Book Review: Our Mutual Friend

Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
Our Mutual Friend 
by Charles DickensMarcus Stone (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Old Harmon is dead, and his will stipulates that if his son, John, wants to inherit his vast fortune, then John must marry Bella Wilfer, a beautiful girl from a poor family. John travels back to England, and dons a disguise so that he can observe Bella before making up his mind. But when a body is found floating in the river, everyone assumes that it is John Harmon, and John takes on a new identity and a new occupation.
Meanwhile, the fortune passes to Mr. and Mrs. Boffin, poor friends of the Harmon family, and since they are not accustomed to having money, they are at a loss on how to manage their new riches or enter into wealthy society. Silas Wegg is a street vendor who Mr. Boffin hires to read to him and enrich his mind with books, but sneaky Silas has a scheme to cheat Mr. Boffin out of his money.

Lizzie and Charlie Hexam are siblings, living in a hovel while their father works on the river. When Charlie has a chance to get some schooling, Lizzie urges him to better himself and leave her in her penniless situation, with disastrous results for them both.

The complex plot weaves around this case of mistaken identity, involving blackmail, murder, secrets, and betrayal. There are numerous characters, all with their own part in the story and their own subplots.
There are two sweet romances, both seemingly impossible, with many obstacles and objections to be overcome. Money and its effect on people is a major theme of the book, as each character is offered a chance for happiness, honor, or wealth, and they have to make a decision.

This is definitely a new favorite Dickens. I loved the intriguing story and the magnificent characters!
There are 36 characters in this book, so I had to make myself a list to keep track of them all. I am always amazed at how Dickens can create so many varied and distinct characters, each with their own special flavor and style.

As always, I love Dickens’ masterful writing style, but he is terribly long-winded, and there are so many details that it’s easy to get bogged down in it all. But those imaginative and realistic details are also what make his stories so entrancing and enjoyable.

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