Book Review: Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye

I was very happy to be asked to join the blog tour for Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye. This novella is due to be released on 1st November 2018 by HQ.

miss marley coverBefore 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.


Jacob and his sister Clara Belle Marley know poverty. Banished to the workhouse after the death of their parents, they learn early how to look out for themselves. When they suddenly come into a small bit of money, they manage to build a better life. Whilst Clara eventually wants a family, Jacob is fuelled by an ambition to never be poor again no matter what it costs him.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is possibly one of my favourite stories. For me, it sums up Christmas and everything it should be about. So, as a fan, I am quite protective of it.
Saying that though, when I read about this story, I was intrigued. I love it when I can read something that gives me an insight into what happened before the story we all know and love; provided it is done right. This was done fantastically well.

Miss Marley is told from the point of view of Jacob’s Marley’s sister, Clara Belle. It follows she and her brother from when they are children to adulthood. It focuses on her relationship with her brother, his budding friendship and business transactions with a much younger Ebenezer Scrooge and touches on his relationship with Belle beyond what you see in A Christmas Carol.

Vanessa Lafaye really captured the essence of the original novel but brought something new to it. You can tell that she had a love and respect for the original book. She has brought another aspect to these characters. It’s great to be able to have an idea as to why Jacob appears to Scrooge covered in chains and regret.

This book is about one hundred and fifty pages so it doesn’t take long to read but it’s not hard to get fully immersed in it. I could imagine myself in London surrounded by these characters. Many points in the book had me particularly sad for one character in particular.

Where Jacob and Ebenezer are concerned, I even gained some understanding about these unlikeable characters even if I don’t agree with how they conducted business.

This is a wonderfully written novella and a fitting tribute and companion to Dickens’s original. This would make a perfect stocking filler or an addition to any Christmas to read pile.

Miss Marley is available to buy from 1st November 2018. Click to view on Amazon UK.


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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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