A Brief History of Montmaray

A Brief History of Montmaray

eBook - 2009
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On her sixteenth birthday in 1936, Sophia begins a diary of life in a fictional island country off the coast of Spain, where she is among the last descendants of an impoverished royal family trying to hold their nation together on the eve of the second World War.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, [2009]
ISBN: 9780375893599
Characteristics: 1 online resource (296 p.)


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Chapel_Hill_MarthaW Feb 11, 2015

This book is so, so charming. I'd recommend it as a readalike for anyone who (like me!) loves Dodie Smith's classic "I Capture the Castle." It's the journal in 1936 of Sophie FitzOsborne, a princess who lives on the (fictional) island nation of Montmaray with her cousin, Veronica, her brother, Toby, her sister, Henrietta, the son of the housekeeper, Simon, and the mad king, Sophie's Uncle John. The period details are pitch-perfect and Cooper balances humor and heaviness deftly. The characters are so wonderful, and when you finish the last page you'll be ecstatic to learn it's the first in a trilogy. (By the way, the two sequels are even better.)

Jun 15, 2014

LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! Awesome characters and the first book of a trilogy. If you have read "I Capture the Castle" you will like this...

May 27, 2014

A Brief History of Montmaray is historical fiction coming-of-age done with nuance, honesty, and a healthy dose of awesome.

I'm not a huge fan of the 1930's, or WWII history, so I wasn't totally sold on the premise. But the book centered on a clutch of delightfully real characters and by the time war appeared in the novel I was already hooked.

This book is thrilling, after a certain point, and has a bit of everything- humor, romance, intrigue, and more.

Fans of I Capture the Castle and similar crumbling dynasty stories will really like this, as will fans of 1930's historical fiction, and coming-of-age stories. I recommend it for everyone, really. Especially if you can get it on audiobook- Emma Bering does the accents beautifully, and I swear her voice (as Sophie's) gets more mature as she goes on, reflecting the passage of time and trauma.

Rather_be_reading Jun 17, 2013

Great historical fiction, great fictional diary, great adventure-- all-round great! If you liked "I Capture the Castle" you'll like this (and vice versa). And the best part is it's the first of a trilogy!

martins_mom Jul 11, 2011

If you like to read historical fiction, there is lots of history and lots of fiction in this story of a nonexistent island monarchy off the coast of Spain and its young royals. And watch for the sequel, FitzOsbornes in Exile, which takes place in England in the years immediately before the outbreak of World War II.

Apr 13, 2011

about half way through teh book, and have to say is pretty boring but it got good reviewsso i'm hopping for the best hah

Sep 14, 2010

Extremely slow start, but the plot becomes more and more intriguing near the end. Unfortunately, it was more than halfway through the book before anything of interest to the reader happened. I had to force myself to read through the first half, but for the second half I had to force myself to put the book down.

Feb 03, 2010

Set in 1936 and written in the style of a journal, it was immediately obvious why this book has drawn comparisons to Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle: the voice of the 16-year-old narrator, Sophie. She lives in a castle - a fortified house, excuse me - on a small island in the Bay of Biscay, off the coast of France. Montmaray is an island nation with only a handful of people left on it besides Sophie and her uncle, the mad King John of Montmaray. They have fallen on financial hard times and things are about to get even more difficult with the arrival of some Nazi Germans. Highly recommended for Grade 7 through to adult.

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Jun 12, 2015

beccasreads thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Jun 15, 2014

supernena thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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Sophie FitzOsborne begins writing in her journal in October 1936. Sophie’s uncle John is the King of the small island kingdom of Montmaray, which makes her Princess Sophie. But her living conditions are far from royal. Her uncle, King John has been deranged since his wife left him years ago, their castle is falling apart, and most of the villagers have gone to live elsewhere. She plans to go to London with her favorite cousin Veronica so they can attend grand parties and meet dashing young men. Unfortunately, her cousin refuses to leave the island and the book she’s writing about the Kingdom of Montmaray. Sophie spends her time trying to convince Veronica of the splendors of London, keeping her younger sister from getting into trouble, and dreaming about their housekeeper’s handsome son. Sophie’s life seems like it will continue as it always has, but everything changes when Nazis come to the island and the FitzOsborne’s must face old secrets and new dangers.

Grades 7+

296 pages


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Jun 15, 2014

“There’s a fine line between gossip and history, when one is talking about kings.”


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