Size: 5.50 x 8.50 in
In 1846 London, Oliver Twist has one desire: to own a bookshop and live a simple, middle-class life as far as possible from his workhouse-shadowed past. One thing stands in his way, Jack Dawkins--The Artful Dodger--who's just returned to London and wants to reconnect.
Jack's visits cause Oliver nothing but trouble with his master, but he finds himself drawn, time and again, to their shared past, Jack's unguarded honesty, and those bright, green eyes.
Oliver craves respectability, and doesn't think he will find it with a forbidden love. Can Jack convince Oliver that having one doesn't mean losing the other?
Fagin’s Boy: The Further Particulars of a Parish Boy's Progress is the first book in Christina E. Pilz’s Oliver & Jack series, a gay historical romance. If you like Dickensian characters who fall in love in spite of themselves, and beautiful flowering romance occurring in all the wrong places, then you’ll love Fagin’s Boy, so pick up a copy today!
- 1 Read list
- 2 To Be Read lists
Publisher: Christina E. Pilz
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay, Questioning
Protagonist 1 Age: Under 18
Protagonist 2 Age: 18-25
Tropes: Class Differences, Coming of Age, Enemies to Lovers, First Time, Forbidden Love, Gay for You / Straight to Gay, Hurt / Comfort, Opposites Attract, Slow Burning Love
Word Count: 170,000
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
Sputtering, he wiped his face with his gloves. He should get back to the funeral reception anyhow before he was missed. Even though there was really no one to miss him now, and the reception was mostly full of conversation of the idle type that he’d never much cared for, there were expectations of propriety and guests waiting.
He felt a hand on his arm, and jerked backward.
“Leave me be,” he said, low, almost muttering. “I’ve got it, I say.”
“Leave you be, Nolly?” said a voice, using the pet name that no one had called him in years. “That’s all anyone’s ever done, is leave you be.”READ MORE
The voice was close, and Oliver could smell small beer and unwashed skin and something familiar that made him freeze. He did not know that voice, and yet he did. He shrank inside his greatcoat, but the hand jerked him again and pushed him against a tree, where the snow rattled down and obscured his vision again even as he opened his eyes.
When he could see through the curtain of snow, there, to accompany a voice from long ago, was a face from memory, five years on. The face was thin, hollow-cheeked, the skin sallow, as though fading from being sunburnt, with snapping, bright green eyes, that rough face grown into itself. It was, impossibly so, the face of the Artful Dodger, also known to his more intimate acquaintances as Jack Dawkins, back from the grave, back, back from wherever he’d been. And he’d found Oliver.
“Oh,” said Oliver. “Oh.” A prickly feeling rose along the back of his neck and along his scalp, and he was cold all over. He felt as though something had punched him in the gut, a deep blow that sent his whole body reverberating with shock waves that made him reel, unsteady, on his feet.
But in spite of this, all of a sudden part of him flickered with the memories of Jack from so long ago. Jack, taking Oliver by the hand on a crowded High Street in Barnet; Jack acquiring ham and bread, and feeding Oliver with it till Oliver’s stomach had been as full as it had ever been, more full than he could ever remember. And then how Jack had pulled him through the streets of Barnet and Islington, to the thickness of London, darting across posh, wide boulevards, and trotting down rackety-packety back lanes full of sewage and open doorways with dark figures looming inside.
There was, as well, the memory of Jack’s touch in Fagin’s den, Jack’s hands pulling him back, Jack putting his body slightly in front of Oliver’s when Fagin ranted, waving his iron fork about. Jack, with his hands in Oliver’s hair, or patting his cheek, stroking his arm. Jack had been a constant part of that time, his hands leaving a sensory memento of those days so long ago. The echoes of which Oliver realized he was now stirring inside of him, and which he did not quite know what to do with.COLLAPSE
Christoph Fischer on WriterChristophFischer wrote:
Going to be honest, this is the first book that I’ve read that involves two men falling in love and exploring their sexuality. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, but I finished it quite satisfied with the entire story. The romance of Jack and Oliver is tentative and sweet, the young fumbling of a new love in Victorian England. But there was a plot besides the romance, one of finding your footing when you’re trying to claw your way from the bottom of the societal barrel. And the writing; the writing is impeccable with each description totally fleshed out, but not in a tiring way.
