by Michelle Cooper
Young Adult Fiction
It’s easy to see why these books are often compared to I Capture the Castle: the impoverished aristocracy, crumbling castle, quirky characters, and first-person narrative work together to create a similar feeling. Of course, this castle and these characters are the independent kingdom of Montmaray, a tiny island off the coast of England. That is, if you can call an insane king, three princesses, a housekeeper, and a handful of elderly villagers a kingdom.
In A Brief History of Montmaray, the FitzOsbornes’ quiet life is shattered by the arrival of German soldiers. Innocent historians or spies looking for a landing strip from which to launch their aerial attacks? No one knows for sure, but it seems best for the FitzOsbornes to keep their distance – something that proves difficult on such a small island.
The sequel, The FitzOsbornes in Exile, finds them a kingdom without a country. The princesses are more interested in finding a way to regain control of Montmaray than making their debut into London society, much to the dismay of their aunt, but as the events leading up to World War II become increasingly dire, they realize that more is at stake than just their island.