Thursday, 15 December 2011

A Brief History of Montmary

A Brief History of Montmary

By Michelle Cooper


It is 1936 and Princess Sophie FitzOsborne of Montmaray is living in Montmaray, an island in the middle of the Bay of Biscay, between France and Spain. She lives a crumbling castle with her sister Princess Henry (Henrietta) who insists she is a boy, with her cousin Princess Veronica and Veronica's mad father, King John the Seventh of Montmaray. Sophie isn't exactly the kind of princess that you might imagine her to be. She washes all of the dishes, mends all of the clothes, visits her subjects and helps them live (e.g, make a meal, wash the bed sheets). Although the FitzOsbornes are a royal family, they no longer have any servants, maids or cooks. They survive on their own. Veronica manages their finances along with her Aunt Charlotte (a rich aunt who lives in England). Sophie manages the household, Henry and her dog Carlos go fishing and watch for boats passing by with hope of sending a letter to her brother (and Sophie's) Toby, who is studying in England with Aunt Char'. They just manage to make it in life and Sophie, who has a crush on Simon, one of Toby's friends, is more than happy to be at Montamaray with her beloved cousin and best friend, Veronica.

This sharing of tasks seems alright -- until Germans invade the island. Sophie and Veronica are both extremely worried. They have no defense, or power. Aunt Char' soon invites the girls, along with Henry, to come and stay with her in England so that they can meet ‘suitable men.’ Sophie quickly agrees, wanting to escape from German-controlled Montmaray, but Veronica insists on staying, refusing to leave her beloved Montmaray.

Yet when bombs drop, Veronica is attacked by a German solider with an ax, King John has a stroke, someone is murdered, German spies rip up everything in Veronica's beloved library, Toby comes back and is almost killed. Everything and everyone that Sophie knows is about to change.

Little does Sophie know, there are even worse things on the horizon, waiting for her.

Montmaray and everything that Sophie loves, including Veronica's friendship towards her might be gone forever...


A Brief History of Montmaray is now officially my favorite book!

I should probably mention that the entire book is written as a journal. But what surprised me most about A Brief History of Montmaray, is that the journal was written SO well, as if it was just the narrator telling us the story. It is unbelievable how well written and described all of the events are. I have read some other journals (that, of course have been made into books) and they now seem very dull compared to this journal. Sophie tells us how everyone looked and seemed at a specific event, and she gives us the answers that we want at the right time in the story. It makes the reader feel more involved with the story.

I love the characters in the story. Henry makes me laugh on end as she is always making unnecessary remarks and observations! Veronica is obsessed with historical facts and she is always spitting them out. I love history and historical books, so Veronica amazes me whenever she talks. King John is someone who makes you think, because he has lost his wife, feels lost in the world and is still in shock from the Great War in which he fought. He makes you think, and reminds you that you are different from other people. And finally, Princess Sophie, our heroine, is the most wonderful character that you could ever read about. She is so full of life, happiness and is brave. Whenever I read about her, I am inspired to become a strong, brave and very intellectual person.

One other bit about the story that made it so interesting is the fact that Montmaray is a made up place. I like that it is made up because we (the readers) don’t already know anything about this place so we can’t judge it based on what we already know about it. We get to read about a new place.  

I especially like the way that the book is written. The author, Michelle Cooper, has a very nice and smooth, that is to say, an easy-to-follow style of writing. It is very enjoyable to read a book that is written as well as this one. 
I look forward to reading more of Cooper's books and hopefully the second Montmaray book (it has just been published)! I hope that it is underneath the Christmas tree, wink, wink!

Recommended to any tween 12-13+

294 pages

P.S.#1 Thanks to Sarah at KidsBooks in Vancouver for recommending this book to me. It was an absolute pleasure to read! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

P.S.#2 Please note that we will be having a guest blogger next week for this year's Tween Bookworm Christmas Surprise! 

1 comment:

  1. Nice review! I hope that one day I can borrow all of these books from you!

    I can't wait to hear/see/read who the guest blogger is!?!?!?!

    Have a very Merry Christmas!