PUBLISHER: Harper Collins
DATE PUBLISHED: 06th March 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.
Olivia Twist is an innovative reimagining of Charles Dickens’ classic tale Oliver Twist, in which Olivia was forced to live as a boy for her own safety until she was rescued from the streets. Now eighteen, Olivia finds herself at a crossroads: revealed secrets threaten to destroy the “proper” life she has built for her herself, while newfound feelings for an arrogant young man she shouldn’t like could derail her carefully laid plans for the future.
A beautiful gender-bent reimagining of the classic Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. In this take on the classic “Ollie” was raised a boy in the workhouse to save the horrid fate that takes girls on the street and in the workhouse. Once Olivia is discovered by her great-uncle there is no need to pretend anymore. She is raised in the luxury her great-uncle can afford but will never forget the streets where she was raised.
Olivia is a head-strong and loyal character. While she is in high society, she has some mannerisms from her past that she still keeps, even as she is of the age for marriage. She is a combination of socialite and street urchin with the best qualities of both.
This wouldn’t be an Oliver Twist reimagining without the Artful Dodger making an appearance. I wasn’t expecting him to be the love interest though, but it makes perfect sense the more I think about it. He is sponsored by a rich lady to liberate her friends of their finery. He presents as a gentleman (even if a little roguish), but underneath some of the old Dodger remains in Jack.
The romance between these two are shadowed by a dark force on the streets. Once that is out for blood. There is a vast juxtaposition between the wealthy and the poor that is bridged by Olivia and Jack’s characters. Their compassion and caring shine through.
The style of the book is similar to Regency books with elements of YA and Oliver Twist thrown in. Beautifully written, transporting the reader to the grimy streets and opulent glamour of Regency London. I enjoyed the whole experience. It’s the retelling I never knew could be and absolutely adore.
Keep Calm and Read On,