A Brief History of MontmarayFall 2009 Fiction
Funds are running low, and what little money there is must be used to send the only boy, Toby, to school in England. Sophia would like to go to England to, to be presented by the Princess Royal Aunt Charlotte, but she won't go unless her beautiful and brilliant cousin Veronica goes too; and Veronica is far too interested in writing her history of Montmaray to do anything so frivolous as leave the island to become a debutante. Sophia must content herself with brief glimpses of her secret crush, the housekeeper's son Simon. Meanwhile, disturbing reports keep trickling in of conflict building in Europe, and it is uncertain whether Montmaray will side with Hitler. When two German officers land on Montmaray the resulting series of events, of course, irrevocably changes the island nation's history.
Readers of historical fiction will appreciate the pre-World War Two setting; Cooper evokes the political climate through fierce family debates over the Spanish Civil War and British policy toward Hitler, and renders these issues understandable without lecturing. Readers of romance novels will enjoy Sophia's accounts of the castle intrigues and family entanglements.
This novel, which owes a great deal to Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle, is peopled with entertaining grotesques and narrated in a lively and confiding style.