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.
This book completely took me by surprise. I was expecting a cute story that happened to have a twist of a bisexual main male character set in the past but I got so much more than that.
As soon as this story got started I immediately loved Monty! He is exactly the shakeup that the YA world needs! He is a gentleman with a title and land that will be passed down to him from his father but he gets one last year to do as he wishes before he is condemned to this fate. Monty takes his best friend, Percy and his sister, Felicity on a Grand Tour of Europe.
I loved how fresh this story felt. It is set in a historical setting which is really different for YA. I loved jumping into Monty’s world of fashion with too many buttons and petticoats and savoring the way things were done in that time period. I loved how Monty tried to defy all social norms in order to have himself a raunchy good time. I also really loved Percy because he was always there to try so hard to keep Monty in line. Percy had this sophisticated personality with just enough of a spark of fun and mischief. Felicity was a great addition to the gang and I enjoyed her knowledge on medicine and her enthusiasm for an education beyond finishing school.
In the beginning we think we know the characters but over the course of the book we start to see who they really are. Monty has always longed to be accepted and when that never happens he tends to get himself in trouble. He also has a romantic side when it comes to loving Percy and I loved reading the parts where the two of them would come together. I loved that the author pushed the bounds with these two and showed us two men falling for each other in a time when that was illegal and not at all accepted by high society. This makes it hard for everyone in the book to understand their feelings for one another. I feel over the course of this story all three characters had a chance to grow and change. They all went on this Grand Tour wanting something or an escape from something. I rather enjoyed it when the trio would have learning experiences and even when others helped them learn who they can truly be if they just let go of all society norms. We all feel we have to fit into a box and these characters struggle in the book but also find happiness. I enjoyed each hardship and triumph.
Overall, I really loved so much about this novel that I feel my review doesn’t even being to describe the number of times Monty made me laugh, the number of growths in this book, the romance, the adventure, the medical knowledge, the idea that women should be able to learn what men of that time learned, the idea of loving whoever you want even if you are misplaced in society for it, and learning that you have to do what is right for you even if others do not agree with you. This was just so fresh, heartfelt, romantic and raw.