The Compulsive Reader: The FitzOsbornes in Exile by Michelle Cooper

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The FitzOsbornes in Exile by Michelle Cooper

Sophie FitzOsborne and her family are forced to leave their island kingdom of Montmaray, the only home they've ever known, when the Nazis attack. Now living with their Aunt Charlotte in England, Sophie, Veronica, Toby, and Henry must adjust to a life that is the complete opposite of what they're used to. Henry is expected to act like girl, Veronica is expected to stay away from politics and snag a husband, and Toby—their king—is expected to finish school. Sophie, meanwhile, isn't sure of what she's supposed to do, but desperately wants to enlist help on getting Montmaray back from the Nazis. But getting anyone to pay attention to the FitzOsbornes—from the English government to the League of Nations—will turn out to be the greatest challenge yet. Who cares about a tiny island kingdom when the entire world is on the brink of war?

The FitzOsbornes in Exile has the same eccentric and lovable characters and humorous narrative as its prequel, but it is a bit more serious than A Brief History of Montmaray. Sophie and her family now know the danger of politics and the evil that the Germans are capable of, even before the rest of Europe fully realizes it. But that doesn't deter them from their goals, or cause them to lose their sense of humor. Sophie's account of their time spent in England, stretched out over two years in this deliciously thick book, is full of witty observations and social misadventures as well as more serious matters. Veronica is politically active, which gains her a reputation, enemies, and an assassination attempt. Toby is unwilling to study and learn what it takes to be a good king. The FitzOsbornes must figure out what they need to do with Simon, and Henry tests her governesses (and Aunt Charlotte) to their limits. There is also a great deal of politics in the novel, which may be a little confusing at first to the reader without any knowledge of the causes of World War II, but Cooper handles it well and keeps the confusion to a minimum while doing an excellent job at educating her readers about the political tensions in Europe, the Spanish Civil War, and other important events. For those readers who enjoyed the action of the prequel, there are a few good heart-pounding moments throughout the book, and a tense, dangerous, but ultimately triumphant ending. Cooper leaves the characters at a good place, but will have readers begging for the inevitable sequel. The FitzOsbornes in Exile is a quirky, charming, insightful, and poignant book, and Sophie is a smart, plucky heroine whose coming-of-age is a delight to read about.

Cover Comments: I just love the contrast of the pale colors with the red of the model's sash and lips. The title font is fabulous as well! To me, this cover conveys the model's apparent boredom well, which gives another meaning to the word "exile" in the title. Splendid cover!

The FitzOsbornes in Exile will be available on April 5th, 2011!

If you haven't read A Brief History of Montmaray, you can snag a hardcover copy here for only $6!


Classic Maiden said...

Great review! Thank you for introducing this one to me. Will definitely be reading soon and its prequel :).


Christina T said...

This sounds really good. I had an ARC for A Brief History of Montmaray but I never got around to reading it. The story reminded me of I Capture the Castle. Nice review! I may have to give this series another try. This book definitely sounds more interesting to me than the first one.

The Compulsive Reader said...

A Brief History of Montmaray is an excellent book, it has a little more action than this one. Both are excellent, and it's the narrative that I really fell in love with!