You guys, you should totally read these books
. Like, stop what you're doing and read them right now.*
I have stepliana
to thank for introducing me them, and oh my god, I started reading them the first week I was at work and I was so busy, I had no time to read but I kept reading them on my breaks and whenever I could find a free minute, and in the end, I pretty much mainlined them on a Saturday.
The first book, A Brief History of Montmaray
, introduces us to the FitzOsbornes, the royal family of the tiny (fictional) kingdom of Montmaray, located off the coast of Spain. Sophie FitzOsborne is a princess of Montmaray, and the narrator, recording the daily goings-on in the kingdom in a journal her brother Toby (heir to the throne), off at school in England, has sent her for her birthday. She lives in a crumbling castle with her intellectual cousin Veronica, her younger sister, the tomboy Henry, and her uncle, the mad King John. Also on the island are the few remaining villagers and Rebecca, the family's housekeeper. Rebecca's son Simon, Veronica's nemesis and Sophie's secret crush, is also in England, but visits Montmaray from time to time. The princesses spend their days trying to keep the castle from falling down around their ears, and tending to the animals on the island. It's relatively uneventful, until one day, Nazis arrive on the island, and nothing is ever the same again on Montmaray.
The second book, The FitzOsbornes in Exile
, follows the family's adventures in England, in the late 1930s, with World War II looming. And the third book in the trilogy, The FitzOsbornes at War
is soon to be published, and it can't happen soon enough for me.
These books are wonderfully written, full of fantastic characters. I love the marvelous FitzOsborne family - carefree Toby, tomboy Henry, brilliant Veronica, the mysterious Simon, and Sophie, "Machiavelli disguised as a debutante." I love how smart and resourceful they are - especially the girls. I love the humor and emotion in these books - I kept finding myself giggling, or welling up at unexpected moments. They're the best kind of historical fiction too - there's so much going on in the world in the late 1930s, and the FitzOsbornes are right there in the middle of the action, and it's heartwrenching
because you know where their world is headed, and what kind of troubles are ahead for the FitzOsbornes and their friends.
The FitzOsbornes are my new favorite fictional family, right up there next to my beloved Pevensies. If you liked I Capture the Castle
, or if you like historical fiction, or if you just can't get enough of strong, witty, smart, strong, multi-faceted characters, you will love these books
and reread them again and again, like me
*because you will love them as much as I do and you'll want to write fic for them and then I can request it for Yuletide, and muahahaha, my cunning plan, revealed!