About Me

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Victoria, Australia
I am an author of Young Adult Fiction books. I worked as a teacher in the Pacific Islands for seven years. Whilst in the Solomon Islands I taught PSSC English before the ethnic tension in 2000 forced a change of plans. I love Pacific literature, art and music. You can find me on Facebook at Beth Montgomery Author.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Five Parts Dead by Tim Pegler

I read this book a year ago and really enjoyed it. It's only on this blog though because it's set on an island off the coast of South Australia.  Otherwise it's a contemporary Young Adult Fiction story. It's about Dan, a teenage boy who recently survived a horror car smash, where three of his friend didn't. Dan is grieving. He is bitter and angry at the world and especially at his family for dragging him to a remote lighhouse, when his foot's all busted up and in plaster. He knows they'll go off exploring and enjoy themselves while he will brood over his loss. But this story isn't all teenage angst.
Five Parts dead (Text, 2010)
    When Dan reads the lighthouse keepers log, he uncovers a tragic secret which has been hidden for over one hundred years. This mystery engrosses him and keeps his mind off the accident. The two plot lines flow along well together. It's not until the end of the book that you discover why Dan is so guilt-ridden.
   Five Parts Dead also has some romance and Dan's love interest is well drawn. She'd have to be my favourite charcter in the book. I think Tim Pegler has done a good job with the characters making them believable and complex. This is a good book for teenagers, and one which young boys can probably enjoy.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Source: B Montgomery
It's been school holiday time here and as a treat I took my family to the Melbourne zoo. Although one daughter loved the reptile house and the other daughter enjoyed seeing the lions, my favourite was the butterfly house. Just stepping through the doors brings you into tropical humidity, right in the middle of our bleak Victorian winter. We stayed in there for about fifteen minutes, taking photos and simply relaxing. (The zoo is hard on your feet-all that walking) Some of the butterflies were huge. They reminded me of the two types we often saw in the Solomons: the giant electric blue butterfly just like the Australian Ullysses, and an equally large brown and green butterfly.
I hope there are plenty of butterflies flitting around the school grounds in the Solomons now as the students get back into semester two. Good luck with your studies and all the best for form 3, SISC and PSSC exams.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper

A Brief history of Montmaray (Random House, 2008)
 When I first picked up this novel I knew nothing more than it was a YAF book that had sold well recently. I was delighted to find it was actually about an island, a fictitious one in the Bay of Biscay, off the coast of Spain. The story is set in 1936-37. Snippets of conversation refer to the Spanish Civil War and the rise of both facism and communisim throughout Europe.
   The story is about a royal family, very minor and now almost destitute, who cling to their island home despite the fact most of their subjects have settled in England. Sophie FitzOsborne is the central character and she writes her diary with wit and attention to detail. Her cousin Veronica is a formidable young woman who spends most of her time reading through history books; that's where the title comes from.
   The setting is bleak and isolated but the FitzOsborne girls love their island home and don't want to leave it. When circumstances force them to rethink their plans the story evolves into a gripping battle to survive the elements and the enemy.
   Although this is a historical novel I think the author has struck a good balance between creating an authentic past and maintaining a modern pace. I thoroughly enjoyed this book but with so much emphasis on women and girls, young men might not enjoy it so much. A Brief History of Montmaray won the 2009 Ethel Turner Prize for Young People's Literature.