Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Britfield & the Lost Crown (A Homeschool Coffee Break Book Review)

Britfield & the Lost Crown (A Homeschool Coffee Break Book Review) on

Since my youngest student graduated, I'm not really in need of curriculum any more, but I'm always on the lookout for good books! Even good books that are really for younger readers. So the Homeschool Review Crew indulged me with an opportunity to review the novel Britfield & the Lost Crown by C.R. Stewart. 

Britfield & the Lost Crown (A Homeschool Coffee Break Book Review) on

Author C.R. Stewart has been writing fiction, non-fiction, and screenplays for over twenty years. He is also a producer, consultant, and speaker; and he's a creativity specialist and avid supporter of education and the arts. Stewart's novel for middle grade through young adult readers is an adventure story but can also serve as a creative introduction to history, geography, architecture, and culture. And it promotes the positive values of friendship, loyalty, and courage.

The idea for the Britfield & the Lost Crown story came from a drawing Stewart had made of a young boy and girl in a hot air balloon. He liked the concepts of exploration, adventure, and freedom as the characters saw their country, made friends, and enjoyed new experiences.

Britfield & the Lost Crown (A Homeschool Coffee Break Book Review) on

What is the story about?  Tom and Sarah are two of the fifty-six children living and working in an orphanage called Weatherly. The orphans have a very hard life, because Mr and Mrs Grevious, who own the orphanage, are cruel and selfish. So are the staff. But the orphans have developed strong and loyal friendships with each other, so when Tom and Sarah face some especially harsh punishment and decide to try escaping the grounds, the others are glad to help. Mr Grevious taunted Tom with information that his parents may still be alive, and while skeptical, Tom believes he needs to take the chance and see if he can find out the truth. The only piece of information he has is a word another orphan was able to copy from Tom's files: Britfield. What does it mean?

Tom and Sarah manage to get out of Weatherly, but the Greviouses have hired the renowned Detective Gowerstone to track them down. So begins an epic chase across England, with Tom and Sarah making a desperate bid for freedom in a hot air balloon, with several very narrow escapes. They crash land at Oxford, where they find a friend and ally in Professor Hainsworth, who accompanies them as they elude Gowerstone and head for London. Another unplanned stop takes them to Windsor Castle, but Gowerstone's forces and local law enforcement soon close them in there as well, and they must make another daring escape.

 Their arrival in London means yet another crash landing, this time in Richmond. And with Gowerstone's men and so many other policemen in close pursuit, it feels like their luck may soon run out. Next stop is King's College, where Hainsworth believes a friend can help them get to the bottom of the Britfield mystery. The chase then continues into the heart of London, and finally to Canterbury while Tom puts together the pieces of information gathered to try and discover the truth about his past.

Will they continue to stay ahead of the people pursuing them and find safety? Will they be able to send help for the orphans still at Weatherly? What does Tom find out about his background and his family? There is a happy ending to this book, but it's also a bit of a cliffhanger because there are four more novels still to come in the series!

Britfield & the Lost Crown (A Homeschool Coffee Break Book Review) on

With all the history and culture and geography touched on in this book, it's expected that young readers will be curious and want to know more. In fact, that's the hope Stewart had in writing the series. So there's also a study guide available to go with the book - perfect for homeschool families who may want to use the book to spark further study. We didn't use the study guide, but I was curious and had a look through it.

Britfield & the Lost Crown (A Homeschool Coffee Break Book Review) on

The 8-week Study Guide is an 83 page pdf resource made available for free to teachers and homeschoolers. There are vocabulary quizzes, comprehension questions, discussion questions, and research suggestions to accompany the book. Students are encouraged to learn more about the authors mentioned in the story, expand their vocabulary, think about how they would have responded to the various crises in the story, delve into history, and explore maps and geography. There is also a section for literary study, going over concepts like plot, characters, and themes.  Overall, this study guide is a fun way to take advantage of an interesting story to aid learning and imagination. 

Britfield & the Lost Crown (A Homeschool Coffee Break Book Review) on

Britfield & the Lost Crown (A Homeschool Coffee Break Book Review) on

Britfield & the Lost Crown (A Homeschool Coffee Break Book Review) on

What we liked best:
  • fast paced story that appeals to readers of all ages, and to both boys and girls.
  • for the most part, the factoids and teaching moments sprinkled throughout are seamlessly woven into the story.
What I need to mention:
  • I noticed a number of places where the descriptive words didn't seem quite right somehow. For instance, someone shrieking while being described as 'crestfallen' or glaring while they are panic-stricken. Those descriptors don't work together. There are phrases that are just plain awkward. None were so bad as to ruin my enjoyment of the story, but they stood out in contrast to the smoother flow of the majority of the writing.
Our bottom line: Britfield & the Lost Crown is an exciting blend of history and imagination, fantasy and facts. I think it has very broad appeal, as I enjoyed it, and when my 18-year-old daughter started it, she was quickly drawn in. And of course, I think it would be perfect for the middle school age group that is the primary target audience. It has something for everyone, with positive family-friendly themes and honorable protagonists. 

Britfield & the Lost Crown (A Homeschool Coffee Break Book Review) on

Would you like to explore the world of Britfield? Here's what you need to know:

Visit the website:

Pricing: The 394-page softcover book we received is available for $16.99. Other formats available are the 394-page hardcover for $24.99, the audiobook for $17.46, and the e-Book for $9.99. Visit the Britfield store page for more information.

Age recommendations:  Intended audience would be middle grades through young adult, but is suitable for all ages. 

You can follow Britfield on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog for more information and to read other reviews.

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