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Posted December 13, 2011
What a great little short story! We all know the story of Jacob Marley, Bob Crachett, and Mean 'ol Scrooge. This take on Marley is a present day read about love and loss, a never good enough hopeful novelist husband married to a bread-winning lawyer wife, Tobias their understanding butler, and a sweet daughter and her one Christmas wish. The Kringle family, having just moved to London, are the new residents of the house all of their neighbors call haunted. Weird shadows and noises are heard within and there is a creepy graveyard on the other side of the fence. After a huge fight between her parents, Kathy is awoken to some strange happenings in her bedroom and comes face to face with the ghost of Marley. The events that follow become an eye opener to Kathy's parents, who are faced with a choice of love or doom. Will Marley be able to save Kathy's family, not only granting her her Christmas wish but also releasing himself from the heavy chains he has carried as his punishment? Guess you will have to read for your self to find out;)
With the feel of reading an entire novel, Marley is a great novella not only for the Christmas season but any time! Kirch has done an excellent job of bringing a classic tale character into our present day!
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Posted January 21, 2012
“Marley – The Other Christmas Carol,” is beautifully crafted to touch both heart and soul as a reminder of what is truly important in this mortal life – love and family. Kirch’s story, as did the original “A Christmas Carol,” weaves a yarn of how busy lives and our definition of success can lead us astray. Set in modern times, the tale of the Kringle family is told primarily through the eyes of their nine-year-old daughter Kathy – an insightful and intelligent young lady that often feels like an unwelcome distraction to her busy, lawyer mother and would-be novelist father. The couple is not a happy pair and the pain of their constant bickering begins to tear Kathy’s world apart. As the story begins, the American family has been transplanted to England for Beverly Kringle’s career and end up in an old house in a quiet neighborhood. Its reputation as a haunted place is known to everyone but the new arrivals. Christmas nears. All is not joyful in the Kringle home. And there begins our lesson in priorities as only Jacob Marley can teach. Then unimaginable tragedy strikes. Kathy is a delight to follow with an older-than-her-years perspective. Her faithful stuffed animal, Manny Mouse, is used with perfect touches here and there by the author to give us glimpses through black button eyes to things unseen by the main characters. Dan and Beverly Kringle are complete, multi-layered individuals that I enjoyed getting to know in spite of their volatile relationship. The English butler, Tobias, is everything you expect in the role – wise, mannered, the perfect caretaker of family and home. Each character touches your heart in their unique way. The little twist at the end is perfect! The family’s future? Marley’s fate? Well, that would be giving things away. Read and enjoy!
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Posted January 19, 2012
“MARLEY: The Other Christmas Carol” by Donald Allen Kirch
Always a fan of Mr. Kirch’s, I still find myself utterly fascinated and beguiled by his work. Forever at his best when he’s bellied up to the computer, Kirch gives us yet another mesmerizing story that gives us a whole other perspective on something that we once thought as perfection from its predecessor Charles Dickens.
The Kringle family—very aptly named I might add—find themselves in the middle of a serious family move because of Mrs. Kringle’s job…to England. They are the lucky—maybe—residents of the old Cratchit house given to the family, years ago, by a man named Scrooge.
Dan and Beverly Kringle are most at home when they’re at each other’s throats leaving their nine-year-old daughter Kathy in the middle to feel as though she’s being torn in half. Enter Tobias, a real live English butler who forms an instant bond with the child and becomes her fast friend and confidant along with Manny, her stuffed mouse who is always by her side.
One day, very close to Christmas, the couple is fighting so badly they don’t even see their daughter running from the site of their squabble into the street toward an oncoming Jaguar. Tobias pays attention and scrambles to save the child. Sometimes Christmas doesn’t always produce a miracle as has been its reputation. The Kringles are finding that out, the hard way. Enter Jacob Marley’s ghost who has already met Kathy. She tried to tell her parents about the ghosts she’s seen, but of course, they had no time to listen.
In true Dickens tradition, Kirch brings a “dream” to the Kringles that shows them either find the love they have lost or find themselves forever in the same boat next to him. He would give them until midnight on Christmas day. This story was amazing! When an author can elicit an emotion, whatever that emotion is, he or she has done their job. Kirch has earned a monumental raise! This novella is a perfect example of why I reach for Kirch’s material over and over. Read this and enjoy.
Reviewed by Terri Ann Armstrong, author of the Menace Trilogy and “How to Plant a Body”