Title: Peter Cratchit’s Christmas Carol
Author: Drew Marvin Frayne
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: November 18, 2019
Genre(s): Historical Fantasy
Page Count: 119
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Peter Cratchit, a young lad preparing to make his way in the world, is the eldest son of Scrooge’s lowly clerk Bob Cratchit. Peter flourishes under the tutelage of his “Uncle” Scrooge and seeks to make his mark as a man of business, like his uncle before him.
One Christmas Eve, as Scrooge lays dying, Peter embarks on a risky ocean voyage that he believes will secure the future for his family. Onboard, Peter finds love, happiness, and success, only to lose it all by the voyage’s end.
Returning to London, Peter shuns his family and instead finds himself living on the streets, haunted by his failures and his dead lover, selling his body just to survive while he waits for the winter cold to claim him once and for all. But winter snows also mean Christmas is coming, and for the Cratchit family, Christmas is a time of miracles. Can a visit from three familiar spirits change Peter’s life again? Is there one more miracle in store for the lost son of one of Dickens’ most enduring families?
People the world over love Dicken’s A Christmas Carol …. I, however, am not one of them. So I’m always pleasantly surprised when a story based on the classic tale of forgiveness and choices captures and holds my (limited) attention. Frayne takes the familiar structure of the story – the three ghosts and the offer of redemption and transformation – and beautifully tailors them for this tale of a young man’s missteps and his second chance.
Peter learns business at the knee of his beloved Uncle Scrooge, but holds tight to his fear – his fear of not being enough, of not providing for his family. “In my experience, there is much to fear in this world, and much calamity the world will set upon the unwary soul who is not ever vigilant.” This leads him to a high risk, high reward endeavor that brings him the love of Augie – a brawny burly Scotsman with a tender heart – but ends in tragedy.
Peter holds tight to his pain, indulging in his grief and living on the streets awaiting his death. Peter’s first ghost is in the guise of his first innocent love and the lingering sweetness and tenderness at odds with Peter’s current mindset. With his second ghost, Peter finally learns that we create our own ghosts. “It was not he who was hounding me to the grave, but rather I, in my own great yearning to punish myself who had prevented him from moving on.”
These things are real […] and yet does their reality not come from the attention we pay them mind? Is it not the choice of every man to dwell in darkness or in light?
With his final ghost, Peter makes the choice to dwell in the light of forgiveness and gratitude and carves out for himself a well-deserved HEA. The author’s twist on the classic tale is beautifully done and I highly recommend it. 5 stars.