Pilz does a wonderful job introducing two much loved characters into a new narrative seamlessly. I didn’t read this book as a political piece, but it still sparks a new conversation about homosexuality, young men exploring their feelings, and the level at which we have come to fully accept this natural occurrence. The moral of the review is to go into each book you find, even if you don’t think it’s your ‘type’. You might find a new gem among the library shelves that you wouldn’t have normally read.
Patty Woodland on Brokeen Teepee wrote:
I was pleasantly surprised to find the book so authentic to Dickens, the Victorian times and the original story and characters. Continuation stories of classics are a tricky business but Pilz managed it very well.
You can recognize the characters and the times of Oliver Twist well enough, but there is enough creativity and thought put into this to make it a very accomplished work in its own right.
I have a love and hate relationship with the era, so dark and hopeless at times, yet so full of life and adventure, full of dodgy characters and threats, yet, a time where there is hope for change for the better.
You can’t help feeling for Oliver and his fortune, and you can’t help liking Jack. This is a very plausible and authentic work, clearly a labour of love with a lot of research and attention for detail.
The thought of Oliver being gay has occurred to me before. Pilz manages to integrate this effortlessly into the story without this being a gay takeover of the story. Subtle, tasteful and with great sensitivity this is of great historical value and not simple hijacking of a story and making it something else.
A real treasure find for this reader. I’m delighted to learn that there is a sequel to this. Enjoy!
Darlene on Peeking Between the Pages wrote:
This is an amazing book. If you have read any Dickens you will understand when I write that it carries the weight of the world and you feel it as you are reading it. It is not a happy book or always an easy book to read but the same can be said of any book covering subject matters such as the abuse of young orphans. It is true to the time in which it takes place. I had a very hard time putting it down once I started reading it and you can see that it is not a short tome. Ms. Pilz transported me to the poor underside of Victorian England with all of the dirt and stink that that entails. She continues Oliver’s story yet takes it to a place that I doubt anyone would have expected. I read through the 624 pages and I was disappointed that it was over – despite the darkness and sometimes overwhelming oppression. Ms. Pilz has continued a masterpiece with another.
Mina on Mina's Bookshelf wrote:
Let me start by saying that I have always had a soft spot for Oliver Twist, the young orphan boy who only wanted a better life. I’ve read the book by Charles Dickens and watched the movies so when I heard about Christina E. Pilz’s novel Fagin’s Boy I knew I just had to read it! Fagin’s Boy gives us a glimpse into what Oliver Twist’s life may have been like after he grew up and most surprising is she takes his life in a direction I didn’t expect. Fagin’s Boy, like Oliver Twist before it, will capture your heart!
Michelle on True Book Addict wrote:
If you think that writing your first book as the sequel to a timeless masterpiece could be an exceedingly ambitious project, bound to poorly compare with the magnitude of a nineteenth-century master storyteller, you obviously have never heard of Christina E. Pilz, newcomer author of historical fiction.
Newcomer she may be, but I honestly think you will hardly find a better way to revisit a Dickens classic other than reading Pilz's debut novel, Fagin's Boy. If you are familiar with the extraordinary British novelist and his work, chances are you will be genuinely enthralled by Pilz's ability to breathe new life into an iconic character of the Victorian realism.
In her extremely well-executed novel, the author re-imagines, with exquisite richness of historical details, and penetrating understanding of character and social biases, the young adult life of Oliver Twist. The angel-face workhouse orphan, who refused to let his humble and troubled beginnings define his future, returns in Fagin's Boy to build new bridges and rehash old demons. The resolution of this riveting and vividly drawn tale will blow you away. Highly recommended.
I have read several of Dickens' great works and let me just say that Pilz has masterfully captured his tone in her writing. As with Dickens, the reader experiences the palpable sorrow of downtrodden characters and when these characters find happiness/redemption, the heart soars.
Oliver's story is one that stays with us and to read such a worthy continuation of his story is a true delight. It's quite impressive that this is Pilz's first novel. It's exciting to anticipate just what she will come up with next. I, for one, can't wait!