We all know how your world can be turned upside down in the blink of an eye. This is exactly where Oliver and Jack find themselves in the horrid Axminister workhouse.
You might think these two young men have had a rough time in the previous books, but boy do things get much darker in book three.
Their situation is dire as they are under the care (control) of Workmaster Chalenheim, who instantly takes a dislike to Oliver doling out severe canings for the pettiest of issues. Be warned there are several scenes that the faint hearted may be tempted to skim past, though If you manage to brave it out with Oliver you will see how remarkable he is.
Jack is struggling at the workhouse; he cannot abide having to watch Oliver being subjected to the brutality doled out by Workmaster Chalenheim. When Workmaster Chalenheim offers him a deal that if Jack agrees, he will leave off Oliver. Jack agrees but he soon realises he can not do it and it brings up his past.
Oliver being Oliver, tries to help the fellow inmates of the workhouse, only to get another severe beating, but he would not be Oliver if he did not try.
This book shows us another side of Jack, we see the usually cocky, no care in the world jack in a totally vulnerable and almost broken young man. We find out about his horrible childhood, and the truth about what happened when he was extradited to Australia.
Both characters grew so much in this book, as did their relationship. We get to see how much they love and need each other. The author awards the reader with a warm fuzzy ending that sooths all the horrid drama from the workhouse.
One of my favourite scenes is when Jack is treating Oliver’s caning wounds with balm, and Oliver returns the favour by treating a wound Jack has too. The scene just oozes love and care and makes you feel that these two guys can get through anything if they are together.
As with book 1 & 2, Jackie has done an amazing job of creating an authentic 19th century story world, with all the grime, dirt and brutality that was rife, unless you came from money. I think concentrating on two characters who have nothing but each other, makes a nice change from the well to do people who attend balls and have not a care in the world