Title: Britfield & The Lost Crown
Author: C R Stewart
Genre: Adventure (Middle Grade)
Length: 386 pages
About the Book:
Tom has spent most of his life locked behind the cruel walls of Weatherly Orphanage, but when he learns that his parents might still be alive, Tom knows he must do what he can to find them. He can’t leave Weatherly without his best friend Sarah, so armed with a single clue to his past, the word Britfield, the two make a daring escape by commandeering a hot air balloon. Now they’re on the run from a famous Scotland Yard detective and what looks like half the police officers in England. Tom and Sarah’s journey takes them from Oxford University to Windsor Castle, through London, and finally to Canterbury. Along the way, they discover that Tom may be the true heir to the British throne, but even with the help of two brilliant professors, it looks like Tom and Sarah will be captured and sent back to the orphanage before they have a chance to solve Tom’s Royal mystery.
Britfield was a fantastic adventure, jam-packed with the perfect amount of adventure and suspense to keep the pages turning. One of the markets in dire need of more content is fiction for advanced middle grade. The targeted audience is 9-12 year olds, but coming in at just shy of 400 pages (as book 1 in a series) and with quite the sprinkling of more advanced vocabulary–it’s one that would a appeal to the more avid of young readers. As someone who highly values parents reading to their kids though, I would also recommend it as a great story to read together at bedtime.
Although mixed between causing mischief and protecting one another, the theme of friendship was a strong driving force to this adventure. Even in the face of imminent danger, the characters were willing to face their fears and cause diversions to help one another. I appreciated seeing this level of selflessness and heroism in such a positive light.
I appreciated that this book encouraged an excitement for literacy, but I thought that the selected literature and authors discussed would be over the heads of young readers. With exception to a single Narnia book, the other references were all adult classics. Charlotte and Emily Brontë, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens–although truly classical authors, I’m not sure kids would really comprehend or follow the level of appreciation this book gives to them.
Overall this was an enjoyable read and one I’d easily recommend as a great find for advanced middle grade readers. I look forward to seeing how the author continues with the next book in the series, currently set to release in 2020.
*I received a copy of this book through FrontGate Media. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.
Content Warnings: There were a few references to adult drinking and one mention of lighting a cigarette.