Christmas Eve 1820 brings 3 irrepressible holiday Spirits to a real-life, Scrooge, as he struggles with his own personal crisis and a Dickens-style failing economy, in down-home early America, during the most “wonderful” time of the year. For fans of historical fiction and early American history, this story is primed for Illinois’s bicentennial in 2018 in telling the untold story of the state’s key founder.
A little about D.L. first:
DL Andersen stepped into an obscure 200-year-old house in her neighborhood one day and walked out a historical fiction author. Stories of the past have always captivated her, but this one historic site took hold of her in ways she can’t explain.
A decade in the making, her novel series about Col Benjamin Stephenson and his wife, Lucy, are now three books and growing. She has also written and published a few short stories and is currently working on the second book in her series. She is also an avid book reviewer for The Naked Reviewers and on her blog, Past Time Stories. DL holds a BA in education with minor concentrations in music and history. She lives in Southern IL with her husband, two dogs, and a cat named Mrs. Norris.
Sherry Terry’s Review: 4-Stars
I enjoyed reading Ben’s Christmas Treasury very much! While the cover is a little dark, it does depict the story quite well.
Once I started reading Ben’s Christmas Treasury, I couldn’t put it down. I know of the book and movie, A Christmas Carol, but I have never read it or seen the movie. I know what Charles Dickens’ story is about, so I knew the premise of Ben’s Christmas Treasury. I came into D.L.’s book with no expectations of what it would be.
I found it easy to read and good.
I felt bad for Colonel Benjamin Stephenson, the main character. He is in a situation he sees no way out of, running a failing bank and the Illinois Land Office. I loved the dialog, and I’m jealous of D.L.’s ability to do period dialog so well. I also love her attention to detail with the setting and how she effortlessly brought me into the era so that I smelled the smells, felt the bitter cold, and heard the sounds.
I love how D.L. Andersen set up the ghost’s visits. She made them believable and entertaining. This author has done her due diligence with the research and sprinkled it into the story just right. I am a lover of historical romance, so the history of the era is important to me, and D.L. Andersen didn’t disappoint.
Ben’s Christmas Treasury is a wonderful read. There are some formatting issues, and I feel it needs a proofread to ferret out the typos and weaker word choices, but this did not take away from my overall enjoyment of reading the book. The story pulled out all of my emotions and left me feeling good, so that’s the most important part.
Olivia Wylie’s Review: 3.9-Stars
As a history buff and an inveterate Christmas junky, I really wanted to like this story. A few things made that difficult.
Conceptually, it’s on good footing, putting a post-Revolutionary American twist on the old English classic of A Christmas Carol. There are plenty of little gems and nods to the original throughout the tale: the protagonist’s horse is named Marley, for example.
The reason for our protagonist’s dour demeanor is a reasonable one: he is Benjamin Stephenson, former colonel and current desperate head of both the Edwardsville Bank and the Illinois Land Grants in Federalist America. Talk about a hard row to hoe.
Stephenson is an actual historical figure, and I appreciated the depth in which his life was explored. In fact, I often found myself skipping over sections with the ghosts to get to his concrete life struggles. I suppose I’ve read enough versions of A Christmas Carol to be overly familiar with it, but Federalist Christmas is something new and interesting.
Unfortunately, the story is difficult to stay in due to some formatting and editing problems. On my device the chapter headings have come unmoored and wander across the page: right aligned, left aligned, and occasionally centrally aligned. The drop letters (decorative capital letters to start a chapter) often sit on top of a few words in the chapter, covering them. If this had been an advanced copy I would have mentioned it only to the author, but I did buy this in the Amazon store. I also felt that the manuscript would have benefitted from another pass with a proof editor for small details, such as comma placement and remembering to show ownership of an act by a person with the proper punctuation.
With a little cleaning up this could be a truly lovely tale.
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