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 herself, while newfound feelings for an arrogant young man she shouldn’t like could derail her carefully laid plans for the future.
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.
As an avid reader of Dickens’ works, I was prepared to hate this book as much as the movie currently in theaters entitled, Sherlock Gnomes. I shudder to think of it. How can anyone slaughter a classic in such a way?
Thankfully readers of Lorie Langdon’s Olivia Twist do not have to worry about the story being diluted by nonsense and slap-happy gnomes. In fact, this reimagined tale is almost a tribute to the characters that Charles Dickens created and modernizes many aspects that can be better understood through the eyes of current readers, especially in that of the witty and independent Olivia. Also, the tale is not as bleak as the original classic, but still depicts the plight of women and the poor in 1800s London.
Orphaned as an infant, Olivia grew up as a London street rat, hiding under the guise of being a boy. She knew early on that a woman on the streets of London has a far less chance of making it than a man. Now under the protection of her long-lost uncle, she has left her life of thieving behind… well, mostly. When she recognizes a handsome gentleman at a society party as none other than the Artful Dodger, she is swept into an adventure of turns and literal Twists.
I absolutely adored this book. Loved the characters, the scenery, the plot! My only regret is that this book ended too soon! I ordered it off Amazon and the day it arrived, I read it in one sitting. Hah! Well, I guess I’ll just have to read it again. Here’s hoping Lorie Langdon writes more reimagined classics!
Readers from Young Adult and up will enjoy this reimagined classic full of adventure, a smidge of romance, and a wicked awesome heroine.