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Book Cover
Author's Notes:
Previously published as Fagin’s Boy: The Further Particulars of a Parish Boy’s Progress; Copyright © 2013 by Christina E. Pilz

Book Info

Author:
Series:

Oliver & Jack

Series Type:
Interlinked
Number In Series:
1
Cover Artist:
Publisher:
Blue Rain Press
Published:
19 April 2022
Book Type
Words:
170,000
Pages:
599
Heat Level

Review

Reviewed By: Josh Dale

5/5

This is one gem of a novel, that continues the story of Oliver and Jack (Artful Dodger), as they are brought back together through life circumstances.

By the title you might be forgiven in thinking that this book is just a gay version of Oliver Twist. You would be so wrong.

This is one gritty story, and certainly not a fluffy romance, though the two characters grow intimately close.

It is a story about life’s struggles, Often dark, but always has a glimmer of hope, of a better life in the future.

Fagin’s boys, takes place five(ish) years after Oliver Twist ended. Oliver is now 17, seems to have landed on his feet after his terrible childhood. He is under the care of Mr Brownlow, who has taken him in and become his guardian.

This is a portrayal of Oliver and Jacks next chapter in their lives. The author has very cleverly woven elements of the original Dickens classic book into the story but has developed both characters into young adults. They are different people now, Oliver has had a taste of a proper life, living in a nice house, and wearing fine clothes. Whereas Jack Dawkings is still as sharp and cunning as ever, though with more life experiences. Jack hungers for his old gang back upon his return to London.

We watch how they start out heading in opposite directions. Both have opposite views of their past, Jack believing it was a good life, whilst Oliver does not want to even think about those dark years.

When they first meet in the street, Oliver does his best to push Jack away, believing Jack will bring him down and hook him back to their past life.

We get a vivid view of Victorian London, the awful cold and unforgiven class system, how workhouse boys are classed as dispensable. How it was virtually impossible to rise from your born class. It is this that starts Oliver’s downfall and starts a chain of events that leads him to Jack.

Jack the one that always looks out for Oliver and protects him the best he can. Their relationship is very much a slow burn, but I think this is a good thing, The author shows how although they are like chalk and cheese, they are also the only one that they can rely on.

I must admit the book really hits you in the heart, Watching Oliver’s dreams fade, and How poor Jack returns to find no-one from his old life around except Oliver, who is frosty towards him.

The world is painted vividly in our minds from the green haberdashery shop front to the foul smells of the streets of London. The details the author describes of mouldy bread, meat that is way past its best. The dirty Three Cripples Inn. Oh, you certainly feel like you’re with Oliver and Jack.

Oliver’s character is interesting he is waring with himself, he tries to hide his feelings when a workhouse boy comes to work at the shop and is treated badly and pushing Jack away. Because he does not want to go back to his old life.

But he hits his breaking point and realises he does not want to be part of the cruel world and his temper lashes out.

Jack is an optimistic independent young man, mostly full of mischief but there is underlying heartache, he has lost everyone he knew and even Oliver is pushing him away at first. It is obvious that he needs Oliver’s love and care, and Oliver needs Jacks protection and guidance.

I think the author has kept the authenticity of the original book, but also brought new life to the characters and new challenges too.

Victorian period stories are one of my favourites, especially about on the poor and their struggles. This story delivers on that front with a cold, grimy world of unfairness. The gritty reality of the poor and how they are exploited.

If you enjoy historic fiction, enjoy a gritty read, or just loved Oliver Twist. Or just wondered what happened to Oliver Twist? Then I highly recommend Fagin’s Boys. You will soon be hooked into their world and will want to keep turning page after page.

Writing for love, working towards that happy ever after.

Biography

Jackie North has been writing stories since grade school and spent years absorbing the mainstream romances that she found at her local grocery store. Her dream was to someday leave her corporate day job behind and travel the world. She also wanted to put her English degree to good use and write romance novels, because for years she’s had a never-ending movie of made-up love stories in her head that simply wouldn’t leave her alone.

As fate would have it, she discovered m/m romance and decided that men falling in love with other men was exactly what she wanted to write books about. In this dazzling new world, she turned her grocery-store romance ideas around and is now putting them to paper as fast as her fingers can type. She creates characters who are a bit flawed and broken, who find themselves on the edge of society, and maybe a few who are a little bit lost, but who all deserve a happily ever after. (And she makes sure they get it!)

She likes long walks on the beach, the smell of lavender and rainstorms, and enjoys sleeping in on snowy mornings. She is especially fond of pizza and beer and, when time allows, long road trips with soda fountain drinks and rock and roll music. In her heart, there is peace to be found everywhere, but since in the real world this isn’t always true, Jackie writes for love.

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