Synopses & Reviews
Welcome to the world of the fabulously wealthy in London, 1909,
where dresses and houses are overwhelmingly opulent, social class means everything, and women are taught to be nothing more than wives and mothers. Into this world comes seventeen-year-old Victoria Darling, who wants only to be an artista nearly impossible dream for a girl.
After Vicky poses nude for her illicit art class, she is expelled from her French finishing school. Shamed and scandalized, her parents try to marry her off to the wealthy Edmund Carrick-Humphrey. But Vicky has other things on her mind: her clandestine application to the Royal College of Art; her participation in the suffragette movement; and her growing attraction to a working-class boy who may be her museor may be the love of her life. As the world of debutante balls, corsets, and high society obligations closes in around her, Vicky must figure out: just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dreams?
"A highly atmospheric setting on the invented European island of Montmaray and a memorably eccentric cast prove a standout backdrop for this adventure set in 1936. In personable, smart diary entries, 16-year-old Sophie FitzOsborne unveils her life of aristocratic poverty in a crumbling fortified castle with sharks below the rickety drawbridge, living with her unbalanced uncle the king, tomboy sister Henry, bluestocking cousin Veronica and eerily loyal housekeeper ('It's not my fault I'm a princess [albeit one from an impoverished and inconsequential island kingdom that is miles from anywhere],' Sophie moans). Cooper ably interweaves this fictional dynasty with historical fact, sketching details about the Spanish Civil War and growing Nazi power, the handful of villagers left on the island ('there are now as many Royal Highnesses on the island as there are subjects'), visits from friends from England and Sophie's longed-for debut. When German soldiers arrive, events take a perilous turn, and the revelation of long-hidden family secrets adds additional gothic undertones. Cooper's taut pacing and strong characters make this a powerful historical novel. Ages 12 up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Set in a tiny island kingdom on the eve of World War II, "A Brief History of Montmaray" is a heart-stopping tale of loyalty, love, and loss, and of fighting to hold on to home when the world is exploding all around.
Two beautiful teenage sisters, Phil and Fee Albion, descendents of a long line of stage illusionists, are sent from London to the countryside during World War II, only to discover a hidden college of real magicians who just might help them save England from the Nazis. Filled with adventure, danger, romance, and magic, this is a YA fantasy readers will swoon over.
Opening-night jitters are nothing new for seventeen-year-old Phil and her sister Fee, who come from a centuries-old line of stage illusionists. The girls love to dazzle London audiences, but in the aftermath of the Blitz theyre shipped off to the countryside, away from the bombs and Nazis. Phil, however, wants to fight for her country, and when she stumbles upon a hidden college of real magicians led by the devastatingly handsome Arden, all she wants to do is persuade them to help England win the war. Shell risk anything to give her country a fighting chance, even if it means losing her heart ...or her life.
About the Author
Sharon Biggs Waller grew up around artists and developed a passion for Edwardian history and the Pre-Raphaelites when she moved to England in 2000. She did extensive research on the British suffragettes when she wasnt working as a riding instructor at the Royal Mews in Buckingham Palace and as a freelance magazine writer. Her favorite painting is The Mermaid, by J.W. Waterhouse. She is a dressage rider and trainer and lives on a ten-acre sustainable farm in Northwest Indiana with her British husband, Mark. Visit her at www.sharonbiggswaller.com.