EJ and I have spent the last couple of weeks reading Britfield & the Lost Crown a new book by C.R. Stewart. We received this novel, the first in a series in ebook form, to review this summer and it has quickly become a favorite.
I love books and find it fairly easy to choose the ones that I will enjoy. EJ, on the other hand, is not an avid reader and has a tough time getting into a new book. I was pleased to find this was not the case with Britfield & the Lost Crown. No, this was a book he eagerly read (and listened to on our drives after I bought the Audible version for this purpose) and couldn’t wait to finish. He wanted so badly to find out what happened to the kids!
The Story Begins
So what was it that caught the interest of our 12-year-old grandson? Well, the story begins with our two main characters, Tom and Sarah, slaving away in an orphanage. The setting, a medieval castle, was of the creepy variety, perfect to get a young man’s imagination working overtime. And while we begin the story in an old castle, you can tell right away that the book is set in the present (someone is working on a laptop at the orphanage so you can tell before we are told).
The adventure continues as the orphans stage a big protest that allows Tom and Sarah to escape. It is a wild and crazy evening with several moving parts that keep you hopping as our protagonists head out for the city of London. The police are contacted and it soon becomes a race of wits as the two young people work to travel across the country in a stolen hot air balloon to relative safety.
Lots of Help Along the Way
The excitement builds and we found ourselves cheering for the children as they worked to escape Detective Arthur Gowerstone, the “child finding expert” detective who’s been brought in to return them to the orphanage. And they don’t do it alone. Along the way, they find kind souls who help keep them out of the detective’s hands. (I don’t know about you but at this point in the book I became very suspicious of the lead detective and his motives, that’s all I’m going to say.)
A Fun Way to Learn
As Tom and Sarah travel across England their new friends help them learn about the history and culture of the country. In turn, we as readers learn right along with them. I love when a book not only brings enjoyment to the reader but also shares information in an easy to absorb fashion. In fact, you don’t even notice that you are learning.
A nice feature of this book is the accompanying website where kids can go to see pictures of the areas in the book. There are also interactive maps and an adventurers club soon to launch. Yes, this novel is part of a complete package.
Although I was aware of the 83-page study guide, we were having so much fun following Tom and Sarah on the adventure that we didn’t want to stop reading and were at chapter 13 before we remembered we were going to do the pages after every other chapter (that’s how it is set up to get you started). This did make the worksheets a little more difficult since the vocabulary and questions had happened so far back in the book. We decided to do much of it verbally to create discussion around the questions. This was a terrific choice as it allowed EJ to fully express his thoughts about what was going on in the book.
The study guide makes this novel perfect for homeschooling families who are looking for a complete novel study that includes both comprehension and vocabulary. We found it to be a good fit for EJ who is going into seventh grade this fall but it would work with kids who are older and younger as well. It would also work very well for kids of various ages to work together on.
We loved this book! Right from the start, we cheered for the orphans and this didn’t change the more we got to know them. The descriptions are rich and helped pull us right in so we felt as though we were traveling along with Tom and Sarah on their adventure. In one scene they were having tea, Earl Grey to be exact, and EJ said he could almost smell the aroma of his favorite brew. He said he felt like he was sitting right there with the kids and their host.
The further we got into the book the more we learned about the mystery of Tom’s background. Despite this, we also had more questions. For instance, was Tom connected in some way to the royal family? Or perhaps we should ask which royal family. The puzzle deepened as more people became involved.
Now, of course, I don’t want to spoil the story for you (I enjoyed it as much as EJ did and think you will too) but I will say that we are eagerly awaiting the next novel in the World of Britfield. We are fond of mysteries and adventure books so this one was right up our alley. And knowing that it is planned to be a series (complete with movies) makes it that much more attractive to us. Once EJ finds characters and a book that he enjoys, he likes to be able to read more about them.
I like the motivation behind Britfield & the Lost Crown. As I learned from the interview with the author (below) he is focused on helping kids develop their creativity. He also points out that our hero in this book displays many positive family values including courage, character, and sacrifice. Add this to the educational value and you have a terrific book that you will want to share with your child(ren).
After reading, listening, and using the study guide, I can honestly say that Britfield & the Lost Crown is a novel that most middle school students will enjoy. It is also one that you, as a parent, can feel good about sharing with your family. With its educational components and positive values, it is a book that is both enjoyable as well as of value to your homeschool lessons.
This book was a great fit for our family and I’m sure will be for others as well. And don’t just take my word for it. Be sure to click the image below to read what other families had to say.