"This charming epistolary novel is sure to appeal to any lover of Victorian fiction."--Booklist
A retired New Jersey bank clerk, Larry Dickerson, comes into possession of his great-great-grandfather's correspondence, an astonishing collection of the greatest nineteenth-century novelists: Dickens, Thackeray, George Eliot, Trollope, Hardy. At first, Dickerson is bent on getting as much money as he can from this stash, and sends off an email to Stephen Nicholls, the patient and helpful head of Christie's manuscript department in London. Nicholls leads Dickerson through the intricacies of the auction process but also helps him enter into the Victorian mind, a domain Dickerson eventually embraces with enthusiasm.
The result is a book that is part suspense novel, because we wonder if Dickerson will finally decide to sell the letters or keep them for himself; part literary tour de force, because the old letters lead us into the thoughts of the foremost novelists of the period; and part humorous tale, because of Dickerson's personality. He is a character such as the department of heads at Christie's have seldom encountered, and we watch as this unschooled, bluff, blunt man emerges into a self-educated Victorianist.