By Mackenzi Lee
Genre: Historical Fiction, LGBTQ, YA, Romance
Pages: 513 (Hardcover edition)
Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.
But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.
Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.
My Favourite Points:
Two things really stood out for me in this book: the quality of the writing and Monty.
This book was very well written. The drama was there as well as humour and intriguing plot points.
As for the characters themselves, I found them to be quite unique and they even managed to develop over the pages. Although I’d have wanted for Monty to grasp things more quickly and change more than what he did, but it was simply realistic so I can’t really talk against that aspect.
The plot was fun and interesting, though it sometimes lacked realism or high stakes.
My favourite character was Felicity (hands down!). She’s strong, independent, determined and impressive in her own way. She’s pursuing medecine in her free time despite what her father and society think of a woman having a passion (or the wits!) for it. I can’t wait for the sequel, which is all about Felicity!
My Lesser Points:
However, Monty didn’t sit well with me. At all. He’s such an idiot from beginning to end. Yes, okay, at the end he’s a bit more open-minded and kind, but since the characters were done realistically, people will often come back to behaving just like they used to so with very few differences… He’s arrogant and careless and doesn’t even put himself in Percy’s shoes for… EVERYTHING. It’s always others’ fault and he’s so oblivious. I know he has a hard past, but he’s really just blind or plain stupid. Either way, I don’t like him. It’s his personality I dislike. Reading this book wasn’t a lot of fun because he was in it, see? I don’t even know why I finished it. Probably because Felicity is awesome and Percy is so cute. But Monty? Thank God the sequel isn’t about him!
But not everything is lost for there’s a special treat in this book: interracial homosexual love. Like, why don’t we see this more often? In all possible combinations: interracial love, homosexual love, and interracial homosexual love. It’s cruelly missing and this book gives it to us.
Lastly, the realism surrounding epilepsy and madhouses is heart-wrenching. But well done!
Oh, I forgot: it’s set in 18th century, so that’s pretty great.
All in all, the book and story themselves weren’t bad, but Monty ruined it for me. I hated picking up the book and having to read HIS point of view. If it had been Percy’s, now, that would have been perfect and sweet, I’m sure of it. I guess it’s 4 disappointing stars for this one. I can’t rate it less than 4 because a character didn’t sit well with me, right? Let’s say I’m judging the overall product as a 4 stars.