Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



A Brief History of Montmaray

A Brief History of Montmaray

Fall 2009 Fiction
Ages: 12 & Up
ISBN: 978-0-375-85864-2
Hardcover Price: $16.99
Review:
Unfortunately, it's not as glamorous as it sounds; the only people who live on the island are Sophia's extended royal family, headed by her insane uncle King John, and the hostile housekeeper's family.

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.

Naomi Lesley   ©2009 Parents' Choice
Naomi Lesley taught middle and high school English for six years. She is currently in a doctoral program at the George Washington University, focusing on American young adult literature.


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