HQ Stories November 2018
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.
Firstly thank you to the publisher HQ Stories for sending me a copy of this festive read, I’m sure you will agree that the cover looks beautifully Christmassy and fitting to a prequel to A Christmas Carol.
At just 160 pages this novella was a one day read. Its been a while since I read A Christmas Carol so while I am familiar with the story you don’t have to be an enthusiast of the Dickens tale to enjoy this book. Vanessa Lafaye introduces us to Jacob Marley as a child, who along with his sister has fallen on desperately hard times, abandoned in the workhouse by a merciless uncle, the children flee this fate and are living on the streets when they are struck by a change of fortune, an opportunity where they must make a choice. From here they take the first steps towards financial security.
Told in the third person from Jacob’s sister Clara’s perspective we accompany the children into adulthood and prosperity through hard work and sadly the misfortune of others. We meet Scrooge and observe the business partnership between Jacob and Scrooge and we learn how Jacob finds himself encumbered by chains for eternity as a ghost in A Christmas Carol, determined to save Scrooge from the same fate.
Like A Christmas Carol this is a story of second chances, it is an easy, engaging and enjoyable read for fans of A Christmas Carol, as well as readers not familiar with Jacob Marley, suited to the season, but enjoyed any time I’m sure.
About the Author
Miss Marley is the last book written by the late Vanessa LAfaye who passed away earlier this year after a battle with terminal cancer, which Vanesss documented on her blog, Living While Dying. Miss Marley has been lovingly completed by her friend, Rebecca Mascull, author of The Wild Air and The Visitors. Both women were members of The Prime Writers, a collective of authors traditionally published aged 40+. Vanessa wrote two previous novels – Summertime, which was chosen for the Richard and Judy book club, and At First Light.