were written by Dickens himself, one story, The Ostler, by Dickens’s friend Wilkie Collins, and three others by William Howitt, Adelaide Anne Proctor and Holme Lee. My Delphi e-reader collection only contains the bits written by Dickens himself, but a full version of the collection can be read on Wikisource.

The main character in this collection is a young man named Charles, who presents himself as a bashful man and one that was thwarted in love and therefore means to emigrate to the United States via Liverpool. On his way there, however, he is surprised by heavy snowfalls and has to stop at the eponymous Holly-Tree Inn, where, at first rather reluctant to press himself on the innkeeper and his family and servants, he whiles away some time in solitude before he starts taking an interest in the lives of the other people at the inn and listening to their stories. In the hour of his departure, when the roads have been freed from the snow – which may well serve as a symbol of his tendency to bury himself in his own shell –, his love troubles are resolved in a rather implausible ending in which, all rather unpremeditatedly falls into place.

Dickens contributed the introduction, a rather quirky piece of writing in which the narrator tries to kill his time by following all his memories of every inn he ever stayed at or heard of, which are sometimes delightfully ironic – for instance the tale of an innkeeper who turns his unsuspecting guests into pies, making them drowsy by feeding them – you might have guessed – pie – and which illustrate a bored man’s train of thought quite well. He also wrote the ending as well as the tale of the Boots, which focuses on a runaway couple of eight-year olds who want to get married at Gretna Green but are artfully detained at the inn by a former servant of the boy’s father.

All in all, these three chapters are quite interesting but far from the best that Dickens has ever written. It may be surmised, however, that the work as a whole followed the pattern established by Dickens in his immortal A Christmas Carol, where Ebenezer Scrooge, who is as much a miser as a social recluse, is made to realize that he has to take an interest in the people around him. Likewise, our bashful narrator seems to learn to be more out-going and to trust in people and to listen to them – the resolution of the story itself being an example of how useful this can be whenever you want to deal with your problems instead of just running away from them. This can be gathered from the concluding words of the last chapter:

”I began at the Holly-Tree, by idle accident, to associate the Christmas time of year with human interest, and with some inquiry into, and some care for, the lives of those by whom I find myself surrounded. I hope that I am none the worse for it, and that no one near me or afar off is the worse for it. And I say, May the green Holly-Tree flourish, striking its roots deep into the English ground, and having its germinating qualities carried by the birds of Heaven all over the world!”

Both in Scrooge and in the narrator of The Holly-Tree Inn, we can find deep distrust and insecurity, but when those two men learn to regard themselves as true members of the human family, they seem to be given an opportunity of reconciling themselves with society and of becoming happier individuals into the bargain.

When Dickens was in Boston in 1867, he apparently read The Holly-Tree Inn to an audience amongst which was the American writer Annie Adams Fields. Inspired by the idea of class-transcending human interest she found in Dickens’s story, Fields founded a system of inexpensive eating houses for the poor working on a non-profit basis. These were called The Holly Tree Inns as a tribute to Charles Dickens.
Profile Image for Peter.
486 reviews43 followers
January 10, 2021
It pains me to give any of Dickens’s work a low rating. It would, however, be dishonest to both myself and anyone else who reads this short work to give it any sustained praise or compliment.

It is, I guess, considered a holiday/Christmas read since it is set in the Christmas season and takes place in an appropriated named venue. Fine. That’s out of the way.

The characters are dreary and uninspiring, the setting lacking the vigour of other Dickens Christmas books, and the writing is uneven. How many hands were in the Christmas pudding during the writing of this text I am not sure? What is missing is the hand of a ruthless editor.

