Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Brief History of Montmaray (The Montmaray Journals #1) by Michelle Cooper

Publishing Details

Release Date: October 13th, 2009
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 4 Stars

Buy: Amazon|Barnes & Nobles


“There’s a fine line between gossip and history, when one is talking about kings.”
Sophie FitzOsborne lives in a crumbling castle in the tiny island kingdom of Montmaray with her eccentric and impoverished royal family. When she receives a journal for her sixteenth birthday, Sophie decides to chronicle day-to-day life on the island. But this is 1936, and the news that trickles in from the mainland reveals a world on the brink of war. The politics of Europe seem far away from their remote island—until two German officers land a boat on Montmaray. And then suddenly politics become very personal indeed.

A Brief History of Montmaray is a heart-stopping tale of loyalty, love, and loss, and of fighting to hold on to home when the world is exploding all around you.


A Brief History of Montmaray is a lovely, romantic story with a fantastical setting and a spectacular array of characters. What I liked most about this book was the fact that the novel’s heroine, Sophie, is not particularly pretty, athletic, nor bookish, but still manages to be a kick-butt girl with a lot of wit and humor. She demonstrates to us that, it is, in fact, okay to wear dresses and be a strong, feministic woman at the same time. The history is rich and subtly weaved into every inch of the novel, and the characters especially are really thorough and lovable in their own way (even Mad Uncle John, who likes to throw around his chamber pot). Like I said, Sophie is extremely funny (I’m seriously considering her as my new fictional BFF) and her writing touches on a lot of heavy topics in a very relatable way, including things like war, sex, and even homosexuality. I think the biggest reason I enjoyed A Brief History of Montmaray is that Sophie doesn’t end up slobbering over a tan, muscular, Very Hot Guy in the first 10 pages. And, for cereal, guys, this isn’t just historical fiction: Sophie’s struggles are very relevant to contemporary readers, especially girls, and there are even a few paranormal/fantasy elements going on in here. My only complaint is that I procrasti-read this book, so I forgot a lot of important details as I picked it up and put it down again. (Which is entirely my fault.) Let me tell you that this is not your typical YA book-there’s not a lot of action until the last few pages, there’s little to no romance, etc., etc., but it’s certainly a lot more worthwhile than some I’ve been reading lately. I’m very excited to start the next in the series.  



Great review, great blog! Followed you. <3

~Nightmarish Reviews

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