A Twist of Fortune

By Barbara Mitchelhill

1. We absolutely loved this fast-paced, gripping and moving adventure story and really cared about what would happen to Sam and his brother and sister who, after a tragic start, losing both their father and mother,  seemed to face a new disaster in every chapter.  The story is well-written with plenty of short chapters and cliffhangers, and although written in a simple style, gives a real feel for what it was like to be poor in Victorian times, whether in the calm countryside or in the dangerous city of London.   Mitchelhill is particularly good at capturing the speech of real people at the time and nothing seems forced or stilted.  Despite all the terrible things which happen to the children though the author still manages to make it funny too.  The inclusion of Oliver Twist as Sam's favourite book, an Artful Dodger type character and the introduction of Dickens himself into the story is very clever and would definitely make us think about reading the original story now.   This story really immerses you into the reality of life in Victorian times and we'd definitely look out for other books by this hugely talented author who has obviously done her research to make the time come to life so well.

By Cramlington Learning Village, Northumberland

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