Review Blog

May 16 2012

The Fitzosbornes at war by Michelle Cooper

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Montmaray Journals, Book 3. Random House, 2012. ISBN 9781742750323.
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. The third and last book in the Montmaray Journals, Sophie continues to write in her journal, this time with accounts of what is happening in Great Britain and particularly London during the devastating Blitz. Life is filled with evading falling bombs, sheltering in bomb basements and dancing in nightclubs with young soldiers. Her brother Toby is in the airforce and Henry decides to join up as well. As the war comes to an end, it may be possible that their beloved Montmaray will be liberated.
This is a wonderful but often heart wrenching conclusion to a fascinating series that should be in every library. It paints an extremely vivid picture of life during World War 2, with all the heartbreak that is associated with war, as well as the joy of falling in love. The journal recounts actual historical happenings during the war, as well as giving a fictional and emotional look at what is happening. Cooper gives an insight into her sources at the end of the book, and readers who enjoyed reading about women's experiences during war time will be able to follow their interest with some non fiction books.
Sophie's experiences, as well as her voice in her journal, are much more mature in this last volume, as befits an adult woman. The journal spans the years from 1939 to 1948, so the reader follows Sophie's growth from an adolescent to a young woman.
The Fitzosbornes at war was very difficult to put down, and I was sad to see the end of the series. Cooper's superb writing effortlessly gained my attention and held it to the end as I avidly read on to see what would happen to Sophie, Veronica, Henry, Simon and Toby. There was an ultimately very satisfying, if painful conclusion (after all it is wartime and not everyone survives), and I'm very much looking forward to seeing what Cooper writes next.
Pat Pledger

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