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The FitzOsbornes in Exile

by Cooper, Michelle

Book list Cooper's follow-up to A Brief History of Montmaray (2009) has the surviving members (all five of them) of the fictional kingdom of Montmaray taking refuge in England following the Nazi bombing of their tiny island home. In journal entries that span the tumultuous years from 1937 to 1939, Princess Sophie recounts her aunt's attempts to get her and her cousin, the firebrand Veronica, introduced to society and married off to the richest royalty she can find. But the girls are far more preoccupied by the growing threat of fascism and finding a way to present their minute nation's case to the moribund League of Nations than tea parties and debutante balls. Readers looking for frippery and fluff won't find much in Cooper's thorny, rewarding novel, which cleverly injects the Montmaravian kingdom into a rich historical, political, and ideological context. Though it lacks some of the dramatic tension of the first book, this is still top-shelf historical fiction that offers a glimpse of the conflicts that defined the middle part of the twentieth century from within the prism of high society.--Chipman, Ia. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-At the end of A Brief History of Montmaray (Knopf, 2009), the FitzOsbornes flee their fictional island kingdom after an attack by the Nazis. The young royals are homeless and are taken in by their widowed Aunt Charlotte at her English estate. Although they are relieved to have a roof over their heads and food to fill their stomachs, being "kept" comes with a price. Aunt Charlotte begins training the girls to be proper ladies and find wealthy husbands, while the boys are expected to receive a respectable education and find suitable wives. Aunt Charlotte has her hands full. While Veronica and Sophie comply with being thrust into London Society's Season, they do so reluctantly; Veronica has her eye on getting the word out about the injustices of Nazism, and Sophie's goal is to not look foolish. All of the characters challenge the notions of "proper" behavior while trying to stay under their aunt's scornful radar. They are not always successful, and young Henry's antics are some of the funniest moments in the book. Political activism is a major theme in this story. The author explains, "While Montmaray does not exist, most of the world events described in the novel actually occurred," and she includes a lengthy list of real people who are mentioned in the book. Readers who enjoys good character development and/or historical novels will be drawn in easily.-Wendy Scalfaro, G. Ray Bodley High School, Fulton, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.