Marley by Jon Clinch ~ Book Review ~ New Release

Book Description: 

From the acclaimed author of the “marvel of a novel” (Entertainment Weekly) Finn comes a masterful reimagining of Charles Dickens’s classic A Christmas Carol with this darkly entertaining and moving exploration of the twisted relationship between Ebenezer Scrooge and Jacob Marley.

“Marley was dead, to begin with,” Charles Dickens tells us at the beginning of A Christmas Carol. But in Jon Clinch’s ingenious novel, Jacob Marley, business partner to Ebenezer Scrooge, is very much alive: a rapacious and cunning boy who grows up to be a forger, a scoundrel, and the man who will be both the making and the undoing of Scrooge.

They meet as youths in the gloomy confines of Professor Drabb’s Academy for Boys, where Marley begins their twisted friendship by initiating the innocent Scrooge into the gentle art of extortion. Years later, in the dank heart of London, their shared ambition manifests itself in a fledgling shipping empire. Between Marley’s genius for deception and Scrooge’s brilliance with numbers, they amass a considerable fortune of dubious legality, all rooted in a pitiless commitment to the soon-to-be-outlawed slave trade.

As Marley toys with the affections of Scrooge’s sister, Fan, Scrooge falls under the spell of Fan’s best friend, Belle Fairchild. Now, for the first time, Scrooge and Marley find themselves at cross-purposes. With their business interests inextricably bound together and instincts for secrecy and greed bred in their very bones, the two men engage in a shadowy war of deception, false identities, forged documents, theft, and cold-blooded murder. Marley and Scrooge are destined to clash in an unforgettable reckoning that will echo into the future and set the stage for Marley’s ghostly return.

Meticulously crafted and beguilingly told, Marley revisits and illuminates one of Charles Dickens’s most cherished works to spellbinding effect.

Pick up a copy of this new release on Amazon
About the Author:

Jon Clinch’s first novel, Finn—the secret history of Huckleberry Finn’s father—was named an American Library Association Notable Book and was chosen as one of the year’s best books by The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Chicago Tribune. His second novel, Kings of the Earth, was named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post and led the 2010 Summer Reading List at O, The Oprah Magazine. A native of upstate New York, Jon lives with his wife in the Green Mountains of Vermont.

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I have always enjoyed Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol so when I spotted this title I was pretty excited to read it and learn more about Jacob Marley and Scrooge. When I first started reading it I found the start didn't draw me right in. I am not a huge historical fiction fan. I pushed on through and got hooked into the story of Jacob Marley a few chapters in. The author starts off with Scrooge meeting Marley in a boarding school for boys where we see that Jacob is already into lying and deceiving people. I would have enjoyed a bit more back story on Jacob's childhood and what may have happened before heading to the boarding school.

Following the boys after boarding school we learn about the business of Marley & Scrooge, the fraud, lies, slave trade, fictional characters that the imagination of Jacob Marley brings to life to earn his fortune in any way he can. Marley is a deceitful man who enjoys knocking-shops and staying one ball ahead of the law by taking on different characters wherever he goes. I think that if Scrooge had a different partner for his business things in his life might have turned out a lot differently.   

Jon Clinch does a great job at keeping with the historical nature of the story, giving us a good idea what & who Jacob Marley was but still keeping so many things a mystery as that is the life Marley lived. This is definitely not a feel good story, it is indeed a sad story of lost hope & love, cruel men, lies and murder. I give this a 4 out of 5 stars and think this would be a great read for any Charles Dickens fans. 

~*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in advance in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*~


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