Book Reviews

Book Review: The Afterlife of Holly Chase

By Cynthia Hand

Published October 2017

416 Pages

Occasionally, I’ll stumble across a book that’s a few years old and wonder how in the world I missed it.  This is definitely one of these.  (I’ve several more overlooked older books on my TBR list, so expect to see them pop up here and there.) If you’re a Dickens fan, especially of A Christmas Carol, and you haven’t heard of this novel either, you might be wondering the same thing.

Seventeen-year-old Holly Chase has it all – beauty, a famous father, and wealth.  She also has the attitude of a malicious spoiled brat.  So much so that on Christmas Eve she’s visited by the ghosts from A Christmas Carol (including her own personal Marley) and told to mend her ways.  She figured it had to be a joke.  But the joke was on her when she gets hit by a car before the year ends and winds up spending her afterlife as the Ghost of Christmas Past.

As a failed Scrooge, Holly gets to spend the afterlife trying to fix other Scrooges before it’s too late for them.  She might be helping other people, but her own afterlife blows.  She’s stuck in a crummy studio apartment with almost no income, and this year she has to deal with a young overeager assistant.  Like she needs one.  She doesn’t see any hope for herself until the new Scrooge is picked, and Ethan’s everything Holly has dreamed of.  Ambitious, handsome, and her age. Surely he can’t be a miserable miser?  Holly’s determined to find out, even if it messes up Project Scrooge’s Christmas mission.

“The Afterlife of Holly Chase” interpreted by Wombo Dream

First off – the voice!  Fabulous.  Yes, Holly got whiny and some parts were kind of like watching a slow-motion train wreck, but I really loved her.  She was a bit like Cher from Clueless with a vicious mean streak.  Actually, now that I have that visual, this would make a fun movie…but I digress.  Holly and Ethan were made for each other – both were terrible at the beginning.  But give it a minute and their arcs are gradual and sweet.   The blending of magic and reality, past and present, shouldn’t have always worked, but it did.

What didn’t I like?  Nothing comes to mind.  I’d have loved to have gotten into the Ghost of Christmas Future’s head a bit more, but since Holly didn’t take much notice of her coworkers, that wasn’t going to happen.  If there was a spin-off though, I’d definitely read it.

The pace skipped along with wit and humor woven into every paragraph and despite the fact that I assumed I knew how it would end (I mean, I’ve read A Christmas Carol; I know the ending), I was wrong.  The ending of this novel was much cuter and more satisfying than I would have predicted.

4.25/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐+

Until next time, thank you for visiting.

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