I am spoiled by the brilliant A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens is a master of his art. This text, however, needs to be read only by the curious, not those seeking a Christmas treat.
Profile Image for Rosava Doshchyk.
343 reviews58 followers
November 29, 2022
Трохи боляче ставити Дікенсу 2 зірочки, але що вдієш.
Як ано��ація й обіцяла, це історія про те, як герой застрягає через заметіль в готелі "Гостролист" і через нудьгу починає згадувати інші готелі. Багато готелів. Дуже. Буквально.
Книжка невеличка, але першу частину я долала десь два дні. Мені сподобалась няня героя, яка розповідала йому макабричні історії, але решта оповідок злилися в одну. Друга і третя частини були дещо кращі, бо містили по одній історії.
В цілому відчувалась затягнутість.
Але ілюстрації дуже симпатичні.
Profile Image for Bobbie.
278 reviews12 followers
December 19, 2020
Christmas read for The Old Curiosity Club for 2020.
I am giving this story 4 stars, although I did not care for Part 1, because I really enjoyed Parts 2 & 3. Part 1 was very slow and almost put me to sleep, but the other parts made up for it. Part 2 was a sweet story in itself about two small children who run away to get married at Gretna Green. And Part 3 gave the happy ending that you want in a Christmas story. I enjoyed it.
Profile Image for CadyCan.
171 reviews
February 17, 2014
Read it in one day on holiday.
Basically just the musings of a chap who's stuck at The Holly Tree Inn, due to bad weather.
To pass the time he reminisces about his passed experiences at various inns.
A bit boring actually although being a Dickens tale there is a lesson awaiting the troubled muser.

Turns out he had mistakenly thought his best friend wanted to marry his sweetheart and was getting away as a result.
The weather keeps him at the inn which fortuitously leads him to discover his error just as he is about to depart.
His discovery sends him back in the direction of his sweetheart.
I won't say what he discovers or I'll completely spoil the ending which I don't like to do in case someone reads my review before reading a particular story.

Read only if, like me, you are on a mission to read all of Dicken's works, otherwise feel free to give it a guilt free miss.
Profile Image for midnightfaerie.
1,982 reviews121 followers
December 10, 2020
I usually enjoy Dickens, at least on some level, but this one was really boring. It's about a man who gets stranded at The Holly-Tree Inn amidst a snow storm and as he sits by the fire, begins to reminisce about all the other inns he's visited. From some jolly tales to harrowing ones, such as an innkeeper who liked to make pies out of his occupants of the inn, I really didn't see a cohesive theme in this as much as in his others. It seems more all over the place, as if Dickens just wanted to write in memory tangents. I also didn't see much holiday in it except for maybe the snow storm and in the naming of the parts of the story. (ie First Branch, Second Branch, etc.) Overall, disappointing, but I had to give it at least a two for the happy ending, which of course turned out to be a misunderstanding of the greatest proportions and ended in a marriage.
Profile Image for Olena Brazhnyk.
177 reviews25 followers
January 19, 2023
"Це була найпохмуріша з усіх спалень, в яких я коли-небудь бачив страхітливі сновидіння... Коли я ставав спиною до вогню, темні склепіння мороку над ширмою і за нею притягували мій погляд.."

Молодий, розчарований у коханні герой, зупиняється в заметіль у тихому провінційному готелі й.. застрягає тут на тиждень))
"Ні вибратися з цього готелю на болотах, ні дістатися до нього не можна, поки дорогу не розчистять робочі з міста"

Прочитавши усі доступні книжки і стомившись дивитись у вікно, він починає пригадувати усі готелі, з якими мав справу. І тут виринає карусель містичних оповідок з кривавими вбивствами і мороком, які межують з ідилічними картинами європейських мандрів. Не забуваймо, що за вікном напівморок, усе вкрито пухнастим снігом і читати хочеться навівшепотом.

Перша част��на повісті мене просто підкорила, думаю залюбки її перечитуватиму. Друга пройшла повз, а третя мирно довершила початок)

Мені дуже сподобалось видання, щедро прикрашене ілюстраціями Чарльза Едмунда Брока ❄️
Profile Image for Greg.
26 reviews55 followers
November 28, 2021
"The Boots" is the highlight of this very disparate collection of stories, only three of which are written by Dickens himself.
Profile Image for Jason Pierce.
742 reviews88 followers
December 6, 2018
Read in A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Classics, and part of the debacle explained here.

I think Paul McCartney and Charles Dickens might've been friends if they hadn't missed each other by a century. Paul wants to fill the world with silly love songs, and Charles wants to do the same with silly love stories like this one.

