Category Archives: Cooper;Michelle

Book Review : The FitzOsbornes at War

Title : The FitzOsbornes at War

Author : Michelle CooperThe FitzOsbornes at War (The Montmaray Journals, #3)

Publication Date : October 9th, 2012
Pages : 560
Stand Alone or Series : #3 in the Montmaray Chronicles
Red Flags : Some sexual situations, violence (appropriate for older adolescents)
Three Words : historical, character study, journal

******WARNING! This review contains unavoidable spoilers for the first two books in the series.

Summary : Sophie FitzOsborne and the rest of her family have escaped from Nazis who occupied their beloved island county Montmaray. (Book #1) They have lived in England in exile dealing with the coming war and trying to get their country back (Book #2). Now it is finally war time and Sophie journals about her life during wartime. They are dealing with the non-stop bombing of London, working jobs for the government, and rationing. Sophie dances in nightclubs with soldiers on leave, manages her relatives and waits for news of her brother, who is a fighter pilot in the RAF. When news does come, it isn’t good. Toby’s plane has been shot down in enemy territory and nobody knows where is dead or alive. Will Toby come home? Will Sophie find love? What will happen to Montmaray?

My Take : OMG you guys…..this is one of the best books I’ve read in a LONG time. I actually cried during one pivotal part (I haven’t done that since Bk. 7 of Harry Potter and before that Where the Red Fern Grows – don’t even think about reading that if you love dogs and don’t want to do the “ugly cry” – but I digress). Michelle Cooper does a really masterful job of transporting you to wartime London. She weaves both historical details with a fantastic amount of character development and introspection. The realities of living during this horrendous are brought closer to you because she infuses with realistic touches – what are they eating, dealing with rationing…the mundane details of life that still have to go one even though shit is crazy. I did that thing when I finished this book where I just gave a little sigh because : 1) it was so good and wrapped up everything really well but not in a  too good to be true way and 2) now I’ve finished it  and I’m just a little sad.  This was absolutely my favorite of the three and I can’t recommend this enough. I feel like shouting BRAVA Michelle Cooper….well done indeed. I give this…..wait for it…..10 SHOES!@!!!!!!! It’s happened – I loved it that much. This book is a pair of leopard Loubotin heels – the perfect shoe. Do yourself a favor – read this series!

Trina

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A Brief History of Montmaray or Aren’t you missing Downton Abbey? Aren’t YOU??

I am missing the Downton…BIG TIME. Aaah the intrigue, the gossip, the manners, the clothes, the biting sarcasm from delightful Maggie Smith. I love it! If you haven’t watched Downton Abbey, you are sincerely missing out. I know, I know, it sounds all boring and lame and “geez Trina it’s on PBS so that totally means its education or something” but truly it is such a GOOD show. Have I convinced you yet?

What does this have to do with “A Brief History of Montmaray” you may ask? Well this awesome YA trilogy (not dystopian though 😉 ) completely reminds me of it. No, it doesn’t share the same setting or same type of characters but it just has the same delicious feel.  Let me share :

Title : A Brief History of Montmaray (Bk 1 in Montmaray Journals series)

Author : Michelle Cooper

Three Words : epistolary, royal wartime, YA

Red Flags: Some violence

So Sophie FitzOsborne (I know – the name alone got me hooked) is a shy, smart sixteen year old living in a decrepit castle on the tiny island nation of Montmaray. (And before you start to feel like “God I must be so stupid at geography because I have never heard of this place” it is fictional) She receives a journal for her birthday and decides to chronicle her everyday life with the remains of her eccentric royal family. We’ve got the insane (literally) king John who mostly stays in his bedroom except occassionally to throw things at people, his daughter Veronica (Sophie’s cousin who is keeping the family afloat), the housekeeper (who only has eyes for John), Toby (Sophie’s older brother – next in line to the throne, charming with zero responsibility but a wonderful heart) and Henry (Sophie’s little sister – who is opposed to dresses, baths or anything girly) and of course, the housekeeper’s son (whom Sophie has a HUGE crush on but who may or may not be messing around elsewhere ). The year is 1936 so including the day to day craziness of their world, stuff is going down in Europe with that Hitler character. We get to meet her family and suffer along with them while they are struggling to make ends meet and keep everything together but they are still delightfully nice and cheery people. THEN a boat lands on their shores and it is carrying some Germans and things really go to hell then.

I loved this book!! So many things make it awesome but I’ll just tell you a few. One, I could not be sicker of the heroine of every book being all I’m ugly but really she is a stunning beauty with fierce intelligence, a kind heart etc…. People are not really that amazing! Sophie is attractive, but not a great beauty. She is intelligent but prone to overwhelming shyness. She has lots of great qualities but not ALL of them. Two, I love all the little details about Montmaray. I’m a big fan of epistolary novels and I love learning about Sophie’s home and family from her. She brings it to life so that you can picture the crumbling castle, the craggy island and the family she fiercely loves. Three, the war is portrayed in a realistic manner that a teenager would deal with it i.e. some interest, some worry but not always understanding everything that is going on. Also, I love the little asides about Hitler ” Surely Mr. Hitler would not invade other countries…” that sort of thing. Sure, sometimes everybody around her is a little too awesome and nice. And sometimes things work out a little too good but it’s a fictional book and sometimes I want things to go right! In the end, I give this book nine shoes (damn near perfect) – this is my super favorite pair of pink wedges with the orange stripe . Go read this book!

The second book is just as good so if you like this one keep going. The newest book is coming out any day so I am anxiously awaiting it. Anybody else read this series? What did you think?

Enjoy!

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