Olivia Brownlow has been an upper-class Victorian young lady for a few years. Before that she lived with the orphans, starving, and surviving by theft. This act took tremendous courage, as the penalty for being caught thieving was hanging. But after being arrested, Olivia, who had been known as Olive, met a man who figured out quickly that she was his niece and offered her a home, fine living, and an education. Although Olivia left the streets, her heart remained with the orphans, who were her best friends, and who she still feeds, clothes and endearingly comforts.
Imagine, then, the shock of Jack MacCarron, alias “The Artful Dodger,” who finds Olivia and has to face her anger for abandoning her. Jack avoids thinking of Olivia so that he can marry into a rich family, where he will be able to steal expensive items that would never be missed by the aristocracy. Love is the last consideration for both of them; at least they spend a great deal of time fighting off that notion. Add to this edginess the fact that Olivia has a brother, Monks, who is a dangerous factor for both Olivia (part of the mystery herein) and Jack.
Olivia Twist is a wonderful adaptation of Dickens’ Oliver Twist. I didn’t want this story to end. It might be judged as contrived, but it’s still a wonderful work of historical fiction with humor, mystery, social concern for the poor, and a dash of growing passion. Highly recommended!