Title: The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts
Genre: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: May 16, 2017
High adventure from a master storyteller about one boy’s attempt to fend for himself among cruel orphan masters, corrupt magistrates, and conniving thieves.
In the seaside town of Melcombe Regis, England, 1724, Oliver Cromwell Pitts wakes to find his father missing and his house flooded by a recent storm. He’s alone in his ruined home with no money and no food. Oliver’s father has left behind a barely legible waterlogged note: he’s gone to London, where Oliver’s sister, Charity, is in trouble. Exploring damage to the town in the storm’s aftermath, Oliver discovers a shipwreck on the beach. Removing anything from a wrecked ship is a hanging offense, but Oliver finds money that could save him, and he can’t resist the temptation to take it. When his crime is discovered, Oliver flees, following the trail of his father and sister. The journey is full of thieves, adventurers, and treachery–and London might be the most dangerous place of all.
In the tradition of his Newbery Honor book The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Avi mixes high adventure and short, page-turning chapters with a vivid historical setting featuring a cast of highwaymen, pickpockets, and villainous criminal masterminds.
This is an exciting, fast-paced story.
Oliver’s story starts out as a series of unfortunate events. His sister goes to London to find a better life, but it isn’t the life she thought it would be. Then his father disappears to go save his sister. Oliver is caught at a shipwreck, suspected of stealing, and then sent to a poorhouse. Then he has to travel to London with highwaymen who steal from carriages along the way.
This story was very fast-paced. Oliver never stayed in one place for very long, so the setting was always changing. He met many different people throughout the story and most of them were connected in some way.
I liked the ending of the story. There was a lot of tension while Oliver was in London! I’m excited to see where the story goes in the next book, The End of the World and Beyond.
What to read next:
The End of the World and Beyond by Avi
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
Have you read The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts? What did you think of it?