This is beautifully bittersweet, and I am sure a lot of you will understand why. Devastatingly, Vanessa LaFaye passed away earlier this year, which meant that ‘Miss Marley’ was unfinished. To keep Vanessa’s legacy, Rebecca Mascull finished writing the novel which Vanessa lovingly started, resulting in the finished product of ‘Miss Marley’. Today I have the honour of sharing my review on publication day as part of the blog tour. Many thanks to HQStories for the ARC and allowing me to be involved in the tour. Here is my review:
Before A Christmas Carol there was… Miss Marley
A seasonal tale of kindness and goodwill
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…
What does TWG think?
‘A Christmas Carol’ is a classic piece of literature which I am sure a lot of people have either heard of and/or read. Whilst a lot of Dickens’ tale focuses on the man with a frozen heart, Ebenezer Scrooge, his right hand man, Jacob Marley, is still a poignant character in the tale. However, have you ever wondered about what went on in Jacob’s mind? How he became who he was? That’s where the delightful, ‘Miss Marley’ comes in, Jacob’s sister. A character who was specifically created for this book, thus being a beautifully written introduction to the festive tale we have all come to know and love.
‘Miss Marley’ tells the story of Jacob and Clara’s life on the streets and how Jacob became the man who many loved to hate. Whilst the siblings were indeed close growing up as they only had each other, life as adults made their relationship much more strained than they would have liked. Jacob Marley was so focused on his work, on trying to keep a roof over their heads, yet point blank refused to look at the bigger picture, despite the urges from his sister. They were both aware of the struggles that came with being poor, not knowing where their next meal came from, not knowing whether they would be killed in their sleep by a thief or the weather. So why did Jacob refuse to look at the situations of others? The situations that weren’t quite so dissimilar to his very own, instead making other people’s lives a lot harder – including his sisters.
‘Miss Marley’ is a beautiful, beautiful tale which has been written from the hearts of two incredible authors. Authors who have clearly researched Dickens and the Victorian era before embarking on their prequel to a classic tale. Reading this book was incredibly bittersweet due to the fact the original author had passed away before her book was out in the world. However, Rebecca Mascull seamlessly finished the story, making me feel as though I was reading a book by one author and not two. Mascull has done LaFaye incredibly proud by her enchanting storytelling, and by bringing ‘Miss Marley’ to life in the most memorable way possible.
Until now, I had never envisioned a prequel to ‘A Christmas Carol’, but now I can honestly say that ‘Miss Marley’ is an outstanding addition and something which the literary world never knew it needed. A truly fantastic story told by two hearts which became one.