The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (27th Jun 2017)
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’d like to thank HarperCollins USA International for an ARC of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue.
Someone hand me a loudspeaker because I need to tell the world to read The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee.
“We’re not courting trouble,” I say. “Flirting with it, at most.”
I am in awe. Because I flipping loved Monty and Percy and Mackenzi Lee wrote such a fantastical and captivating love story—yes, in case you’re wondering, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue features a male-male relationship between the protagonist and his best friend—that made me whoop and swoon so hard, I nearly fell of my chair. More than once.
I am usually not a fan of historical fiction, but if you throw in a delicious helping of humour and a charming cast of characters, I am on board. By the way, have you read My Lady Jane? Because The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is along the vein of the Lady Janies’ fabulously hilarious novel set in Victorian England.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue follows the story of Henry “Monty” Montague, who is a son of a lord and an all-around playboy with a wicked charm and a devil-may-care attitude, as he goes on his Grand Tour around Europe before returning to the estate to inherit his father’s land. He seeks pleasure in a bottle and he enjoys the company of beautiful women and men and he might be secretly crushing on his best friend, Percy.
If I had to pick a favorite part of Percy’s face—which would be impossible, really, but if held at gunpoint and forced to make a selection—it would be that small star-map across his skin. A part of him it feels as though no one else but me is ever close enough to see.
Jesus take the wheel. I just adored The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue so much because it’s downright amazing. I don’t think I can condense my feelings for this book in this review because I just have so much love for the characters, especially Monty and Percy who are currently my favourite cinnamon rolls in YA.
I turn, and the words crumble into dust. Percy’s sitting on the bed, fiddling with a tinderbox on the nightstand and wearing nothing but a long shirt, which has gotten bunched up around his hips, leaving very little to my imagination. The neck hangs open so that the dusky light slides over the smooth skin of his chest like oil on water.
It is perhaps the most unfair play in the history of unrequited love.
As I’ve mentioned, I am not a huge fan of historical fiction but there’s something about a bisexual protagonist traipsing across Europe and getting his ass handed to him at every turn and the too-adorable moments with his best friend, that makes me love this book with all my heart!
Never a dull moment, Mackenzi Lee’s stunning debut is a delicious romp with the right amount of charm and sass from its cast of zany, unforgettable characters! I really enjoyed the premise of the story, where readers are introduced to life in the 17th century and what Grand Tours are about.
“The stars dust gold leafing on his skin. And we are looking at each other, just looking, and I swear there are whole lifetimes lived in those small, shared moments.”
I thought Mackenzi Lee captured the essence of life in the 17th century quite well, especially when highlighting issues and themes such as racism (Percy is dark-skinned), status, social expectations (Monty’s sister is an aspiring physician and badass queen) and homosexuality.
All in all, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a clear winner as it definitely deserves a spot on my bookshelf. I adored the multi-faceted story, where there were several subplots integrated into the whole story. I fell a little bit in love with Monty every time he did something silly or endearing. With a sweet, adorable romance between Monty and Percy that had me swooning, this fun-filled romp has found its way onto my list of favourites this year!