Monday, April 18, 2011

review: A brief history of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper

pub date: October 13, 2009
publisher: Knopf books for Young Readers
pages: 304
source: Library audiobook
appeals: historical fiction, WWII, family, journal fomat, politics
content: clean

I really enjoyed this book. Sophie is so humorous and honest and likable. I actually listened to it, and the reader added a lot to Sophie and her family and made the book that much more enjoyable.

There is so much sudtle humor in this book. I was laughing through it all, even through the sadness. It wasn't even that Sophie meant to be funny, it was the way she told of experiences and her observations of those around her that made me laugh so much. Her sister Henry was quite hilarious. I really enjoyed Cooper's characters. 

I loved the setting of Montmaray. Sophie writes so honestly of the dire straights of the small kingdom, and also gives a brief history (which is also quite humorous in the telling) of what Montmaray once was.

The cover to the left is is the European paperback cover. I think it very appealing. Sadly, the US ones aren't so much. The hardcover is rather boring, as shown by the picture to the right. A castle on a rock? I like it now that I've read the book, but as a first glimpse of the book, it looks kind of boring. The US paperback is slightly better. I also think the title is a little off putting. A brief history? I think the title appeals to a very small audience, though feel free to disagree. And this makes me sad because I enjoyed the book so much. I want everyone to read it. I just wish it had better packaging.

‘I need to write down what has just happened. I need to set down the truth. If I write lies or if I write nothing at all, this journal is worthless. I must do this, in case anything happens. All right. This is what happened tonight, every single terrible thing that I can remember . . .’

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 journal for her sixteenth birthday, she decides to write about her life on the island. But it is 1936 and bigger events are on the horizon. Is everything Sophie knows and loves about the change?

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

No comments: