Twelve Books for Christmas: Book One: Miss Marley, Vanessa Lafaye

Here is a reverse Twelve Days of Christmas, leading up to the day rather than away from it. I have chosen a mixture of festive fiction, cookery books, picture books and children’s stories that I particularly like.

This is a prequel to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and aims to uncover the mystery of Jacob Marley’s past. When the story opens Jake (Jacob) and his younger sister Clara Belle are living rough on the streets of Victorian London, uprooted from their previous comfortable and well-to-do life. At twelve, Jake is tough and determined to survive, telling Clara each night, ‘I promise that we will have a good life again. And I will always keep you safe’. Following their early lives this book brilliantly explains why Marley and Scrooge became as they did and also explains some references in A Christmas Carol that I’d never even really noticed. At the end of the book there is a separate, fascinating twist but I shall leave that unexplained. It only remains to say that this is a delightful little hardback which would grace any stocking. Just make sure that the recipient also has a copy of A Christmas Carol. 

Jane

As always we would like you to buy this book. Also, as always, we would like you to buy it from your local bookshop. Without your support it might not survive.

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