Mackenzi Lee caught my eye.
This was 500 pages of lighthearted fun.
It's the 1700s, and Henry "Monty" Montague has no desire to be like all the other teenage boys his age. Boarding school is not for him. Besides he got kicked out. Coming home at a decent hour is not for him. Besides there's too much fun to be had staying out late, partying, gambling, and drinking. Being a proper "gentlemen" like his father is not for him, especially if it means denying who he is. Who is Monty? A fun, self-absorbed, reckless but often thoughtful young man. He also loves the company of young ladies and young men. Although, Monty is certain the love of his life is a young man. And not just any young man, Monty is in love with his best friend, Percy.
Given the time period, a man being in love with another man was taboo. Especially a man like Percy. Who is Percy? A gifted musician, who just happens to be of mixed race. When people look at Percy, they don't see a talented man. All people see is his skin color. Everyone but Monty. He sees a beautiful talented man, and Monty wants to be more than just his friend. However, Monty's father has had enough of his son's antics. It's time for Monty to grow up. It's time for Monty to take over running the family estate. In his father's eyes, it's also time for Monty to give up the sins of the flesh--a.k.a. stop being gay. Monty isn't ready to change in any way. He shouldn't have to after living with a father who not only beats him, but also hates Monty with a passion. But Monty has a little time before deciding on the future. Now he's getting ready to hit the open road.
Monty is about embark on a yearlong Grand Tour of Europe. Percy and Monty's sister, Felicity, are along for the ride. It's supposed to be a year of growth, education, and reflection. Not exactly high priorities for this young man. Nope. Monty desires a year filled with pleasure and alcohol. The trio's chaperone, Mr. Lockwood, will have none of that. Lockwood is determined to keep his group of youngsters in check. Yeah, that doesn't work for long. Monty easily outsmarts Lockwood, and heads out for fun with Percy. Anything to distract himself from the hellish future his father wants for him.
Monty is constantly fighting his feelings for Percy. He wants to love Percy, but what if Percy doesn't want to love him back. There are brief moments of passion between Percy and Monty, but they always stop short of discussing their true feelings for each other. This yearlong trip through Europe also doesn't go as planned. It quickly goes off the rails after Monty, Percy, Felicity, and Lockwood are attacked by roadside pirates. The youngsters get separated from Lockwood and are forced to fend for themselves without money, a place to sleep, and a steady source of food. Without actually intending to, Monty does "grow up." He's forced to think about other people instead of just himself. Monty even sees Felicity as more than just his annoying little sister.
He sees that Felicity is actually a resourceful and intelligent young
woman. Health problems for Percy finally force Monty to face his true feelings for his best best friend. Faced with the opportunity to "cure" Percy's health problems, Monty is determined to take it. But at what cost?
At times Monty, Percy, and Felicity's romp through Europe was a stretch of the imagination. Every time you think they're finally going to get some relief, something else happens. They have all kinds of people chasing them. But altogether this is a funny, romantic, and endearing book. Please read it!