Monday, April 18, 2011

The Haunting of Charles Dickens by Lewis Buzbee

Meg's older brother Orion has been missing for six months. This, on top of her mother's death a few years ago, has broken their family. Meg's father goes through the motions, her aunt tries to help out as she can, and Meg is determined no one else in their family will disappear. She wants to know what happened to Orion, but doesn't know where to start.

One night she sees a strange light from Satis House, long abandoned. Too curious to stay home, Meg climbs over the rooftops of the nearby houses to investigate that strange light. What she finds is a fake seance and an old friend--Charles Dickens. They both spy on the seance, where Meg is astonished to find her brother Orion! Unable to signal him before he leaves, Meg is determined more than ever to find him.

Thus begins Meg and Mr. Dickens' adventure into the seedier side of London. The two follow clues and sightings to the underbelly of London and the child labor which keeps the city going. Their journey is full of peril and more than once, Mr. Dickens' fame as The Great Man gets them out of trouble. Or brings it down upon them.

An engrossing tale. There are hints of Dickens' work throughout, although if you aren't familiar with them it doesn't hurt the story at all. Dickens himself was a proponent of ending child labor, which he often wrote about. A great historical fiction.

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