So many of us know The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I have seen different versions of the story in film and animation, as well as beautiful book editions of the tale. Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye tells the story of Jacob Marley and the circumstances that led to him becoming a tormented ghost.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Orphans Clara and Jacob Marley live by their wits, scavenging for scraps in the poorest alleyways of London, in the shadow of the workhouse. Every night, Jake promises his little sister ‘tomorrow will be better’ and when the chance to escape poverty comes their way, he seizes it despite the terrible price.
And so Jacob Marley is set on a path that leads to his infamous partnership with Ebenezer Scrooge. As Jacob builds a fortress of wealth to keep the world out, only Clara can warn him of the hideous fate that awaits him if he refuses to let love and kindness into his heart…
In Miss Marley, Vanessa Lafaye weaves a spellbinding Dickensian tale of ghosts, goodwill and hope – a perfect prequel to A Christmas Carol.
Miss Marley is a beautifully written novella that is a wonderful addition to the Christmas stories that we read at this time of the year. The story is told from the point of view of Clara Marley and is written with a sensitivity that embraces a personality which is the antithesis of what Jacob Marley is to become. The novella traces the path of these two siblings, showing the reader that different responses to similar obstacles in life may have different outcomes. Both Clara and Jacob have had the same experiences (hunger, extreme poverty, rejection) and yet their response towards other people once they are able to change their circumstances is different.
I enjoyed reading this well-written piece that does justice to the original Dickensian story. It captures the heart and encapsulates the Christmas spirit.
I give this novel ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars.
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018
(This novel was the 85th in my 50 book pledge for 2018)