Dickens London – Miss Marley, by Rebecca Mascull
It’s a joint work between Vanessa Lafaye who sadly passed away before she could finish the book, and Rebecca Mascull who finished the complete story as well as weaving her own author magic into the mix.
I was very excited to meet Rebecca, dressed in her Dickens crinolene dress with fashionable bonnet, in a side street in London. She’d left the warmth of her writing room to meet with me. So we went to an inn…..and sat beside a roaring fire. (Thanks for Virtual Fireplace – turn on the sound for the ultimate reading experience!)
What was the best thing about old fashioned Christmases do you think?
I just love everything about that Dickens style of Christmas. The traditional food, the tree, the gifts, the carol singing, goodwill to all and all that! I just adore it. I like the modern additions of watching all the Christmassy movies too, like the perfect film It’s a Wonderful Life and also Elf, one of my absolute favourites!
What would YOUR Dickensian Christmas consist of?
I watch any or all versions of A Christmas Carol every year (and read bits of the book too), yet my two favourite film versions by far are the Patrick Stewart version and also Scrooged with Bill Murray! The Patrick version is my favourite because it takes the story seriously. It gives Scrooge real gravitas as a person and makes it somehow believable (despite the ghosts!) I love the interpretation of the spirits too. They are disturbing and they should be.
I love Scrooged because it does the complete opposite – turns the whole thing into a laugh. But I reckon Dickens would have loved that! He was a laugh and a half, something that people who only watch the film versions and haven’t read the prose sometimes don’t realise about him as a writer. (See my answer below about Great Expectations.)
Which other fictional character (or their relation) would you like to write a story about?
I talked to my agent years ago now about writing a Dickens story from another character’s point of view. It wasn’t A Christmas Carol – it was a couple of other Dickens novels which are my favourites. I’d love to do it one day, if someone gives me a contract for it! When Vanessa told me about her idea for Miss Marley, I was delighted, as I’d already loved the idea of delving into the world of Dickens myself. We both loved his writing so much. He has everything – clever, twisty plots; characters of such humanity and range; sorrow, misery, joy, terror and humour. Dickens is so, so funny! Here’s a blog post I did with some fellow Dickens fans a while back all about Great Expectations (which I consider to be his masterpiece): https://rebeccamascull.co.uk/75/great-expectations
Here’s a bit from that discussion about how darn funny Dickens is:
Here’s a classic quote, pure Dickens comedy. Here is the description of a very minor character, Mr Hubble, yet one whose bandy legs will live on forever in my memory and, indeed, make me laugh out loud on trains:
“a tough, high-shouldered stooping old man, of a sawdusty fragrance, with his legs extraordinarily wide apart so that in my short days I always saw some miles of open country between them when I met him coming up the lane.”
In my short days!!
As my mum says, ‘Who could ever have thought of that except Dickens?!’
Thank you Rebecca for a wonderful intro and insight into Dickens’ world
BookTrail Boarding Pass: Miss Marley