Dear Great Book Guru, All over Sea Cliff there are holiday parties and some of the most fun are cookie swaps, and the oldest and best of these is Elizabeth Weinstein’s. For 29 years, Elizabeth has been hosting her elegant celebration of friendship and sweets. Well, this year I have my cookies baked and ready to go, so I have time for a good book. Do you have something in the spirit of the holidays? Cookie Swap Connoisseur
Dear Cookie Swap Connoisseur, Ah… a book about the spirit of the holidays? MARLEY by Jon Clinch is about one of history’s most maligned of spirits: Jacob Marley from Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol.” Here we get the back story of Scrooge’s long dead business partner. We meet him as a boy, teenager, and man - at all stages a cruel, deceptive conniver who preys on his schoolmate - the then innocent Scrooge. As men, they form a business partnership that amasses fortunes many times over. The British slave trade forms a large part of their business. The young women characters, Fan and Belle from A Christmas Carol, play important roles in the lives of both men. As the two partners become more and more enmeshed in a dark world of greed, deception, forgery, and theft, the hope for redemption seems illusory. Marley’s ghostly return takes on deeper meaning as he tries to share the lessons he has learned. A chilling and fascinating take on this perennial holiday tale … a very intriguing read!