Title: The Afterlife of Holly Chase
Author: Cynthia Hand
On Christmas Eve five years ago, Holly was visited by three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways.
And then she died.
Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge–as the latest Ghost of Christmas Past.
Every year, they save another miserly grouch. Every year, Holly stays frozen at seventeen while her family and friends go on living without her. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable.
But this year, everything is about to change. . . .
The Afterlife of Holly Chase was my chosen Christmas read for 2017. It is a retelling of A Christmas Carol which, despite the fact that I have never read the novel, I know the story fairly well. I chose this book as my Christmas read because I was attempting to take part in the Icelandic book tradition of reading a book on Christmas Eve well into the night, except I was super tired so that didn’t happen and I eventually finished the book on the 28th of December, rather than the 24th of 25th. I would definitely recommend that you pick this one up in/around Winter, specifically Christmas, but that’s totally my opinion!
I have never read anything by Cynthia Hand. Only when I was half way through this book, did I realise that Cynthia Hand is one of the writers of My Lady Jane which has been sat on my shelves since July 2016 (I’m awful). I haven’t heard too much about Cynthia so wasn’t sure what to expect with this book but I was pleasantly surprised. I loved the characters, the pacing, the writing. I thought that it all flowed together so well.
Our main character, Holly Chase, is a delightfully unlikeable character at first, but I also found her to be quite funny. She is a real piece of work and she’s rich and totally full of herself. She looks down upon others, is essentially a bit of a bully and she has been very influenced by her step mum. If you are familiar with the Christmas Carol tale by Charles Dickens, then you’ll know that the Scrooge essentially gets visited by three ghosts and then he wakes up and decides to change his ways and be nice and all that jazz. This is similar, except Holly doesn’t take it seriously so doesn’t change her ways and she dies. This leads her to be in a sort of afterlife where she’s not exactly dead but then also not exactly alive.
Holly then works as a ghost herself, changing other people so that they see the errors in their ways until one year, a Scrooge very similar to Holly before she died pops up. This is definitely a turning point in Holly’s ‘life’ and I think that she feels compelled to help out this scrooge because she understands them completely. Holly isn’t really able to develop friendships due to the limitations that being dead gives you. She has her friends at the project but that’s it, so when she not so accidentally befriends someone that she definitely should not even come into contact with, the book goes completely up.
I feel like I’ve already given too much away, but this book was just so good for me. I am constantly hovering between 4 and 4.5 stars for this book because as much as I really enjoyed it, I think it could have been done ever so slightly faster. But, as I said earlier, I did like the pacing and I didn’t really have too much of an issue with it. I wish I could’ve finished it faster, but you all know how the Christmas season gets – very busy!
I found that this book was just easy and entertaining but also that it brought a little festive feeling as I haven’t really felt very festive what with work and exams. This book definitely helped with that and I’m so glad that it had the happy ending that Holly deserved.
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