Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.
Reading the FitzOsbornes at War felt like catching up with old friends. Covering the WWII era from 1939 to 1948, this third book in the series is much longer than the other two, over 500 pages, but I never found myself skimming. The series began in the tiny, impoverished kingdom of Montmaray, a fictitious island off the coast of Spain and France, home to a crumbling castle and the dwindling royal family of the FitzOsbornes. Most of the adult FitzOsbornes are mad or dead, but the teenage members of the family cope credibly with the joys and responsibilities of their position. After being bombed by the Nazis, the FitzOsbornes flee to England in the second book, to live with their wealthy but controlling Aunt Charlotte. They are still adjusting to their vastly changed circumstances, having gone from isolation in Montmaray to immersion in the late 1930’s upper class social scene, when the war breaks out in this third book. Defeating Hitler has an added meaning for the FitzOsbornes as they plot to liberate their kingdom from the Nazis
The characters are a large part of the charm of this series. The different ways they step up to the challenges of WWII create a vivid and intimate history of the war. Headstrong, animal-loving Henry (Henrietta) makes friends with wartime evacuees and longs to join the navy, determined and practical Veronica works for the Foreign Office, charismatic Toby, now king of Montmaray, flies fighter planes in the RAF, and Sophie, the very appealing narrator of the books, edits rationing pamphlets at the Ministry of Food. Historical characters make appearances both off and on stage, adding interest without overwhelming story. These include several of the fascinating Mitford sisters, JFK’s lively sister Kick, feisty Princess Margaret who is mentioned as a rival of Henry’s, and of course Winston Churchill.