Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Montmaray Journals by Michelle Cooper

A little while ago I blogged about some books that I was less than impressed with. Books that sucked me in with pretty covers and intriguing "blurbs" but didn't live up to their promise.

Today I'm going to tell you about some books that I absolutely adore!

Sophie FitzOsborne lives in a crumbling castle in the tiny island kingdom of Montmaray, along with her tomboy younger sister Henry, her beautiful, intellectual cousin Veronica, and Veronica's father, the completely mad King John.

When Sophie receives a leather-bound journal for her sixteenth birthday, she decides to write about her day-to-day life on the island. But it is 1936 and the world is in turmoil. Does the arrival of two strangers threaten everything that Sophie holds dear?

From Sophie's charming and lively observations to a nailbiting, unputdownable ending, this is a book to be treasured.

Forced to leave their island kingdom, Sophie FitzOsborne and her eccentric family take shelter in England. Sophie's dreams of making her debut in shimmering ballgowns are finally coming true, but how can she enjoy her new life when they have all lost so much?

Aunt Charlotte is ruthless in her quest to see Sophie and Veronica married off by the end of the Season, Toby is as charming and lazy as ever, Henry is driving her governess to the brink of madness, and the battle of wills between Simon and Veronica continues. Can Sophie keep her family together, when everything seems to be falling apart?

An enticing glimpse into high society, the cut and thrust of politics as nations scramble to avert world war, and the hidden depths of a family in exile, struggling to find their place in the world.

Before Alana's birthday, I wandered the aisles of a large bookstore, poring over the Young Adult section. There, amongst the thousands of black and red covers, (vampires anyone?), I found these two books. Enticing covers - check. Intriguing blurbs - check. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best, noting that a third book was still to come.

I needn't have worried. These books, by Australian author Michelle Cooper, are brilliant!

If you have ever enjoyed historical fiction, you'll love these books. If you appreciate the gentle irony of Jane Austen, then you'll love the voice of our narrator, Sophie. Honestly, some of the passages are so delicious that I found myself reading them out loud to Alana, even though she'd already read them herself!

The author assures me (via her blog) that she is "madly typing" the final chapters of Montmaray Three as we speak. Unfortunately, it won't be out in Australia until next year (so long to wait!).

The first two are out in the US now. Their covers might look a little different, so keep your eyes peeled. I highly recommend these books for both young adult readers and their mothers. In fact, I think any adult reader would enjoy these books.

Love, love, love :)

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