- Publication Date: June 14, 2015, Blue Rain Press
- Format: eBook & Paperback; 450 Pages
- Genre: Historical/LGBT/M/M Romance
An ex-apprentice and his street thief companion flee the dangers of Victorian London and the threat of the hangman’s noose in search of family and the promise of a better life.
After Oliver Twist commits murder to protect Jack Dawkins (The Artful Dodger), both must flee London’s familiar but dangerous environs for safety elsewhere. Together they travel to Lyme Regis in the hopes of finding Oliver’s family. Along the way, Jack becomes gravely ill and Oliver is forced to perform manual labor to pay for the doctor’s bills.
While Oliver struggles to balance his need for respectability with his growing love for Jack, Jack becomes disenchanted with the staid nature of village life and his inability to practice his trade. But in spite of their personal struggles, and in the face of dire circumstances, they discover the depth of their love for each other.
Buy, read, and discuss Oliver & Jack at Lodgings in Lyme
Christina was born in Waco, Texas in 1962. After living on a variety of air force bases, in 1972 her Dad retired and the family moved to Boulder, Colorado. There amidst the clear, dry air of the high plains, as the moss started to grow beneath her feet, her love for historical fiction began with a classroom reading of Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
She attended a variety of community colleges (Tacoma Community College) and state universities (UNC-Greeley, CU-Boulder, CU-Denver), and finally found her career in technical writing, which, between layoffs, she has been doing for 18 years. During that time, her love for historical fiction and old-fashioned objects, ideas, and eras has never waned.
In addition to writing, her interests include road trips around the U.S. and frequent flights to England, where she eats fish and chips, drinks hard cider, and listens to the voices in the pub around her. She also loves coffee shops, mountain sunsets, prairie storms, and the smell of lavender. She is a staunch supporter of the Oxford comma.
Connect with Christina
When I read the description of this book in the email from HFVBT, I thought, “Really? An m/m romance between Oliver Twist and the Artful Dodger?” The concept very quickly grew on me, and so I volunteered to be a reviewer.
My only disappointment is that I’ve never read the first book in the series, so I was a bit muddled about the ages of Oliver and Jack, but aside from that, the necessary information from the previous plot is all there in context and there’s just enough exposition to make you understand what happened without feeling like someone’s telling you the previous plot in its entirety.
From the start, I really loved Christina E. Pilz’s writing style. This is an historical novel, but the language is completely accessible while still retaining that ‘period’ feel. I especially appreciate that she didn’t try to emulate Dickens, because that would have taken this story, this beautiful, beautiful story, into the realm of pastiche, or worse, parody.
And it is a beautiful story, one that involves deep friendship that turns into real love, and addresses everything from the roles society expects us to play to our own great expectations about how our lives will turn out. Oliver is a bit self-entitled, Jack is a bit too attached to his ‘career’ as a pickpocket (one he excels at, but still…) and each has issues with class as well as the relationship forming between them. Oh, and there’s a healthy amount of hurt/comfort, as well, but that works in the context of the novel.
For me, the challenging moments of this story weren’t the times when the two men were at odds with each other, because even people who love each other unconditionally have arguments. Nor did I have any issues with the intimate scenes – they were, for the most part – very real, sometimes tender, sometimes less so, but perfectly in tune with the characters as Pilz wrote them, and completely HOT. No, my challenge was that the boys (yes, I know they’re not children, but still…) spent so much of the novel being tired, wet, cold, hungry, and dirty, and I have issues with too much of that sort of thing.
Not that you’d expect to be anything OTHER than tired, wet, cold, hungry, and dirty while tramping around Victorian England with almost no money.
Overall, I thought this was a really enjoyable, quite sexy read, grounded in the source material, but also very much it’s own thing.
Goes well with steak and kidney pie and a good stout.
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