Miss Marley was a real delight. A perfect Christmas read, and if I didn’t know better I would have said this was
When both their parents die leaving young Clara and Jake as orphans, they are torn away from their comfortable home & housemaid Dorothy, taken to the workhouse and left there by their Uncle, only to escape and end up living off scraps on the street. When a chance Murder gives them the opportunity to better themselves again, they take it. This is the start of Jakes heart hardening to the world. Jacob as he then is known works every hour he can to keep a roof over his and young Clara’s head, they start their own business. And soon earn enough to ensure they are feed and can stay in work.
Clara dreams of living back at her childhood home on Hampstead Heath, whilst Jacob starts building his empire with his newly acquainted work colleague Ebeneezer (yes, I too, can’t read the name without the song running through my head) Scrooge. Clara meets and becomes betrothed to Tom, a Tea stall holder with aspirations of tea shops on every street corner. However, Jacob doesn’t take Tom’s dreams into account when he askes for capital to do this and states that business is business to Clara. When disaster strikes, to pay his debts back to Jacob, Tom heads to India. Clara waits to hear from him saying he is returning. Sadly for Clara this never happens, her health deteriorates and we see Clara die, having finally forgiven Jacob.
This book starts bleakly and winds its way, into being a warming and
Vanessa Lafaye died whilst writing this book, and close friend and mutual Dickens lover Rebecca Mascull finished it, though takes no glory until the end few pages, a fitting tribute indeed, as its
A Fab 4/5 stars from me.