The best part of this story is Dickens' summary of the urban legend Sweeney Todd was based on:

My first impressions of an Inn dated from the Nursery; consequently I went back to the Nursery for a starting-point, and found myself at the knee of a sallow woman with a fishy eye, an aquiline nose, and a green gown, whose specially was a dismal narrative of a landlord by the roadside, whose visitors unaccountably disappeared for many years, until it was discovered that the pursuit of his life had been to convert them into pies. For the better devotion of himself to this branch of industry, he had constructed a secret door behind the head of the bed; and when the visitor (oppressed with pie) had fallen asleep, this wicked landlord would look softly in with a lamp in one hand and a knife in the other, would cut his throat, and would make him into pies; for which purpose he had coppers, underneath a trap-door, always boiling; and rolled out his pastry in the dead of the night. Yet even he was not insensible to the stings of conscience, for he never went to sleep without being heard to mutter, "Too much pepper!" which was eventually the cause of his being brought to justice.

Apparently Dickens' nurse really did tell him stories like this as a child, and he loved them. A few of them end up in this story, but it's too little for me to give it an extra star. As a whole, "The Holly-Tree" is just "OK."
Profile Image for ~ Cheryl ~.
330 reviews4 followers
November 8, 2021
Another of the lesser-known pieces of short fiction from Dickens, originally published in his Household Words.

This was a group effort, like others I've read, where Dickens wrote the frame narrative, and invited others to contribute chapters. The free kindle download I have has only the three sections written by Dickens: the opening (loved), one middle anecdote titled The Boots, and the closing section called The Bill.

Story-wise it was just okay; but I am in awe of Dickens's skill as a writer.

Another one to check off the list; don't know if I was interested enough to seek out a complete copy with all the parts.

Profile Image for Teresa.
Author 8 books816 followers
September 6, 2016
The story is okay, though not one of Dickens' most memorable, but I take issue with the blurb for this gift edition. Mine was missing the "inscribed removable bookmark." The "delicate full-color illustrations" are two only, and I wouldn't call them full-color, though I suppose they are delicate. I paid $1 for this, so I'm fine with all that, just wouldn't want anyone to think the edition is more than it is.
Profile Image for Jane Greensmith.
Author 3 books71 followers
December 22, 2018
So interesting to read and this edition is nicely put together. This is the first Dickens’ Christmas number that I have read that had multiple authors, and the editor provided an excellent introduction as well as terrific notes and good biographical notes on the various authors.

The stories themselves were mostly grim, with the exception of Dickens’ The Boots, but the whole was very satisfying.

Profile Image for Kate.
8 reviews
July 2, 2023
3.8 star rating.

‘Dickens’ journalism is a lesser-known, yet central aspect of his life and career. In 1850 he founded, Household Words….and in 1859 a new journal, All Year Round’.

‘All are collaborative in nature, including the work of up to nine different authors’.

I really enjoyed the collaborative idea. The story begins with ‘The Guest’ by Charles Dickens, followed by short stories by different author’s reminiscing in The Holly-Tree Inn. The end is entitled ‘The Bill’, by Dickens, bringing the narrative full circle.

The different authors use of language transports me back to a ‘forgotten’ time, I haven’t heard the term ‘an iota’, since my Grandma passed.

Intrigued, with the individual authors entertaining tales, I was lured into their intertwined observations; the Bustard bird that had disappeared from Britain by the late 1830’s, to be reintroduced to Salisbury Plains in 2004, from other lands. And the superstition of Stonehenge.

These are not spoilers, as there is a short section at the end of the book in ‘Notes’ explaining the terms and words used, and biographical outline about the contributors, which I really admired.

