Author: Mackenzi Lee
Narrator: Christian Coulson
Audiobook Length: 10 hours 47 minutes
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.
The Montague Siblings series resurfaced on my radar when the third novel, The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks, came out late last year. I went into the first novel in the series believing it would be light-hearted and humorous based on the title alone. While it did deliver on these points, there was a lot more to the story and characters, which came as a pleasant surprise. Each story follows one of the three siblings with overlapping characters, so I decided to read all three in order.
This novel follows Henry “Monty” Montague who begins to be presented as an arrogant and spoiled bisexual gentleman. His abusive father decides to send him on a tour of Europe before Monty is to return home. Along for the ride are Monty’s sister, Felicity, and Percy, the epileptic half-Black son of an English nobleman and Barbadian woman, who is Monty’s best friend and secret love interest. As the story is told through Monty’s POV and his clear love of Percy and Felicity, there are themes of racism, sexism, and ableism (to name a few) that are touched on throughout. They are not in extreme depth as it takes awhile for Monty to see the world for what it is, so it is an interesting approach to these themes.
Each of the characters face their own oppressions throughout the novel where it affects them differently. Their stories nicely weave together as they encounter their own adventure once the tour begins. There is action and adventure along with romance, friendship, family, and character growth. One very enjoyable aspect of this novel is all these issues are not fixed entirely by the end. There are characters that grow, but they do not change entirely, which added some nice realism to the story. This novel came as a pleasant surprise and I cannot wait to experience Felicity’s story in the second novel, The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy!