Princess Sophie FitzOsborne lives on the fictional island of Montmaray. She and her family are royalty, impoverished royalty, holding tight to a crumbling castle and way of life as the events of 1936 swirl around them. On her sixteenth birthday Sophie receives a journal in which she begins to chronicle the daily routine on Montmaray. Along with older brother Toby, younger tomboy sister Henry, and her cousin Veronica, Sophie’s world is limited to their island state. The real world crashes on their shore as two German soldiers arrive on Montmaray, marking an end to their solitude and boredom.
Michelle Cooper has given us a sparkling heroine in Sophie. The antics of the FitzOsborne clan had me enchanted. Reminiscent of the works of Daphne DuMaurier and Dodie Smith, A Brief History of Montmaray is an instant classic.
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The author of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series finds a new animal muse in The Scorpio Races. Building on the Celtic myth of the water horse, Stiefvater’s capaill usice are fearsome, flesh-eating horses. Each November the Scorpio Races are held on the small, fictional island of Thisby. The capaill uisce emerge from the sea, stinking of seaweed and decay and hungry for blood. Foolishly brave riders attempt to tame and race the legendary horses. Local girl Puck Connelly has joined this year’s race in an attempt to win enough money to save her family home. Sean Kendrick follows in his father’s footsteps by winning the Scorpio Races several times. This year he races for a chance to buy Corr, his capall uisce, from his employer. Fame, money, pride, and maybe even freedom are at stake this year.
The Scorpio Races is an enthralling story that weaves elements of legend with real-life struggles to overcome poverty and position. The starkly beautiful landscape, the siren’s song of the ocean, and the majestic beauty and brutality of the capaill uisce are gorgeously intertwined with the story of Puck and Sean. Sprinkle in a hint of romance and enjoy!
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