Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4.5
Genre: Historical Fiction
What did you like about the book? This story takes us on the Grand Tour of Henry Montague; rakish young English lord in the early 1700s being sent abroad for a year of travel in the hopes it will cure him of his drinking, gambling, and his sinful unbiblical desires for his bi-racial best friend Percy. The boys travel with Henry’s sister Felicity and their guardian but befall a plot that seems straight out of an old-time adventure novel and the reader is whisked away from dull tours of museums and onto a fully devious romp full of hijinks and daring escapes and clever ruses and magical elixirs and pirates. This is good for its diversity and attention to the politic environment in which the group would have been traveling and also touches on big topics such as sexuality, racism, sexism, physical abuse, and even dips into the ridiculousness of illnesses labeled and locked away simply as “insanity”. Quite a bit is packed into this one novel and it’s a really great trip to delve into. Set in the 1700s and yet it remains a fun and adventurous YA romance for today.
Anything you didn’t like about it? It must be admitted that Henry Montague was NOT a likeable character from the start for me. As it is a book of his growing/changing you can mostly get past this as he DOES change but some of those starting chapters (and even later chapters when his obliviousness reigns supreme) are painful.
To whom would you recommend this book? This will appeal to fans of historical adventures like The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle or Outlander (Minus the time-travel).
Who should buy this book? High Schools, Public Libraries
Where would you shelve it? YA Fiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: April Duclos, Hudson Public Library, Hudson MA
Date of review: 7/24/17