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Michelle Cooper

Teoksen A Brief History of Montmaray tekijä

6 teosta 1,226 jäsentä 86 arvostelua 2 Favorited

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{First of 3 of Montmaray Journals; fiction, historic fiction, WWII} (2010)

Another book bullet, but I didn't realise that it is the first of a trilogy.

Sophia FitzOsborne, a princess of the royal family of Montmaray, starts a journal which she was given for her sixteenth birthday in October 1936 so each chapter heading is a date. It sounds grand but Montmaray is a rocky, weather-challenged island in the Bay of Biscay which, for those as geographically er... knowledgeable as me, is off the west coast of France. This fictional island was claimed by an earl escaping Henry VIII's wrath and did well from whaling, as a waypoint between France and England and negotiating treaties. In modern times, living there is a struggle and they barely have enough to eat. Most of the male population was lead to their deaths in WWI by the current king, now a broken man who keeps mainly to his room. The other eight inhabitants (three of whom are also part of the royal family) are his daughter Veronica and his nieces Sophia and tomboy Henry as well as their housekeeper Rebecca (who seems to be exceptionally bad at housekeeping) and, in the village, Alice, Mary, elderly George and young Jimmy. Sophia's brother, Toby, and Rebecca's son, Simon, are away in England at school and work respectively.

This was a gentle story, told from the point of a girl on the verge of adulthood and on the eve, more or less, of World War II. Though she is not interested in politics, Veronica and Simon are and so she is not unaware of events in Europe especially since they are connected to European nobility, especially from Spain. And those events - such as the Spanish civil war and the rise of Naziism in Germany - do affect them personally, even though they are isolated, when people come to or leave the island. Although it is Sophia's journal that we read, Veronica is working on writing a history of Montmaray.

Essentially, the island kingdom with its decrepit castle is managed by the three teenaged girls, which is to say Veronica deals with the practicalities while Sophia helps her though they haven't managed to teach Henry how to read. I enjoyed Sophia's narration of their everyday lives with their unusual lifestyle. It was, necessarily, gently paced; when they had to deal with crises (such as finding a room for guests with a bed and a roof that didn't leak or splinting a broken bone), they got on and dealt with them because there was no other option and they were used to doing so. The pace picks up a bit towards the end as the war and its fallout comes closer but I found the whole book very readable.

(April 2022)
3.5 stars
… (lisätietoja)
½
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
humouress | 42 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Nov 9, 2022 |
Review for Entire Trilogy

The title of this trilogy, The Montmaray Journals, refers to the written chronicle in which the protagonist, Sophie FitzOsborne, lets the readers in on her life on the island of Montmaray and her family’s experiences during World War II while residing in London and the family house in the English countryside. Her life differs greatly in all three locations as she and her family must try to cope with being forced out of their homeland and overlooked by the European community when they fight to have their home on Montmaray restored to them. An intriguing narrative that only gets deeper and more emotional as the terrors of the war hit home for all the members of the FitzOsborne family.

Sophie shares her adventures with her older brother, Toby, younger sister, Henry (Henrietta) and cousin, Veronica, all members of the royal family of Montmaray, a tiny island in the middle of the English Channel. Each and every characters is fully and richly developed and when misfortune strikes, they band together as a family to overcome any and all adverse situations. However, no family is immune to loss when it comes to World War II in Europe and the FitzOsbornes are certainly not exempt from overwhelming heartbreak. Their loss felt like my loss, their pain was my pain, as I turned page after page to find out what happened next to the lives of those I came to love.

Michelle Cooper develops a strong and engaging world, believable in its details due to her extensive research (all consulted materials are listed at the back of each of the three books) and the way her fictional characters interact with real people from the era (such as the Kennedy children). All in all, I highly recommend all three books for anyone looking for an intriguing story from the point of view of the young adults whose lives were irreversibly changed when war was declared.
… (lisätietoja)
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
smorton11 | 17 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Oct 29, 2022 |
The title of this trilogy, The Montmaray Journals, refers to the written chronicle in which the protagonist, Sophie FitzOsborne, lets the readers in on her life on the island of Montmaray and her family’s experiences during World War II while residing in London and the family house in the English countryside. Her life differs greatly in all three locations as she and her family must try to cope with being forced out of their homeland and overlooked by the European community when they fight to have their home on Montmaray restored to them. An intriguing narrative that only gets deeper and more emotional as the terrors of the war hit home for all the members of the FitzOsborne family.

Sophie shares her adventures with her older brother, Toby, younger sister, Henry (Henrietta) and cousin, Veronica, all members of the royal family of Montmaray, a tiny island in the middle of the English Channel. Each and every characters is fully and richly developed and when misfortune strikes, they band together as a family to overcome any and all adverse situations. However, no family is immune to loss when it comes to World War II in Europe and the FitzOsbornes are certainly not exempt from overwhelming heartbreak. Their loss felt like my loss, their pain was my pain, as I turned page after page to find out what happened next to the lives of those I came to love.

Michelle Cooper develops a strong and engaging world, believable in its details due to her extensive research (all consulted materials are listed at the back of each of the three books) and the way her fictional characters interact with real people from the era (such as the Kennedy children). All in all, I highly recommend all three books for anyone looking for an intriguing story from the point of view of the young adults whose lives were irreversibly changed when war was declared.
… (lisätietoja)
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
smorton11 | 42 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Oct 29, 2022 |
This book had been sitting on my shelf for a while (well technically on top of the snake tank, but whatever) and I finally got around to reading it. I really enjoyed it and it was a lot more mixed in its themes than I was expecting. The story is emotional and often hilarious but also serious and thought provoking. A great piece of historical fiction with memorable setting and characters.
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
mutantpudding | 42 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Dec 26, 2021 |

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