Finished on 29th August, 2014
Author: A Brief History of Montmaray
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“There’s a fine line between gossip and history, when one is talking about kings.”
Sophie FitzOsborne lives in a crumbling castle in the tiny island kingdom of Montmaray with her eccentric and impoverished royal family. When she receives a journal for her sixteenth birthday, Sophie decides to chronicle day-to-day life on the island. But this is 1936, and the news that trickles in from the mainland reveals a world on the brink of war. The politics of Europe seem far away from their remote island—until two German officers land a boat on Montmaray. And then suddenly politics become very personal indeed.
A Brief History of Montmaray is a heart-stopping tale of loyalty, love, and loss, and of fighting to hold on to home when the world is exploding all around you.
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I am honestly ashamed at how long this took me to read. It wasn’t even the fact that I’m a slow reader (because I’m not) – but that I kept putting it off.
A Brief History of Montmaray was recommended to me by one of my best friends who gave it a raving review. While I did end up enjoying the novel, it took me until about halfway to get interested. The problem, I found, was Sophie.
In the beginning, I found her quite annoying, somewhat frustrating and an altogether unrelatable character – particularly with her almost obsessive unrequited love for Simon Chester. To be honest, it was only my friend’s review, my interest in Veronica and my determination to finish that kept me from putting this book down and not picking it back up again. However, my opinion (thankfully) changed and while this is not the greatest book out there, I did end up enjoying it enough to want to read the sequel.
Other Characters of Note
I mentioned beforehand that I loved Veronica – and I did. I always get excited when there’s a bookish character and she was just amazing. Veronica was not only intelligent, but pursued answers and was active in her political views. On top of that, Veronica somehow managed to manage the household affairs. She was without a doubt my favourite character throughout the whole story. I admire her greatly.
I never like Rebecca – not even in the beginning. There’s not much I can say without giving anything away, but as the book progressed I liked her even less – to the point where I even wished her dead. Rebecca annoyed me much worse than Sophie – she was useless, slightly mad, complicated things and just vexed me to no end. I really hope she doesn’t have a part in the next book, simply disappearing into the shadows (and taking Simon with her, ideally).
Henry was… unusual. I did enjoy her antics, and her endeavours to convince everyone that she really was a boy were rather amusing.
Toby was great. He sounds like the perfect brother! I did get slightly frustrated at him near the end, but he was great. He had some hilarious lines that made me laugh.
All in all, A Brief History of Montmaray was an enjoyable read after I got past the approximate half way point and I look forward to reading the sequel. However, I certainly do not believe that it lives up to all those raving reviews.