Cover detail of The Red Button by Keith Eldred showing a cameo of a Victoria couple

The Red Button by Keith Eldred

It's day 6 of #12booksofchristmas already. I hope you are enjoying the choices so far. I am extremely honoured to be sharing the next book with you as part of my #12booksofchristmas. It is a novel based on my favourite book of all time with an uplifting story behind it's publication. Before I get into the book and in case you missed it, here are the previous 5 days choices.

Earlier this year, author Keith Eldred reached out to me, asking if I would be interested in reading his novel The Red Button, a prequel to The Christmas Carol. In 2012, Keith's wife, Janet, was diagnosed with early-stage dementia. Janet has spent her life working in libraries and continues to run her local library, whilst negotiating her illness.

Combining Keith's bucket list ambition to write a novel with Janet's ambition of giving something back to the libraries she has loved, and whilst Janet is still well, the couple are aiming to raise $1 million for Pennsylvania libraries through the This is Red project. This project is to write 20 Christmas books with all profits and proceeds going to the charity. It also coincided happened to coincide with the couple's 30th wedding anniversary!

You can find out more about the challenge at the link below which includes chance to obtain free books and donate to the challenge.

About the Project

The Plot

Belle Endicott's farewell to her fiancé Ebeneezer Scrooge, has echoed through time 'I release you. With a full heart for the love of him you once were. May you be happy in the life you have chosen'
Here is the untold story of how the doomed lovers found and then lost each other. And how their parting stayed with Scrooge daily and ultimately prepared the way for his fabulous redemption.

My Thoughts

Well this is a little treasure of a book perfect for fans (like me) of The Christmas Carol. Keith has thought clearly about Dickens' Scrooge and at the start of the book, whilst Scrooge is younger and certainly not the 'miserable, grasping, covetous old sinner' we know, he has shades of the person he will eventually become. He is serious about business, and keen to apply his business learning to all he is hoping to achieve. he is even starting to look skeptically at the generosity of his old employer Fezziwig.

His one chance of redemption is Belle. Belle (and her father) are delightful and gentle. Through Keith's writing we understand why their parting, witnessed in the Christmas Carol is so terribly painful for Scrooge and eventually contributes to his salvation. Belle is kind, warm, devoted to her dear Father and a wonderful romantic and business partner to Scrooge. She holds a mirror up to his behaviour when his miserly tendencies appear and he sees the world in a better light when he is with her. She reminds him to treat his workers with kindness and look after their needs, rather than penny-pinching under the excuse of profit.

In the novel we witness firsthand the results of the changing mechanisation of industry and the affect it has on the artisans and craftsmen and women creating beautiful bespoke items, but all in danger of losing their jobs.

The arrival of Jacob Marley reinforces Scrooge's path. He is painted as a brute of a man with a questionable past and begins to insert himself into the middle of Scrooge's business.

Of course, there is the slightest hint of magic. The narrator reminding us by their mere presence that there is hope for Scrooge. We have ghosts and of course some of the well-known beloved characters that feature in The Christmas Carol make an appearance here. And we see the impact of first love, and the effect it can have on a person.

And so, if you are a fan of the classic Christmas Carol, then please do give this a try. The proceeds go to an amazing cause, and I loved learning more about one of literature's most well-known characters. My thanks go to Keith and Janet for letting me know about their novel.

To donate to the This is Red cause, please click here.

I'll be back on Monday with more of my #12booksofchristmas. Have a great weekend!