Book Report: Our highly scientific analysis of a book, from the characters to the writing style to the swoon. See More...

Please, Sir, She Wants Some More

Lorie Langdon’s Olivia Twist reimagines the classic novel/musical with a gender-bent twist.

Please, Sir, She Wants Some More

BOOK REPORT for Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon

Cover Story: Era-appropriate
BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: 7
Talky Talk: Historical Retelling
Bonus Factor: Oliver!/Oliver Twist
Relationship Status: Mates

Cover Story: Era-appropriate

This cover does an excellent job of making you think this is an “old” book; I wouldn’t be surprised to come across a vintage version of Oliver Twist that looks very much the same.

The Deal:

Olivia Brownlow might currently be a member of the upper class, but she wasn’t always such—as a youth, she was Oliver “Ollie” Twist, an orphan and member of one of London’s criminal street gangs. She did what she had to do to survive, and doing so disguised as a boy was much easier than had she revealed the truth about her gender.

Old habits—and old relationships—die hard, however, and Olivia finds it necessary to rely on both when secrets threaten the life she’s so carefully cultivated.

BFF Charm: Yay

Olivia’s an interesting character who could have turned out quite differently, given her early life. Her time on the streets could have made her hard and cynical, but she turned her experiences into common sense and an innate and unshakeable need to care for people with less. She’s both street-wise and knowledgeable about society, which makes her useful in all sorts of situations; she’s comfortable* in both dresses and trousers, at balls and in the slums. I’m not sure how useful her skills would be in modern times, but were I living in the 1800s, I’d do all I could to become friends with her.

*As much as one can be “comfortable” in a corset, mind you.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

At yet another society event, Olivia’s resigned herself to the norm: making proper small talk, acting like a proper lady—and being properly bored. Until, that is, she sees the mysterious Jack MacCarron, and something about him is way too familiar.

Talky Talk: Historical Retelling

Unsurprisingly, Olivia Twist is a historical fiction novel, and a retelling (more on that below). Langdon does a good job of grounding the story in the 1800s without overuse of slang or terms that are completely unfamiliar to modern audiences. I also applaud her use of accents in dialogue; I could hear the characters’ speech in my head, but it never came across as hokey or awkward. And although it was easy to picture a dirty, smelly London, the book doesn’t read like a Dickens novel, which I think is a good thing. (No offense to all you classic lit stans out there.)

Bonus Factor: Oliver!/Oliver Twist

In the book’s acknowledgements, Langdon talks about how Olivia Twist is the “book of her heart,” and the book she’s wanted to write since seeing Oliver! when she was young. I love these kind of stories of inspiration and perseverance.

Full disclosure: I’ve never seen Oliver!—play or movie—and never read Oliver Twist. (Yet another classic I maybe need to add to my TBR.) For some reason, however, I’ve quoted the book since I was little; the “Please, sir…” line is in my oft-repeated repertoire. I know the basics of the story’s plot, however, and don’t feel like my enjoyment of Olivia Twist suffered for not knowing every little detail.

Relationship Status: Mates

I might not be super familiar with your source material, Book, but I enjoyed your twist (heh) on the tale.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Blink/Harper Collins, and got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Olivia Twist is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
K