Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye (and completed by Rebecca Mascull) | Book Review

Miss Marley: The Untold Story of Jacob Marley’s Sister
Published by HQ
Available in ebook and hardback (1 November 2018)
157 pages
Source: My own purchased copy

| About the Book |

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…

In Miss Marley, Vanessa Lafaye weaves a spellbinding Dickensian tale of ghosts, goodwill and hope – a perfect prequel to A Christmas Carol.

| My Thoughts |

A confession. I’ve never read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens but that didn’t stop me being entranced by Miss Marley, a 157 page hardback novella, and the original creation of Vanessa Lafaye. Sadly Vanessa passed away earlier this year but the writing baton was picked up by her friend Rebecca Mascull who did her friend proud by racing over the finishing line.

Jacob Marley is of course well known as the ghost who haunts his business partner Ebenezer Scrooge in Dickens’ story, however in Miss Marley we meet the boy Jacob and his younger sister Clara Belle as orphans, living off the streets of London and scavenging for food. Jacob as a boy is a much kinder person than he is as a man. Although his love for his sister never wavers, his experiences harden him. Clara is very different. A chance opportunity may have changed their lives but Clara is intrinsically kind and good and she never loses those qualities.

Clara Belle was Vanessa’s invention and a fantastic one that I fell in love with straight away. She wants to see the good in people and give second chances whilst Jacob is all about the money and profit.

Separated into three parts by black and white illustrations, I adored this wonderful story and it will be a keeper on my bookshelf. The writing is just beautiful and the story is brought to life by the excellent scenic descriptions and characterisations.

Rebecca Mascull writes a very moving Afterword in which she tells about her decision to finish the story her friend started. It can’t have been an easy task but she has done a fabulous job and the transition between the two author’s writing is seamless.

This would be a beautiful addition to your Christmas book collection. Although it’s not too late to read it now….. Just saying!


| About the Authors |

Vanessa Lafaye was born in Florida and studied in North Carolina. She moved to the UK in 1999 (having been deported once). She is the author of two previous novels, her first book Summertime, was chosen for Richard and Judy in 2015 and was shortlisted for the Historical Writers Award. Vanessa passed away in February 2018.

Rebecca Mascull is the author of three historical novels and also writes saga fiction under the pen-name Mollie Walton. Visit her websites for more information: https://molliewalton.co.uk/ & https://rebeccamascull.co.uk/

She is currently hard at work on her next trilogy of historical fiction, with the first novel slated for publication in spring 2019 to be published by Bonnier Zaffre as The Ironbridge Saga. These will be published under the name of Mollie Walton and the first book in the series is set in the dangerous world of the iron industry: THE DAUGHTERS OF IRONBRIDGE.
Her first novel THE VISITORS (2014) tells the story of Adeliza Golding, a deaf-blind child living on her father’s hop farm in Victorian Kent. Her second novel SONG OF THE SEA MAID (2015) is set in the C18th and concerns an orphan girl who becomes a scientist and makes a remarkable discovery. Her third novel, THE WILD AIR (2017) is about a shy Edwardian girl who learns to fly and becomes a celebrated aviatrix but the shadow of war is looming. All are published by Hodder & Stoughton.

Vanessa Lafaye Website | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Rebecca Mascull Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon UK | Goodreads

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