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Oliver & Jack: In Axminster Workhouse

by Christina E. Pilz

In Axminster Workhouse - Christina E. Pilz - Oliver & Jack
Editions:ePub: $ 4.99
ISBN: 978-0989727308-9
Kindle: $ 4.99
ISBN: 978-0-9897273-7-2
Paperback: $ 15.17
ISBN: 978-0989727365
Size: 5.50 x 8.50 in
Pages: 411

After a seaside interlude, during which they grew closer and their relationship stronger, Oliver and Jack are arrested and sent to Axminster Workhouse to await trial for the theft of books that they only borrowed. They are put in the less-than-tender care of Workmaster Chalenheim, who controls the quotas they must fill, the amount of food they eat, and the punishments they must endure.

Oliver struggles with the shame of being in a place he thought he’d left behind him long ago. Meanwhile, Jack is confronted by a predator, who tests the limits of Jack’s love for Oliver. Together they must find a way to escape the workhouse before they succumb to the harsh conditions or are separated by the hangman’s noose, whichever comes first.

In Axminster Workhouse is the third book in Christina E. Pilz’s Oliver & Jack series, a gay historical romance. If you like dark stories about forbidden love in dark places, then you'll love this story, so pick up a copy today!

This book is on:
  • 2 To Be Read lists
  • 1 Read list
Publisher: Christina E. Pilz
Cover Artists:
Pairings: M-M
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: Under 18
Protagonist 2 Age: 18-25
Tropes: Class Differences, Forbidden Love, Friends to Lovers, Hurt / Comfort, Rescue, Slow Burning Love
Word Count: 160,000
Setting: Axminster, England
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters

With the mud clumping on the heel of his boot, Oliver did as Jack bade him, and as he worked, he kept close to Jack as they slowly moved toward the river. The sky overhead boiled with low grey clouds that brought rain in unwanted handfuls. If Oliver stood up, the rain drizzled on his face; if he bent over to sift through the dirt for rocks or stones, the wind whipped his jacket about and let the rain crawl up his back. There was no stopping the work, not even for weather, though he could hear Jack muttering about the pure foolishness of it. For again, although the task was straightforward, Jack was put in the position of actually having to do the work to earn his supper, and this he earnestly despised, if the look on his face was anything to go by.


As for Jack’s plan, it was more than half-mad. They would never make it to the river, but even if they did, they would be spotted before they got very far. He needed to convince Jack of this, that there was a better way, an easier way, than running through the mud-thick field and crossing a river.

Oliver paused, straightening up, the bucket banging against his thigh, and looked at Jack, bent over at the waist like a common field gleaner, his dark forelock falling into his eyes. He wasn’t working very hard at it, for he was merely turning over the stones in his hands as if working the tendons of his fingers to keep them flexible. As well, his bucket was mostly empty, and if the workmaster were to measure each bucket individually, Jack would get no supper.

Shaking his head, Oliver looked up the field, toward where the two hayrick wagons stood, the horses content with their feedbags, the workmasters tucked in the lee of the wagons to keep out of the rain. As for the male paupers, they were spread across the field, two to a furrow, all bent over, like brown curls against the darker mud. They moved slowly, as if half asleep, even though moving faster would have kept them warmer. But, as if in a dazed state, chilled to the bone, they stumbled, and bent, and pulled, and put stones and weeds in their respective buckets, all slowly, arms thin, uncovered heads slick with rain.

Oliver did not want to end up like them, of that he was certain; Jack’s plan, however mad, would bring the better alternative.

“Jack,” said Oliver, blinking against the rain as he went over, bending at the waist at Jack’s side as if he too were a gleaner. “Tell me again this plan? What will we do on the other side of the river? And say we do get away, how will we manage?”

“Eh?” asked Jack, looking up from where he was now hunkered down on his heels. “How will we manage? What kind of question is that? Don’t you know who I am? Why, I’m the Dodger, that’s who, an’ I’ll soon be able to get enough money to keep you from havin’ to sleep beneath a hedge. Unless that’s your dearest wish, of course.”

Laughing a little to himself, Jack stood up, leaving the bucket wallowing half empty in the furrowed earth at his feet as he brushed his hands against his trousers. He tilted his head, and looked at Oliver, the corners of his mouth curling up to smile as if the whole idea presented itself to him as a rather jolly joke.

Reviews:Book Nerd on Book Nerd wrote:

My Review - Four Stars
Copy received from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for an honest review.

Although I am only now picking up the book which is the third in the series, I was able t to ascertain what happened in the previous parts of the story. Oliver and Jack are a gay couple who really have all the odds stack against them. First, I have to say that the author made Jack and Oliver real to me. I felt like I knew them. The author really provided great insight into what life if like for Jack and Oliver because they have to hide who they are from society. There are very tense moments when the burdens they carry become very visible. Aside from their shared bond, Pilz shows us an insight into what life was like during this time period. I personally love Victorian time period so I found it fascinating. Overall, very satisfying read with many heartfelt moments.

Svetlana on Svetlana's Reviews wrote:

The story is in third person narrative from Jack's and Oliver's points of view. The author does let the reader know who is speaking and she does adjust the language slightly, namely that if Jack is speaking, he calls Oliver "Nolly." What is impressive is how she draws the reader into the story and how often I lost track of pages that I was reading. I also enjoyed how the relationship between Jack and Oliver continues to blossom and how the characters continue to grow and to adjust to one another.

Beckie on In a Minute Book Reviews wrote:

"Oliver & Jack: In Axminster Workhouse" by Christina E Pilz is the 3rd volume in the Oliver & jack series. Oliver as in Oliver Twist. The series takes place several years after the original Twist and introduces the reader to the late teen-aged Oliver. Oliver and his boyfriend Jack have been framed for stealing books and arrested. While they await punishment they have been placed into the Axminster Workhouse. Here Oliver begins to spiral down into a depression and his worst nightmare reliving his past. The couple then begins to endure the harshest treatments and abuse.

I'm not sure this would be called fan fiction, but to bring to life a classic character like Twist takes a lotta guts. I, myself, haven't read Oliver Twist, so I can't tell you how close to the original character Pilz remained. I also haven't read the previous two books in the series. So pretending there are no other books, I'll just say this book is written very well. Though reading the first books would be beneficial, they are not necessary to this novel. The characters are well developed and the relationship between the two main characters is a very sweet and deeply loving ship. The abuse can be a bit hard to take at times, but seems to build the relationship between the two to a deeper level for the reader. I give it 4.5 stars. I received this book from HF Virtual Book Tour.

About the Author

I write historical fiction about attractive young men in love. I love coffee, history, the Oxford comma, and Devon. There might not be dancing, but there will be a happily ever after!