Olivia Twist released on March 6th 2018
Olivia Brownlow is no damsel in distress. Born in a workhouse and raised as a boy among thieving London street gangs, she is as tough and cunning as they come. When she is taken in by her uncle after a caper gone wrong, her life goes from fighting and stealing on the streets to lavish dinners and soirees as a debutante in high society. But she can’t seem to escape her past … or forget the teeming slums where children just like her still scrabble to survive.
Jack MacCarron rose from his place in London’s East End to become the adopted “nephew” of a society matron. Little does society know that MacCarron is a false name for a boy once known among London gangs as the Artful Dodger, and that he and his “aunt” are robbing them blind every chance they get. When Jack encounters Olivia Brownlow in places he least expects, his curiosity is piqued. Why is a society girl helping a bunch of homeless orphan thieves? Even more intriguing, why does she remind him so much of someone he once knew? Jack finds himself wondering if going legit and risking it all might be worth it for love.
First of all, I’d like to admit to something: It is hard to write a meaningful review when your face is still twisted (pardon the pun) in a goofy grin from finishing this remarkable retelling of the classic Dickens’ story, “Oliver Twist”.
I thought I knew the original story well, having starred in the musical when I was younger. I had several roles of utmost importance: “the choir”, “the orphans”, “people at the pub”, and also a stomach-somersaulting-crush on the boy who played Oliver Twist (Dodger was played by a girl. Just sayin’).
Turned out I wasn’t quite aware of the story lines largely left out of the musical. So, I guess I’ll be grabbing a copy of Oliver Twist soon.
- What I loved about this book:
- Jack Dawkins, the Artful Dodger, Jack MacCarron, whatever you call him. He was perfect, and for once, the hero was introduced almost from the beginning, and stuck around through the whole plot. No working through the “boring parts” to get to the action.
- Just as rumor had it, the kissing scenes were spot on.
- The emotions. Olivia’s suitor, Maxwell Grimwig, still makes me really mad with his sentiments about poverty stricken children.
- Brit, the twelve year old leader of the orphans Olivia supports.
- The first line, “For long minutes, there was considerable doubt as to whether the child would survive to bear a name at all.”
- The lack of archaic language, and yet the dialogue fitting so well with the story.
- The scene where Jack and Olivia are making out, and Olivia can’t breathe, because apparently wearing really tight bandages around your chest in order to look like a boy, while kissing, is a bit too much. Anyway, she’s all:
“I… can’t… brea –“
and Jack is all:
“That’s normal, love.”
I know it’s not supposed to be a funny scene, but I’m still snickering about it a day later.
I probably wouldn’t be breathing good either, Jack. I get it.
- Why I Recommend this book:
This book is gold. It’s such an excellent story. Full of drama, romantic tension and humor.
***WRITER NOTES TO FOLLOW***
THIS BOOK is a prime example of good writing. It’s everything I’ve ever learned about the craft of writing, right there on the page. If you are a writer having trouble grasping advice like “tight writing” and “no word wasted”, this is your book.
And when the book is over, and life seems like it won’t quite return to normal, check out the full Olivia Twist playlist below.
Lorie Langdon is one half of the author team that writes the best-selling DOON series, a young adult reimagining of the musical Brigadoon. A few years ago, she left her corporate career to satisfy the voices in her head. Now she spends her days tucked into her office, Havanese puppy by her side, working to translate her effusive imagination into the written word.
Lorie has been interviewed on Entertainment Weekly.com and several NPR radio programs, including Lisa Loeb’s national Kid Lit show. The DOON series has been featured on such high profile sites as USAToday.com, Hypable.com, and BroadwayWorld.com. Lorie’s solo debut, GILT HOLLOW, a YA romantic thriller, released September 27th 2016. GILT HOLLOW was recently named by Redbook Magazine as one of the “Books By Women You Must Read This Fall.”
You can find Lorie Langdon on
- She’s also has her own YouTube channel, where you can find the full playlist for Olivia Twist.
Disclaimer: This review is brought to you by insomnia and a wayward debit card, as well as an insatiable longing to find out exactly what made one of my favorite authors proclaim the kissing scenes in the book as “spot on”. The answer is yes. Actually, more like “Yes!”
All opinions expressed are mine alone.