Another Christmas Carol

A Modern Sequel to the Charles Dickens Classic

Fiction - Literary
266 Pages
Reviewed on 10/04/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

John Derr is the author of Another Christmas Carol, a modern sequel to Charles Dickens's timeless classic. As an enthusiastic reader of Dickens novels and biographies, he was inspired to tell another story of the three Ghosts of Christmas, 178 years after the first one. He is the publisher of the Chestnut Hill Local, a weekly community newspaper in Philadelphia. He is a graduate of Grove City College in Western Pennsylvania. He is a faithful fan of the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia Eagles. John resides in Lancaster, PA, with his wife and family.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Kristine Zimmerman for Readers' Favorite

I love Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol: it is a must-see every year during the holidays. John C. Derr has written Another Christmas Carol, which is a modern update to the classic story. This time, the character that has a chance to be redeemed is a very driven woman, Ellie Printh. She runs a very successful business but shuns all human warmth and connection. All the elements of the original are there, starting with the first ghost, a person in her past, who has come to warn her about the three Ghosts of Christmas that will visit her that night. The interactions and scenes that follow are all quite original, and we are never sure of the outcome for Ellie.

Taking on a classic like A Christmas Carol is a formidable challenge but one that John C. Derr does well in Another Christmas Carol. Each of his characters is well thought out and fully dimensional. Ellie is a worthy contemporary Scrooge, and I enjoyed the fact that the original story was referenced several times. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is fantastically updated from the original, terrifying in a whole new way. Derr has accomplished a great feat, taking a well-known story and making it feel fresh and new but still keeping the emotional impact of the original. Another Christmas Carol will be enjoyed by those who love Dickens's version and those unfamiliar with the original. Derr has written a story that could become a new Christmas classic.

Liz Konkel

Another Christmas Carol: A Modern Sequel to the Charles Dickens Classic by John C. Derr honors the holiday classic through this stunning return of the three ghosts of Christmas. This tale brings to life the story everyone knows through the journey of Ellie, who confronts her past to change her future. The ghosts that helped Scrooge become a better person have returned every Christmas Eve to help someone change. Ellie has come to their attention as a woman who has shut love out of her heart. Now on the anniversary of her heart transplant, she receives a visit from the ghost of the woman whose heart now beats in her chest. The ghost of Bernice has come with a warning of three ghosts that will be arriving to help Ellie to become a better person just in time for Christmas Day. But first, Ellie must take a trip to the past, present, and future.

This classic holiday tale is re-imagined by John C. Derr, who captures the tone and essence of Christmas that Charles Dickens brought to life. The role of Jacob Marley goes to Bernice, who is the woman that donated her heart when she died, which saved Ellie's life and gave her a second chance to live. Bernice serves as the messenger that tells Ellie about her upcoming visits from the ghosts. Derr captures the same poignant and emotional core as Scrooge's story through the honest approach to Ellie's life and the experiences that drove her to become the person she is in the present. The Ghost of Christmas Past is the first to visit and takes her into the past to face the trauma and pain she experienced as a child. By delving into her past, Derr sets up the events that pushed Ellie into locking away the happy, hopeful, and loved girl that she was. Several references are made throughout to A Christmas Carol with humorous mentions by Ellie, who isn't a Charles Dickens fan until she is literally drawn into a Dickens' classic. The story is woven with humor, such as children wondering if nuns had legs under their robes. Another Christmas Carol captures the charm of the Dickens classic with a new story that is timeless, hopeful, and endearing.

Natalie Soine

Another Christmas Carol: A Modern Sequel to the Charles Dickens Classic by John C. Derr tells the unforgettable story of Ellie Printh, a self-satisfied, wealthy business owner who receives a new heart from an organ donor, Bernice. Bernice was an unhappy alcoholic widow with two greedy children, Dicky and Diane. Both women were considerably cold, uncaring, and distant, intentionally avoiding any type of relationship that did not benefit them or contribute to their goals or plans. Ellie receives rental income from various tenants who, if unable to pay their rent, are summarily evicted by Ellie who has no consideration for their circumstances. On Christmas Eve, Ellie begins to experience strange events and visions of Bernice, for which there seems to be no logical explanation. Her enjoyment of having power and control over people had always counted in her favor but, for the first time, she learns what the consequences of her behavior are.

John C. Derr's Another Christmas Carol is a supernatural story inspired by Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol and includes the 'Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.' This novel is filled with anticipation and is a quick, easy read. It is well written, the compelling plot is well thought out, and it keeps the reader interested from beginning to end. I enjoyed this unusual story and my favorite part of the book, which sums it up, is: “Live the life you want to live; be the person you want to be. Don’t waste this time. If each person would just focus on making their little corner of the world a little better for everyone else in it, the future would be a brighter and more promising time.” Ellie learns that life is about helping one another, spreading joy, and giving hope to those less fortunate than her. There are no negative aspects to this story and it is suitable for all ages. I rate the novel a well-earned five out of five.