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

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

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Author: Lorie Langdon
Publisher: Blink
Publication Date: 2018
Genre: Fiction; Historical, Young Adult
Source: Publisher Provided – thank you, Blink
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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 reimaging 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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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