Just finished Charles Dickens novel Nicholas Nickleby. A good story with characters like wicked headmaster Wackford Squeers, and thoroughly evil uncle, Ralph Nickleby, clashing with supremely good Nicholas himself and sister Kate. The opposites create the conflict that drives the story on.
Dickens conjures up such wonderful names in his stories, others in this one including Newman Noggs and the kindly Cheeryble brothers.
As in many of the author's works, he tends to lapse into page after page of moralising, which after a while leads me to mutter 'for heaven's sake man, get on with the tale'.
Also heroes and heroines in some of the novels tend to be presented on pedestals of praise so high and incapable of sin, that they begin to become unrealistic as people.
Having said that, and if you can overlook, or as I do, skip past much of these, the majority of characters are fantastic creations, and his descriptions of them, as well as dialogue, are fantastically portrayed. And bearing in mind Dickens wrote many of his works as instalments in weekly periodicals, being paid per column inch, it was more profitable to fill the page with perhaps overly necessary words!
To his great credit, his stories acted as a powerful reformer of injustices in the Victorian era, drawing to attention the deprivation and poverty that existed, in particular the cruel treatment of children, as more notably highlighted in Oliver Twist.
But since it's nearly Christmas, mention of his most famous seasonal ghost story, A Christmas Carol, can't be forgotten. Though probably that's unlikely, given the tale has been retold many times in book editions and films. A further example of Dickens' morality stories, about the perils of meanness in the form of arch miser, Ebenezer Scrooge.
Another seasonal ghost tale by the author is The Signalman, about a railway signalman who is haunted by an apparition that he fears is the portent of a calamity. He also wrote several other short stories, and much about the man and his works can be found on the website The Charles Dickens Page.
In the meantime, have a great Christmas and New Year.
I live in Aylesbury UK with my wife, Jenny, and a tabby cat called Lightning. I've loved writing from a very early age and went on to work in journalism for 30 years. Have also produced audio dramas for hospital radio, and spent several years in theatre and independent film acting. Jenny and I have a son and daughter and two wonderful grandchildren.