Atria. Oct. 2019. 304p. ISBN 9781982129705. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781982129729. F
Absent any real education at Professor Drabb’s Academy for Boys, Jacob Marley spends his time developing his skills of persuasion and forgery. Ebenezer Scrooge, an academy classmate, is one of many to fall victim to Jacob, but eventually he and Jacob realize that Ebenezer’s artistry with numbers makes them good business partners. Making money through the illegal, and immoral, slave trade isn’t a problem for either man, until Ebenezer’s love, Belle Fairchild, questions him on his choices. Jacob isn’t ready to give up their lucrative business and decides to fight dirty for what he wants. Clinch uses historically accurate details to create a plausible beginning for Scrooge and Marley. The rise and fall of that relationship also provides an authentic background for understanding the development of Scrooge’s angry, bitter nature, and eventual redemption.
VERDICT A gift for fans of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. [See Prepub Alert, 3/25/19.]

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