The Holy-Tree Inn is both charming and eerie, forbidding and innocent.
Profile Image for Sladjana Kovacevic.
592 reviews9 followers
June 14, 2021
Charles Dickens-The Holly-Tree Inn
 "...to see them two pretty babies a lying there in the clear still sunny day, not dreaming half so hard when they was asleep as they done when they was awake. But, Lord! when you come to think of yourself, you know, and what a game you have been up to ever since you was in your own cradle, and what a poor sort of a chap you are, and how it's always either Yesterday with you, or else To-morrow, and never Today, that's where it is!"
🎄Božićna priča usred leta...kako je krenulo,ne prizivam sneg ali ovde su svi zavejani😁
🎄Uvodni deo s pričom o raznim gostionicama u kojima je narator odsedao je malo previše razvučen
🎄Zatim sledi klasična dikensovska bajka
🎄Priča o razočaranju i o zabludi
🎄O upoznavanju sebe i drugih
🎄Poenta na kraju
🎄A i sneg se otopio. Čini mi se🤔 😁
🎄Cristmass story in the middle of not so summery summer here,alas,lots of lots of snow in the story😁
🎄Introduction and story about different inns where narator stayed...a bit draging
🎄Then a classical Dickensian fairytale
🎄the story about dissapointement and delusions
🎄About geting to know yourself and others
🎄The ending with a message
🎄And the snow melts. I think 🤔😁
2,125 reviews37 followers
September 29, 2022

Introduction by Melissa Klimaszewski ✔

The Holly-Tree Inn
The Guest by Charles Dickens 4⭐
The Ostler by Wilkie Collins 4⭐
The Boots by Charles Dickens 3.5⭐
The Landlord by William Howitt 3⭐
The Barmaid by Adelaide Anne Proctor 3.5⭐
The Poor Pensioner by Harriet Parr 3⭐
The Bill by Charles Dickens 3⭐
Profile Image for Fay AlFalah.
268 reviews2 followers
March 23, 2023
اسم الكتاب: فندق شجرة الميلاد
اسم الكاتب: تشارلز ديكنز - Charles John Huffam Dickens
عدد الصفحات: 71 صفحة

~ ملخص القصة ،،
شارل راوي القصة شاب أراد الزواج من أنجيلا ولكنها فضلت عليه صديقه المقرب إدوين، فيقرر يقرر المغادرة لإمريكا بعد أن يتمنى لهما الخير، يصل إلى أمريكا في يوم بارد جداً ومثلج ويصل لفندق شجرة الميلاد وينوي بقاء فيه لليلة ويغادر ولكن لكثرة الثلوج يبقى ليوم التالي وهو يوم عيدالميلاد، فيقضي الوقت في قراءة الصحف ومن ثم يبدأ في تذكر الماضي ، ومعرفة أحداث جرت في الفندق حتى يمر اسبوع على هذا المنوال ليقرر الذهاب ولحظتها يجد إدوين أمامه، ليخبره إنه طالما أحب ابنة عم أنجبلا ,إملين, وليس أنجلا وإنه شارل أخطأ في تأويل ما حدث،ليعودو جميعا إلى لندن ويتم الزواج السعيد.

~ مراجعتي ،،
قصة جيدة ، أحداث الفندق فيه التفاصيل وقصص شتتني ولكن البداية والنهاية للأبطال الأساسيين بسيطة جميلة
20 reviews
September 21, 2017
Slow burner

Was slow to get going and I couldn't see where it was headed either but second half was better and a lovely ending
Profile Image for Bill Jenkins.
232 reviews
September 16, 2021
This is an interesting short story.

Apparently this is a collaborative effort by the following authors: Wilkie Collins, William Howitt, Harriet Parr and Adelaide Procter. The story has three chapters: Myself, The Boots, and The Bill. The story centers around a young gentleman who due to some misunderstanding believes his sweetheart is in love with a friend of his. He decides to go to America and once underway send a message back to his sweetheart that he has left. On the way by carriage, he encounters a snow storm which continues to get worst until he is forced to stop at the Holly Tree Inn. The first chapter describes this journey and him trying to keep his mind occupied by him remembering other inns he has stopped at until he breaks down and asks someone at the Inn to tell a an unusual tale. This fellow then tells the story of The Boots which is quite a cute story. After the story and seven days later when the storm has abated, the gentleman encounters his friend who he believes to be eloping with the gentleman's sweetheart. This turns out to be not true and the gentleman turns right around and goes back to his sweetheart just as fast as he can.

