Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper

Cooper, Michelle. A Brief History of Montmaray, 294 pgs. Alfred A. Knopf, 2009. $16.99. Language – G; Violence – PG; Sexual Content – PG. It’s 1936 and Sophia lives in a dilapidated castle on an island off the coast of Spain. Her Uncle John is the king. He wanders around in his bathrobe and is occasionally violent. Rebecca, the superstitious housekeeper, worships the king and does very little beside watch him. Sophia and her cousin Veronica are responsible for the cleaning, cooking, and educating her younger sister Henry. One day two Nazis come to the island. They are looking for the Holy Grail and want to go through the library. Veronica refuses. The Nazis break into the castle during the night and what happens will change the girl’s lives forever. The 1930s details and journal style are reminiscent of Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle. The gothic characters could easily wander into the pages of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca or Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. MS / HS – OPTIONAL. Samantha, Public Librarian.

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