Review Blog

Oct 11 2010

The Montmaray Journals by Michelle Cooper

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A brief history of Montmaray (The Montmaray Journals Book One) Random House Australia, 2010. ISBN 978 1864718874
The FitzOsbournes in exile (The Montmaray Journals Book Two) Random House Australia, 2010. ISBN 978 174166374 7
(Age 13+) These two titles are set between the first and second world wars. Montmaray is a fictional island in the English Channel. The main characters are the FitzOsbornes who rule the small island country. In A brief History of Montmaray we are introduced to Sophie and her sister Henry (called so because of her tomboy tendencies). Her brother Toby is next in line to the throne and has been sent to England so that he can obtain a proper education. At the moment they are guests of their mad Uncle John and his daughter Veronica. Veronica is very intense and is writing a history of the family and the Island. There are many plots within the story including birth rights and invasions from the Germans. Readers are introduced to the delicacies of English society via Aunt Charlotte who is keeping the family financially afloat. This is highlighted more in the second book The FitzOsbournes in exile. The family has been forced to flee their home and live with Aunt Charlotte. She is trying to introduce the older children into 'society' with mixed success.
An interesting series that is more suited to girls as the characters of Sophie and Veronica make excellent character studies.
Suitable for years 9-12, these books would link with Captain Corelli's mandolin or any novel dealing with women's rights.
Stay tuned for The Montmaray Journals: Book Three in the series.
Wendy Rutten
Editor's note: A brief history of Montmaray won the NSW Premier's Award. Another review for it can be found here.
Pat Pledger

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