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Welcome to The Book Nanny! I’m Emily Campbell, a devoted mom, avid bookworm, and trusty guide to finding books that match your preferences. Today, we embark on a journey through David Weinberg’s “Scrooge’s Folly: Saving Jacob Marley,” a unique twist on Charles Dickens’s classic tale. In this captivating novel, Weinberg delves into the lives of the iconic characters, Scrooge and Marley. He offers up a fresh perspective and a Christmas-time romance.

In “Scrooge’s Folly,” we meet Andrea Smilow, a washed-up award-winning playwright who has given up on both theatre and love. When she receives a commission from the historic town theater to write a new play, she hopes to save the beloved Playhouse from impending closure. Little does she know her journey will take an unexpected turn when the spirits of Jacob Marley and Ebenezer Scrooge themselves show up, with their own ideas for the play.

As we follow Andrea’s quest for redemption and rediscovery of love, Weinberg’s storytelling reminds us that even in the afterlife, miracles can still happen. However, this novel is not without its flaws. Join me as we dive deeper into the pages of “Scrooge’s Folly,” examining its strengths and weaknesses, character development, the handling of sensitive topics, and more.

Disclosure time

a white coffee cup sitting on top of a bed

But before we begin, let me assure you that while this book review is sponsored, my opinions and thoughts remain entirely unbiased and unaffected by this sponsorship. Transparency and providing an honest assessment are of utmost importance to me. Rest assured that my review reflects my genuine and independent evaluation of the book.

So, grab a warm cup of cocoa, settle into your comfiest reading nook, and let’s uncover the magic and intricacies of “Scrooge’s Folly: Saving Jacob Marley”. Join me on this joyous journey of uncovering hidden gems, honest insights, and bookish fun. Let’s make reading an unforgettable adventure!

Summary of “Scrooge’s Folly: Saving Jacob Marley”

 Andrea Smilow was a big name in theatre once upon a time. Now she just hopes to not have a mental breakdown. When a local theatre pools the last of its resources to pay her, she decides to write a new original play in hopes to save it.

Life takes an unexpected turn when she discovers the theatre is haunted by Jacob Marley, and she has to share her new home with Ebenezer Scrooge. Not the ones from the book, but the original people that Charles Dickens based his story on. Jacob wants everyone to know that he isn’t the villain of the story. Scrooge wants to make up for his biggest mistake in life by helping Jacob to find a second chance in life and love. Diving into the real backstory of the people behind the characters, we see a new take on the classic “A Christmas Carol.” Andrea attempts to write a new story of love and redemption in time for Christmas, but will a true Christmas miracle happen?

Content Guide

Language: PG No bad language but there are some innuendos

Violence: PG A fist fight, a poisoning

Adult Content: R There are multiple sex scenes. Some are more detailed than others. I explore this further later in the post.

Trigger Warnings and Sensitive Topics

-Miscarriage: There is a miscarriage at the beginning of the book. It isn’t accurately portrayed or written in a compassionate way. The situation is frank and stated as facts.

-Suicide: There are multiple points where various characters think about suicide. It is also insinuated a character took their own life.

– Abusive Relationships: There are multiple toxic relationships. In one relationship, the guy intentionally gets their girlfriend pregnant. In another relationship, the guy financially takes advantage of the girl. 

About the Author David Weinberg

This is David Weinberg’s first novel. He does a great job of describing what the characters look like and giving a good backstory to his characters. He truly transformed “A Christmas Carol” and gave it breadth and depth by taking us into the lives of the classic characters. The locations and pieces of local history inserted into the book were spot on. As a Connecticut native, he truly captures what it looks like to live in the theatre scene in coastal Connecticut.

How “Scrooge’s Folly” begins

I have read so many romance novels, and it is one of my favorite genres. Usually, the story begins with the main characters meeting or the action that spurs their eventual interaction. From that first interaction, you get a glimpse into what their relationship will be like. You can see if the main girl is headstrong or shy. If the guy picks battles or leads with confidence. The opening scene really sets up for the rest of the story. 

As “Scrooge’s Folly” opened, the scene is between Andrea and Archie as they immediately started butting heads. It confused me because the back of the book said her love interest was Jacob. Archie was out of the picture by chapter two. Whereas, Jacob and Andrea had yet to get their meet-cute to kick-start their story. 

When Jacob and Andrea’s story started halfway through the book, the cutesy and cringy moments that make a Christmas romance novel weren’t there. There’s no picking out a Christmas tree, or snuggling up in front of a fire after a snowball fight. Instead, there is a nod to the romance genre where the characters are in forced proximity and spend time together. But we don’t get an up-close look at how their relationship builds through those moments.

Writing Style and Narrative Techniques

The book is kind of messy in how it tells the story. During a passage about a pivotal moment in Andrea’s life, the story jumps to a lesser-known fact about Beth before returning to the original topic. It was a very jarring experience as a reader. The building momentum halts before it could truly pick up speed. This happens multiple times throughout the story.

 I found it interesting which points of the story the author decided to linger on, versus what would have helped the readers to better connect to the story. There are moments when I desperately needed a scene exploring a pivotal moment for a main character. Instead of a multi-page dive into the thoughts and feelings of a character in a traumatic experience, I got two sentences. On the flip side, there were times when the side story got multiple pages that did nothing for the main story arc.

