Author: Christina E. Pilz
Publisher: Blue Rain Press
Genre: Mm Historical
Summary:An ex-apprentice and his street thief companion flee the dangers of Victorian London and the threat of the hangman’s noose in search of family and the promise of a better life.
After Oliver Twist commits murder to protect Jack Dawkins (The Artful Dodger), both must flee London’s familiar but dangerous environs for safety elsewhere. Together they travel to Lyme Regis in the hopes of finding Oliver’s family. Along the way, Jack becomes gravely ill and Oliver is forced to perform manual labor to pay for the doctor’s bills.
While Oliver struggles to balance his need for respectability with his growing love for Jack, Jack becomes disenchanted with the staid nature of village life and his inability to practice his trade. But in spite of their personal struggles, and in the face of dire circumstances, they discover the depth of their love for each other.
Review: I have to give five stars for a narrative so amazingly true to the spirit of Victorian era literature. It delves into the deeper layers of people’s lives and attitudes, going much further than Dickens necessarily more sanitized depictions. The story picks up where Fagin’s Boy ended, with Oliver and Jack escaping from London after Oliver commits murder in defense of Jack. The added POV from Jack was a delightful addition, offering his impressions of Oliver and his own motivations for staying with him. Oliver is still torn between his affection and loyalty to Jack and his desire to rise above the place in life he’s forced to exist in. It’s also the merging of Oliver and Jack as lovers and their slow growing bond of love. There’s little in the way of sex, and then only used as an expression of their building trust and commitment.
It’s a long book and quite detailed with daily events involving both characters. To reiterate, it’s quite Dickensian in style, but also richly filled with characterizations and redolent with the atmosphere in each setting. It is a cliffhanger but that also fits with Dickens’s serializations of his stories. I’m completely sold on this series and will continue to avidly follow the adventures Christina Pilz has created for these characters. Well, well worth the time for any reader and lover of historical fiction.
*An ARC was provided to me by the author for the purpose of an honest review with Hearts On Fire Reviews blog*