|Image from Goodreads|
Title: The Old Curiosity Shop
Author: Charles Dickens
Nell Trent is a beautiful, young girl who is described as the perfect, angelic and kind being. Nell spends all her time with her grandfather, her closest family alive, in his “curiosity shop” that sells “odds and ends”. Nell’s grandfather adores her, and gets into the habit of gambling hoping to hit it big someday so that Nell could inherit the wealth after his death. But the bad habit, even though for a good cause, goes wrong and Nell’s grandfather loses all the little money he has by gambling. Nell’s grandfather also taken heavy sums as loan from the evil moneylender Quilp, a “a malicious, grotesquely deformed, hunchbacked dwarf”. Seizing this opportunity, Quilp takes control of the shop and throws out Nell and her grandfather for not paying back the loan amounts.
The grandfather is heart broken, and highly traumatised by the turn of events. Nell embarks upon a journey with her grandfather to take him to a “safe place”. Meanwhile, Frederick Trent, Nell’s older brother, convinces the good-natured but easily manipulated Richard Dick Swiveller to help him track Nell down, so that Swiveller can marry Nell and share the “inheritance” which he believed the grandfather would have left her. In a chance meeting, they encounter Quilp, who is aware of the fact that there is no such inheritance, but still misleads them to believe he would help track down Nell.
And, a series of events lead to the death of Quilp, and the realization of Dick that he is being manipulated, and finally tracking down Nell’s location only to find that she has died due to a sickness encountered during the journey, and the grandfather had become mentally unstable and sat near the grave of Nell believing she would come out, until after a few months he dies too.
It is a pure tale of an innocent, kind-hearted girl who helps in the journey of her grandfather from risk to safety, without bothering about what it would do to her. It is a classic Dickens novel.