Building the World of “Scrooge’s Folly”: Backstories and World-Building

The first half of the book felt like the notes an author writes to keep track of the various characters backstories and world-building. Instead, it could have been an intentionally laid out story to give the reader an experience. Some of it was interesting, like when the reader sees a glimpse into a person’s motives in a scene. At times though, it felt like a lecture or a history lesson instead of snapshots of life-changing moments. There is a lot of telling of the story and not a lot of long scenes allowing characters to interact with each other and for readers to glimpse their thoughts and feelings. 

The Structure: Two Halves of the Story

The second half of the book does better at grounding the story in scenes. The scenes were still too short and without commentary on the character’s thoughts and feelings. The inner commentary is what draws me into the book and creates the emotional connection I crave in a reading experience. 

There are also moments where the narrator speaks directly to readers. On occasion, this writing technique can enhance the experience. I’m not fond of this outside commentary as a literary device to explain what is happening. Instead, those passages or scenes can be rewritten to convey the message better and eliminate the need for an outside narrator.

Character Development: Unveiling Depth and Growth

David does a great job creating detailed characters. Everyone who shows up on the page has a backstory and some depth. I’m glad that he has thought through everything from how cats interact with witches to where Jacob purchases his clothing. However, the frontloading of information slowed the story flow and halted the building momentum. It is great for the author to know all of these things, but the reader doesn’t need to know all of them to experience the magic of the story.

“Scrooge’s Folly” takes us through huge swaths of time for multiple characters. I would have loved to see them change and progress even more. The changes and shifts are hinted at. Like when Jacob is crying at the castle in the end when he decides to go through with the play. I can tell that something shifted and changed, but I have no clue what it was! The amazing thing about books is the reader gets to live inside the head of the character and experience a range of emotions. There were other moments when years go by in a character’s life, but when the story picks up again there is no recognizable change in how that character changed. Just like people change, so should characters.

Exploring Religion in “Scrooge’s Folly”: Christian and Jewish Themes

Religion comes up frequently in “Scrooge’s Folly.” Andrea, our heroine, is Jewish and participated in the Jewish community as a girl. On the flip side, we have a deep dive into “A Christmas Carol” which is centered on Christianity and Christian values. There are some interesting correlations between the two religions and religious texts drawn in the book as the two are woven together. At times, how they were woven together felt a little forced or not thought through completely. One of them is the Christmas tree at the end decorated with striped lights as a nod to Judaism. I think the tree decorations are a great idea, but it felt a little out of place. The explanation of the decorations also felt stilted and unnatural.

The discussion of religion culminates when the spirit world and the rules of the spirit realm are laid out. David presents a new way of viewing the afterlife through a unifying theological lens. It was an interesting take on the afterlife, but all the details pulled me out of the story as I tried to compare this new idea to my personal beliefs. The reader would have been just fine without knowing all the details. At some points, I felt like the discussion of religion wasn’t brought up organically, and others felt like reading more of a textbook about the afterlife.

Tackling Adult Content: Romance and Intimacy

One of my biggest pet peeves of the writing world is when authors use sex or sexual thoughts to denote people falling in love or deepening a relationship. An author has so many other tools and devices they could use instead. What about dates, holding hands, emotionally intimate moments, sharing traditions, and tense situations that allow you to get to know various sides and parts of each other? These snapshots help the reader experience the romantic journey and fall more in love with the characters.

In “Scrooge’s Folly,” the romance falls flat because they just jumped into bed. I didn’t see or feel the build-up or the tension between the main characters. We get more glimpses into Beth and Scrooge’s relationship than Andrea and Jacob’s. Right at the end, I finally started seeing some of the tension and build-up, but I needed throughout the entire book and not just the last chapter to call it a true romance.

Final Verdict: Potential and Recommendations for the Author

“Scrooge’s Folly: Saving Jacob Marley” is a good story. With a few more rounds of editing and story crafting, this hidden gem has the potential to really shine. I enjoyed the original story idea and characters and think it could be so much better. I would remove the world-building and backstory elements to streamline the story. The pieces needed for a cohesive story arc can be brought up in organic conversations between characters as they get to know one another and as questions arise. 

Then there is much more space to explore the play, Andrea’s writing process, Jacob and Andrea going on dates, Jacob’s reassimilation into life, Brian’s treachery, and what role the spirit of Christmas plays in their story. Dialing in the focus on Andrea and Jacob’s story would give the opportunity for a greater exploration of their relationship. Sharing the wide range of thoughts and feelings both of them experience through this journey will help endear them to the readers forever.

Where to Buy “Scrooge’s Folly: Saving Jacob Marley”

You can buy “Scrooge’s Folly: Saving Jacob Marley” on Amazon in both ebook and print formats. It’s also available at most major retailers online.

Who would enjoy this?

This is probably not something I would read again or recommend to all of my friends. However, my theater-loving friends might really enjoy it. If you are a big fan of “A Christmas Carol,” you may also enjoy “Scrooge’s Folly: Saving Jacob Marley.”

Looking for more romance novels? Here are some of my favorite Hallmark Style romance novels.

Happy Reading,

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and decide to buy, I make a small commission for referring you. This helps me make a few cents for doing what I love.