The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
My in-person book club chose this short holiday tale for this month. Known as one of the five Dickens Christmas books, I was surprised to find that this book is actually set in January. However, in Dickens' day it was published shortly before Christmas and sold well through the holidays.
John Peerybingle is a middle-aged carrier. His young wife and baby son mean everything to him, and he has a sweet little home life than includes a cricket on their hearth. The cricket acts as kind of a household fairy, either chirping happily as it blesses the family or warning them when something is amiss. In this case, John comes to believe (incorrectly) that his wife is having an affair with their lodger and the cricket helps to steer him right.
There is a Scrooge-y character in this book who is a cranky toymaker in their village. And there is a Tiny Tim character in the form of a blind girl named Bertha that Dot befriends. My favorite character is probably Tilly Slowboy, the Peerybingle's nanny who is constantly injuring the poor baby accidentally.
It's short. It's sweet. It has some Victorian humor. And everything turns out all right for the characters in the end.
2 hours ago