The Old Curiosity Shop was a novel by Charles Dickens which had originally been published with other short stories in 88 weekly parts from April 1840 to November 1841. The story had gained such a following that the excitement over the release of the last weekly installment could be compared with the same excitement over the release of J.K. Rowling’s last Harry Potter novel. The Old Curiosity Shop was later printed as a separate novel in 1841.
The book’s main character was Nell Trent, a beautiful young lady who lived with her grandfather who owned a small antique shop. The grandfather, wanting to be assured of Nell’s future, decided to gamble secretly which only led to the loss of their shop and to their impoverishment. Nell decides to bring her grandfather far away to the Midlands and there they lived as beggars. During this time, Nell’s brother had thought that their grandfather had already amassed a fortune and thus tries to track them down. Along the way, Nell meets an assortment of characters, some shady, some kind. But the long trip took a toll on her health and led to her early death. Her grandfather, who was then suffering from a mental condition as a result of a breakdown, waited by Nell’s grave hoping for her return until he meets his own death.
Charles Dickens had grown quite attached to his 17-year old sister Mary who was living with him and his wife. Mary died in the author’s arms in 1837 and it was this experience that led the author to fictionalize his sister’s death as the death of Nell Trent.
The Old Curiosity Shop saw it being adapted into film and T.V. Some of these adaptations included a nine-part, mini-T.V. series aired over BBC in 1979, a British musical released in 1975, a radio adaption broadcast in 1998, and even a Disney-produced T.V. movie aired in 1995 and which starred Peter Ustinov and Tom Courtenay.
Now Amazon is giving everybody the chance to learn the hype that surrounded this novel’s release in the 1840s through its own annotated and illustrated Kindle Edition.