“O Jacob Marley! Heaven and the Christmas-time be praised for this! I say it on my knees, old Jacob, on my knees!”

Most of us know the story of Scrooge’s redemption in Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. AFter being visited by 3 spirits, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, he vows to keep Christmas in his heart all year long and he truly is a new man. But so often we forget the first ghost who visits him, who announces what is to come, who prepares the way for the others Jacob Marley, a man as shrewd and cold-hearted and self-centerd as himself. We don’t really know much about Marley aside from the fact that he regretted how he had lived and that he carried chains wrapped around him in the after-life as a result of his sins. Jacob T. Marley by R. William Bennett seeks to change that.

Bennett introduces us to Marley and tells about his childhood and the chance compliment that set him on his downward spiral. We see how downright mean he could be to those who owed him money and the influence he had over Scrooge during their years as partners in business. We are along when, after death, Marley convinces the spirits to allow him to try to help Scrooge avoid the same fate, dragging chains eternally never resting, always in despair. We and Marley are witnesses to Scrooge’s wandering with the spirits, and every step of the way, Marley is begging for mercy for Scrooge.

I can’t say that this story adds much to the original, other than a back story for Marley. The main points are still the same, and it definitely has a lesson it wants to show, but I really enjoyed it. I got sucked back in to Scrooge’s world, and I have to admit that I was bawling at the end. It takes us beyond that Christmas morning, into the rest of Scrooge’s life and he makes good on his promise, he truly is a new man. And, at least according to Bennet, he has Marley to thank.

Jacob T. Marley can’t take the place of A Christmas Carol, but I don’t think it’s supposed to. It’s a fresh look at the story. Definitely read the original if you never have, but this is a good re-telling. By the end I was bawling, in a pleased way.

 4 out of 5 stars

Category: General Fiction – Christmas

Purchase: Amazon, IndieBound

Published October 12 by Shadow Press
202 pages

Book source: For review


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