Published by Katherine Tegen Books on June 27, 2017. Audiobook: Source: Library
10 hours 47 minutes.
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Action & Adventure, Diverse Characters & Stories, LGBTQIA, Love & Romance
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.
I can’t really tell you why I waited so long to finally read this one. I have been hearing about this book since well before it came out because Laura read it early, and she has continued to read it 4 times over the last year. And when a person who rarely rereads anything reads a book four times, it means I should probably read it, too! So I finally listened to the audiobook, and good grief! Why did I wait so long to go on this adventure?! It was SO MUCH FUN!
As the description says, this book takes you on an adventurous journey across Europe as Monty takes what we would refer to now as a “gap year” before taking his place in his father’s company (and after getting kicked out of his boarding school for being scandalous). That is all you know going into this story as the reader, and that is what makes this novel so great–you literally go on a complete reading adventure. I had no idea what was going to happen until it happened, and I had no idea where the story was going until it went there. That kept the pacing up and made it truly an adventure novel. We went from a breakfast table in a Lord’s house to running naked through the gardens of Versailles to….well, I won’t spoil the rest of the adventure for you. But just know it is a fun time from beginning to end. I mean, SERIOUSLY! THIS WAS SO FUN!
Monty is a character you love but also want to strangle sometimes. He can be so obtuse and self-centered and obnoxiously privileged. But that is why Percy, his best friend (and love of his life) and Felicity (his determined and feminist sister) balance him out so perfectly throughout the entire novel. They are his voices of reason and they teach him a lot about his privilege It is through conversations with each of them that Monty faces his own flaws regarding racism, classism, and sexism. But by listening to his companions and learning from his experiences on the road, he grows as a human. And even though he is authentically flawed, his fondness for his sister and his love for Percy just makes your heart melt with love for him. But that still doesn’t keep him out of trouble. 😉
The show stealer is Felicity. Like seriously, she is badass. She is witty, she is frank, she is no-nonsense, she is resourceful–she is exactly who you want your historical heroines to be! Gentleman’s Guide is about Monty, obviously, but this story would not be nearly as great as it is if Felicity was not in it. There is an innocent ferocity to her character that drives the story forward (at least to me). And now she is going to have her own story, and I am SO EXCITED I AM GOING TO JUMP UP AND DOWN THE ENTIRE TIME I READ IT!
Honestly, this book is just a barrel of fun from beginning to end. This go around I listened to the audiobook, and the narration by Christian Coulson was so perfectly English that I literally felt like I was listening to Monty tell his story (instead of it being performed by a reader). The voice is that authentic. I will recommend this book to anybody that is just looking for a great time (and a bananas adventure!). Because, seriously, it’s one of the best times I’ve ever had reading an adventure story!