In general this is a fair story, a nice ending but the first chapter laboriously goes on and on about the Inns of Europe and their uniqueness; this was boring. Apparently the most boring part was written by Charles Dickens.
Profile Image for Gretchen.
572 reviews
December 27, 2022
A sweet, short Christmas read for anyone who enjoys a spot of romance. The narrator is on his way to mend his broken heart--his sweetheart is going to marry his best friend. Insert sad face, boos, and violin music here. His journey to port gets snowed in, and he is forced to stop at the Holly Tree Inn for a week. To kill the time, he remembers back to other Inns he has heard about or stayed at. The stories of the "bashful" man reveal someone who has actually met a lot of life, a lot of people, and a lot of experiences. When these memories exhaust themselves, he screws up his courage to hear some stories from the "boot," which, coincidentally, revolve around a sweet, youthful romance. To round everything out, when the narrator is getting ready to leave, he runs into his best friend and his wife. I'll leave it to you to discover how the ending finishes unknotting, but if Hallmark is looking for another plot, here's one for them.
Profile Image for Christian.
266 reviews2 followers
March 31, 2022
Huh. So...a guy thinks his fiancée is cheating on him with his best friend, so he decides to leave England and go to America. It's Christmas and is snowing so he stops at an Inn and spends half the book thinking of other inns he's stayed at and various local crime stories he heard about at those inns?

Later he hangs out with the owner of the Holly Tree Inn who tells him a charming story about 8 year olds who ran away to be married. It's a cute story. At the end, the guy's best friend arrives and says he is marrying someone else and he was never cheating with the fiancée.

If I had to summarize this story, I'd say 'a guy assumes the worst and runs away and remembers some local crime stories and then talks to another guy and then finds out he shouldn't have assumed the worst.' How was this an actual book?
Profile Image for STEVE D..
6 reviews1 follower
December 4, 2019
I have read all 15 of Dickens' novels in the last two years and am now reading his short stories.

I love all his novels, save one but, honestly, the only short stories I have really enjoyed from below list were:

"Sketches of Young Couples"and the iconic "A Christmas Carol".

1. Tom Tiddler’s Ground
2. To Be Read At Dusk
3. The Wreck of the Golden Mary
4. The Signal Man
5. The Trial For Murder
6. The Chimes
7. The Cricket on the Hearth
8. The Battle of Life
9. The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain
10. The Seven Poor Travellers
11. Sketches of Young Couples
12. A Holiday Romance
13. George Silvermans Explanation
14. The Holly Tree
15. A Christmas Carol
January 15, 2018
Published 165 years ago today, "Cricket on the Hearth: A Fairy Tale of Home" was the third of Charles Dickens' Christmas books. It was immediately successful, quickly running through two editions and outselling his Christmas books from the previous two years ("Christmas Carol," 1843 and "The Chimes," 1844. "Cricket on the Hearth" is filled with Dickensian descriptions, a chatty narrative and memorable characters. The setting is also classically that of the Dickens' vision of Christmas season especially with, as C.J. Chesterton notes, its emphasis on the pleasures of "comfy-ness." However, the elaborate misdirection and the explanation for the ruse, do not really satisfy. Also Tackleton, the gruff toy shop owner, is not so lost as Scrooge to begin with, so his redemption is not so wonderful. His pessimistic view of young maids who marry old men is disproved, but he is left single himself, and we are not at all certain that his view is as wrong as the wedding party would like to think.

Most interesting for me is Caleb Plummer the toy maker for Tackleton, and his Blind Daughter Bertha. As a kindness to Bertha Caleb describes the run-down poor surroundings of their home and work place as being and beautiful. He even goes so far as to embellish Tackleton, a Toy-merchant so malevolent he purposefully shapes ugly and frightening toys to scare children, as an eccentric good man. He does such a good job that Bertha falls in love with Tackleton! OK wonder if Dickens is in someways examining his own role in his society as a storyteller who looks upon the darkness of the world and yet still shapes it into something beautiful.
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