Wednesday, December 26, 2012

YA Historical Fiction: The FitzOsbornes at War by Michelle Cooper

Series: Montmaray Journals #3
Publisher: Knopf
Date: October 2012 (US)
Format: ARC
Source: Random Buzzers
Read: because I love the series
Pages: 550
Reading time: three days

From GoodReads: Sophie FitzOsborne and the royal family of Montmaray escaped their remote island home when the Nazis attacked. But as war breaks out in England and around the world, nowhere is safe. Sophie fills her journal with tales of a life during wartime. Blackouts and the Blitz. Dancing in nightclubs with soliders on leave. And endlessly waiting for news of her brother Toby, whose plane was shot down over enemy territory. But even as bombs rain down on London, hope springs up, and love blooms for this most endearing princess. And when the Allies begin to drive their way across Europe, the FitzOsbornes take heart—maybe, just maybe, there will be a way to liberate Montmaray as well.

My review: I didn't like The FitzOsbornes at War quite as much as I did the two previous books, but it was still an informative and enjoyable read. Sophie's voice came off much differently; after all, she is now an adult living through World War II in London, not a naive teenager who's lived as a princess on Montmaray her whole life. There's more of an undercurrent of mature topics (i.e., sexual maturation) as well as darker subject matter as Sophie deals with the death and destruction that strikes her family and the country in which she is staying. I made the mistake of looking at the FitzOsborne family tree in the back of the novel, with the result of learning prematurely and quite shockingly who doesn't make it through the war.

The FitzOsbornes at War was also different in that there seemed to be less of a central plot. Sophie's journal read much more like an actual journal than a novel - there's no real end towards which the story works the entire book, so it seems much more like a realistic account of a young woman just trying to make it through WWII one day at a time. Even without a central plot, though, Sophie's story was engaging, and the pages flew by without leaving the reader impatient. I also noticed less of the political undertone that I loved in the rest of the series, but then this book focused more on the details of home front living than on the politics underlying the war. The great historical information included by Cooper in the series simply changed (quite effectively) to another, related subject.

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