The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts

Now and again, I run into a foregone conclusion when looking through the Net Gallery offerings of ARCs to be read and reviewed. I enjoy discovering debut writers, but if Avi is the author, my request is automatic. This master of historical fiction in The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts evoked another favorite author (Charles Dickens) and another favorite Oliver (Twist). The book begins with a tempest sweeping through his home and gets steadily worse from there.

Oliver, in 1700s England, left to his own devices after his father goes to London to seek his sister, finds his father’s unreadable note sodden from the storm. The note might have had some useful information – not that his father had been much help even when he was present with only repeated promises to be a better father next time.  

In Dickensian tradition, Oliver goes from worse to much worse. As he describes his life about halfway through the book, “If you have followed my story – and I hope you have not skipped a word because I have labored extremely hard on each and every one – you should have noted that every time I move forward, I am thwarted by an adult.”

Avi has never disappointed me with a good read, including this book. The one difference? He’s left an enticing lead to a sequel. Naturally, I had to check and see when it would be coming out. According to Avi's blog, the next book is “pretty much done” although he was talking to the editor about changing a word.

Don’t I hate waiting for the sequel to a book that’s had me turning pages?