Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon – Gothic Historical YA Novel Re-imagines a Classic

March 6, 2018

Book Review: Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon – Gothic Historical YA
Novel Reimagines a Classic

(This post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through
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ABOUT the BOOK
Author: Lorie Langdon
Publisher: Blink
Publication Date: 2018
Genre: Fiction; Historical, Young Adult
Source: Publisher Provided – thank you, Blink
FIND the BOOK ELSEWHERE:
FIND the REVIEW ELSEWHERE:
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Rating: ★★★★ 

Once upon
a time Olivia Brownlow’s only glimpse into the lives of the privileged was when
she pick-pocketed them. Living on the streets as Oliver Twist, Olivia is now Miss Brownlow living as a debutante about to make an advantageous match.

Once known as the “Artful Dodger,” Jack MacCarron is also
living a life that’s really not his. He’s entered a world he wasn’t born too,
but as con man with street smarts, he knows how to adapt.

Secrets, pasts and danger collide between these two lives…
lives that seem to boast a glittering future.

Touted as an “innovative” re-telling, this novel certainly
matches this descriptor. Taking a stab at reimagining the classic Dickens story, Oliver Twist, Langdon reworks the story
through a different lens, that of a female protagonist. Apart from her
co-authored series (‘Doon’), the only other book to this author’s name is Gilt Hollow, a contemporary story that’s
different but not dissimilar to Olivia
Twist
.


Part of the appeal of this novel (for my shelf) is its
setting. I love that it’s a historical novel in the YA scene, a market I really
don’t read anything from. The anticipation of this story’s setting does not
disappoint. Every scene and descriptive phrase is perfect, all of which is
likely aided by the visualizations already affixed in my mind from BBC productions. With its
shadowed streets and potential dangers lurking around the corners, the world is
fascinating, and also, wisely, left
in realistic format.

As characters existing in this world, Olivia and Jack are
among the good. What’s so interesting about them is they have a past unlike
most heroes and heroines. Of course every character has some kind of backstory,
but in these arcs, both have a past,
one with shadows that’s peppered with gray areas. That said, they’re easily
liked, never on any kind of precipitance that leaves the reader wondering. A
trait I appreciate.

Those seeking a unique historical read need look no further
than Lorie Langdon’s latest. Olivia Twist
is everything it promises to be – a historical work of fiction that dazzles. 
Synopsis | 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. – Goodreads

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this
book; all opinions are my own

18 Comments

  • Lauren Stoolfire

    March 7, 2018 at 1:59 am

    This sounds like it'll be pretty great. Thanks for sharing and great review, Rissi!

    1. Rissi

      March 10, 2018 at 1:10 am

      It's fabulous, Lauren!! Hope you enjoy if you read this one. :)

  • Brittaney

    March 7, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    I've been looking forward to this one ever since I finished Gilt Hollow. I love gothic stories and Langdon is a unique story teller.

    1. Rissi

      March 10, 2018 at 1:11 am

      Lorie is indeed a unique story teller, and that's why I do adore her novels. Enjoy, Brittaney. :)

  • Karen Klepsteen

    March 7, 2018 at 7:14 pm

    This sounds like such a fascinating story! I've never read Oliver Twist, but that's not going to stop me from reading this! Lol

    1. Rissi

      March 10, 2018 at 1:12 am

      I haven't read Oliver Twist either, Karen. I've seen the film adaptation though, and can certainly "see" the influences. Enjoy! :)

  • Amanda Holmes

    March 8, 2018 at 4:19 am

    I will have to try to get a copy of this one, since it looks like one I would enjoy immensely!

    1. Rissi

      March 10, 2018 at 1:13 am

      Fun! Hope you enjoy, Amanda. It's a lovely tale. :)

  • Korin

    March 8, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    I thought this book looked good, and I'm glad to see that you enjoyed it! Hoping our library will get it so I can read it.

    1. Rissi

      March 10, 2018 at 1:14 am

      I most definitely did, Korin. Hope you enjoy this one – it's a fun, "adventure" kind of tale. :)

  • Mallory @ SheisBookish

    March 9, 2018 at 4:35 am

    This sounds like a really interesting twist on Twist! Thanks for the recco and great review – adding it to my TBR :)

    1. Rissi

      March 10, 2018 at 1:14 am

      Cool. Hope you enjoy this one, Mallory – I know all about those TBRs. :)

  • Jana Leah B

    March 27, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    I like re-imaginings. This one sounds good.

    1. Rissi

      March 28, 2018 at 11:40 pm

      Me too, Jane! Hope you enjoy this one if you decide to read it. :)

  • Jen Ryland

    April 6, 2018 at 1:04 am

    I've been really curious about this one. I love retellings and Oliver Twist wouldn't have occurred to me as the basis of a YA retelling – love the gender flip too!
    Jen Ryland Reviews

    1. Rissi

      April 7, 2018 at 5:23 pm

      It's really good, Jen. I hope if you do have the chance to read it, you discover a new favorite. Happy reading. :)

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