This summer was hectic, so when we received a review copy of Britfield & the Lost Crown, I decided that I would read it rather than assigning it to one of the kids. It’s been ages since I’ve read a good book, so I was happy to volunteer!
The book cover itself says that this book fits into the Juvenile Fiction and Action & Adventure genres, and I do agree. I think that my kids would like this one from about age 9 or 10 and up. This softcover book is over 380 pages, so anyone younger than that might find it daunting, even though it’s a nice, easy read.
There are 17 chapters, as well as some maps of England, Oxford, Windsor Castle, London, and Canterbury. This allows readers who are more visual to track the adventures of the main characters in the story, Tom and Sarah, as they escape the horrid conditions of the Weatherly Orphanage.
Kids at the Weatherly Orphanage are barely cared for at all, and are not allowed things like pencils and paper, books, or even fruit! They are forced to work all day long in grueling conditions to make baskets for the awful Mr. and Mrs. Grievous to sell and make money. The children are often starved and isolated, and any attempt at escape up to this point has been fruitless and devastating in consequences.
Early in the story, Sarah gets put in isolation in an attic and Tom decides that enough is enough. He hatches a plan with his friends to daringly rescue Sarah and escape Weatherly Orphanage using secret passages below the building. So many things go wrong, and the escape is a narrow one! All of the orphans were in on the plan and created a huge distraction so that they could have a better chance of getting out of there, and consequently none of the kids were punished too severely for their part in the escape because their hard work was needed for the business.
A detective is hired to find Tom and Sarah. After reading some mysterious information in Tom’s file, Detective Gowerstone takes an even greater interest in finding the pair and wants great care taken to bring them in safely.
Tom has recently found out that his parents may actually be alive, and is given the word and clue Britfield but has no idea what it means. Before he is able to do any kind of investigative work of his own, he realizes that the detective is on his trail and knows he has to get clever so that he can truly escape and not be taken back to the orphanage. He wants to expose Weatherly Orphanage to help save his friends, too, and has no time to waste.
Funny enough, Sarah and Tom happen upon a hot air balloon and use it to scale a massive amount of land. They learn how to maneuver it and even blend in at a hot air balloon festival nearby before having to do a quick landing when they run out of fuel.
Throughout their journey, the children are able to find allies to help them to escape, evade the detective, and hopefully find their way to freedom. Right at the end, Detective Gowerstone does catch up with them and reveals the reason why he’s been so hot on their trail for so long. Tom may be HEIR to the throne!
This wild tale is full of adventure and reads a lot like a movie or exciting television show. There are so many twists and turns, and you can’t help but root for Tom and Sarah as they continue on in their journey.
I mostly read this book while waiting for my youngest son to get out of speech class and also right before bed. I know that a preteen or teen could have devoured the novel in one or two nights, but it took me a little bit longer. I like how the book is divided up into readable chunks, even more than just by chapter as you can see in the photo of an excerpt above. As different things are happening with different characters, it’s split up a bit more and makes it a really pleasant, easy read that isn’t heavy or dull at all. There is a lot of action throughout the whole book!
It looks like there will be another adventure to follow this one! It teases at the end of Britfield & the Lost Crown that Sarah and Tom will continue their adventures in a book entitled “Britfield & the Rise of the Lion” which would be book 2. I’m happy to hear that there will be more, and am sure we will purchase it when it is released in the Fall of 2020.
There is a free study guide available if you were wanting to use this as a book club type book for your tweens or teens. You could even use it for turning this book into a rich literature study for your homeschool English requirements.
It is 83 pages long, and the questions cover vocabulary, comprehension, deeper critical thinking questions, character study, in depth looks at parts of the story, research skills, and more.
I think this would be useful in a co-op setting as well. The book could even lead you on a geography or possibly history adventure if you wanted to delve a bit deeper into the setting. Sarah and Tom are on the move for most of the story, and so many locations are mentioned that are perfect for researching and finding out more.
I recommend this book highly. The content was clean and there was no questionable content that I could find. I did notice that there were a few more crude words such as someone calling another person an idiot, but it was necessary to show the true character of the cruel adults in the story and to prove a point about how bad life was at Weatherly Orphanage. I would be very comfortable having my children read this and recommending it to our friends as well.
Many other families had the opportunity to review Britfield & the Lost Crown as well. Click the banner below to see what they thought.