This book was great fun! It had adventure and romance and pirates! Before I really get into my adoration, I’ll give you a quick synopsis. The book follows Henry Montague, known as Monty to most, on his Grand Tour of Europe, along with his best friend Percy and his little sister Felicity. Monty is a bit of a troublemaker. He’s been expelled from boarding schools, and he’s a huge disappointment to his father. He’s also hopelessly in love with Percy, who has his own social struggles as a man of color in Victorian England. Monty is hopeful that this Tour will serve as one last hurrah with Percy before Percy goes to law school and Monty’s father expects him to take over the family estate. However, things go awry when Monty makes an impulsive decision that puts all their lives at risk.
Trigger warnings: physical abuse descriptions, biphobic/homophobic conversation/language, racist language/sentiments
Oh, this book. The story was rather outlandish in many ways, but it was so much fun I couldn’t care. It had all of the adventure novel tropes, which made it wonderful! It was funny and enchanting and totally relatable. Monty, though a bit annoying at times, is more and more understandable as the story goes on, and I really started to feel for him by the end (even though it took me awhile to like him–I kept having to facepalm whenever he made stupid decisions). Percy was a great character as well, and tried to provide Monty with as much grounding as he could–though he also had his own feelings about Monty’s reckless decisions and inability to communicate with him. I would love to read something from his point of view, too. Felicity was one of my favorite characters. While I really dug the romantic tension between Percy and Monty, I was so glad there was also a strong female character here. Felicity is a feminist who just wants to be a doctor, not have to go to some silly finishing school. Though often exasperated by her brother’s antics, and initially unrelenting in her assessment of his sexuality, she’s still a character I came to love very much (and we ARE getting a book from her point of view!)
Lee’s writing style is straightforward and she does a wonderful job writing from Monty’s point of view. While he does make boneheaded decisions, seeing his thought process does in fact help–even if you know his mind is taking him nowhere good. I love that he’s quite the lovable quintessential historical “bad boy”, but he has a good heart and goo dintentions. Lee also did a great job researching the history in the book, and the settings were interesting and compelling, right along with the adventure.
Basically, I just loved this book. From pirates to alchemists, to swoonworthy romance, it was just quite a wonderful read. So wonderful that I’m kind of having trouble writing a more detailed in depth review, because I don’t want to give anything at all away. I’m sure you’ve seen this one around, so if you’re looking for something that’s straight up fun, with some serious moments thrown in, then this book is definitely for you!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
What good historical fiction or adventure novels have you read lately? Let me know in the comments!