“We’re not courting trouble,” I say. “Flirting with it, at most.” ― Mackenzi Lee,
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.
Eden: What did you guys think of it?
E: I gave it 4/5.
J: Alright, why?
E: There were points where I was a little bored and I was just being a bit harder on it.
C: I literally said it was one of my favorite books.
E: I really like it. It’s 500 pages, so there were a couple of times when I got a little sidetracked or bored reading it.
J: I had a very different experience with it. I felt like everything was very fast paced. I thought I would have the same issue as you, Eden, because it was so long, but I felt like I didn’t want to stop reading because of the quickness of each scene.
E: I did appreciate that. There was a moment in the end when everything is happening. If this had been a Sarah J. Maas book, we would have been on that island for five chapters whereas in this book I appreciated that our author didn’t describe every single moment was what they were running through. I feel like when you get too bogged down in description I get very tired of it.
C: Imagine if we would have had to read through the boat rides. I love that she skipped over the parts that we did not need to hear. I would have been so bored if she had written every detail of their travels.
E: Essentially like a travel novel.
J: I just think the pacing was perfect. There was never a point where I felt like I was getting too much background or too much information all at once. The information I was given at each point was perfect for each scene and it kept the story moving while still building characters. which is really hard to do. I actually was able to fall in love with the background characters in this story.
E: Speaking of which, I didn’t realize this was a series. I’m hoping that, even though I have done zero research and don’t know the plan for the next book, Felicity is our main character.
C: Well you’re in luck!
J: You guessed it right!
E: That makes me happy. I really liked her.
C: Jenn, tell Eden who you wanted to see more of.
J: I can’t pronounce his name, but I really want a book from the point of view of the pirate captain.
C: Scorpion is what we’ve been calling him.
E: It’s Scipio.
J: There was so much character to him. I would have loved his back story.
E: How did you guys like Monty.
J: I liked him.
C: I liked him a lot.
J: I liked that he had a lot of flaws that weren’t redeemable, but he still grew as a character.
C: I totally agree. All of these characters were so interesting and had their own voices. Every single character was interesting. They could make the next book out of anyone’s point of view and I would read it because this was literally one of my favorite books this year.
E: Yeah, I think Monty’s perspective is great to get into this because he’s just funny. You can appreciate the dialogue because it’s relatable and interesting.
C: I love his sarcasm.
E: Right? There’s a moment when he’s being arrested that I think was amazing because it does an amazing job showing that he’s this sarcastic, aloof dude, but at the same time he has a significant amount of trauma in his life.
C: That was like when I texted you guys at Chapter 27 and I was like, “I didn’t think this book can get any better.” That scene just made me love this book so much.
J: When I picked up the book, I wasn’t sure how easy it was to get into. However, I’m really glad I read it all in one sitting because the pacing of it read so well in one sitting.
E: See, I think that was my issue. If I didn’t have to keep putting it down and picking it back up. I would have easily given it 5/5 stars, but because this was a week long read for me, it was very hard to jump back in after I started reading a bit.
C: The growth in Felicity and Monty’s relationship by the end of the book really impressed me. Honestly, I loved anything to do with Felicity’s story line because she was a woman in a difficult time, which just makes me more excited for the next book.
E: Yeah, see I didn’t even pay attention to the fact that there would be a second book until I updated my Goodreads. I do want to get your guys feelings on Helena because as I was reading the last bit of the book I realized that Helena is Monty. Helena will do anything because she loves her fathers. Yet, I wanted to dislike Helena, but if I dislike her then I have to dislike Monty.
J: I saw them as polar opposites. I felt he did things in spite of his father. He wanted to please him just for his inheritance, but I felt he did it in spite of him. The things he did would do what his father wanted but he would twist it in a way that Monty still felt he won.
E: What I meant by Helena will do anything for her father is that Helena will do anything for the person she loves most in the world because Monty’s doing the exact same thing throughout the book as he is willing to anything to save Percy.
J: See, I didn’t see them as parallel characters at all, but I could see where that came from. I think the thing that drew me in the most was the aspect of gay and queer culture in the book because wrapping your head around the stigma at the time takes a lot of mental effort. I continued to put my own thoughts about our current age in the book and I think that overshadowed other aspects in the book. That may be why I didn’t have as close of a relationship with Felicity and Helena.
C: That was like the epilepsy factor for me. I understood the gay and queer culture stigma of the time, but I continued to question how epilepsy could be viewed in such a ridiculous way. It’s hard to remember that there was a time when they didn’t know anything about this disease, they didn’t know how to fix it. So, I felt the same with that as Jenn did with gay and queer culture.
E: Do you guys feel that the two topics were handled well.
C: And then the women back in the day, there were just so many different issues in this book that were addressed. It was cool to see how we’ve grown and unfortunate to see the similarities of how we’re still struggling with certain issues.
E: I loved the constant talk of struggling to find lodgings. I was not aware that women could be barred from inns, so it was very frustrating but interesting to read. Even with the epilepsy and gay and queer story piece to it. This book incorporates things that are still prevalent to this day.
J: The reason I liked it so much is because it made it so accessible. We’ve read historical novels where these were prevalent issues at the time but they weren’t handled the same way. This novel just makes it so accessible to the reader that yes, you see the difference in the culture at the time but it also makes it so that it’s easy to understand.