The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee
Published: July 27th, 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
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.
“Fortune favors the flirtatious”
This was literally not what I was expecting at all when I opened this book. I expected a light-hearted historical fiction but, what I got was a wild adventure filled with angst, fighting, crazy dukes and kids, a cure-all heart, pirates, and kissing lots of kissing. We follow Henry ‘Monty’ Montague as he, his sister, and best friend Percy as they go on a Grand Tour. This was such a surprise and I am so happy I finally read this wonderful tale and got to endeavor in the adventures with Monty. I loved the characters in this book, the plot, the romance, and everything. I really enjoyed how Monty mentioned morning breath in the beginning because it made the story so real to me and mention of a girls monthly cycle. I really hated his father and how terrible of a person he was. He was extremely abusive and homophobic and a raging hypocrite (don’t want to say because of spoilers.) This book was beautiful and lovely and honestly just read it.
“It’s like being set aflame. More than that—it’s like stars exploding, heavens on fire. Kissing Percy is an incredible thing.”
They were so lovable and adorable. Felicity is apparently a canon ACE character. I enjoyed how smart she was and how she was a reader. I didn’t like how much she reminded me of Monty’s dad with how cruel she could be. The Min character Monty was bi and he was aggressively bi. Meaning he had no shame and the author let him be what he was. He liked men and women and he talked about his like of both she really represented what he was really well. I loved his spirit and how young, wild, and free he was but we also saw a lot of his inner struggle with himself. He was extremely self-conscious, worrying if he was doing the wrong thing, and flinching at everything if someone raised their hands at him all because of the abuse from his dad. I loved his quicksilver tongue and his melodrama at times. I just wanted to protect him. Percy was his perfect balance. He was the calm to his storm. Percy was biracial, dealt with racism, and epilepsy. I felt the author dealt really well with these topics. He was so cute and adorable and I just want him to live his best life. The pirates were also black and they were so cool.
2) Writing/World Building
“I want to run away right then but there’s just Percy in the cabin and water on either side, and the person I most want to run away from is me.”
From the start of this book, I was laughing. The author’s dialogue between characters made me laugh, cry, scream, feel joy and everything. It was witty, sexy, cute, fun, and adventurous. I really like how the author was very authentic with the time period and the Europen aesthetic. It was true to the time period in dealing with queer culture, racism, the slave trade, pirates, the grand tour, the aristocrats, and setting. I also like how the author handled it and made it very real especially with Monty not understanding the aspects of racism because for him Percy is just Percy and his love.
“You might be the only person left on earth who thinks me decent.” Between us, I feel his knuckles brush mine. Perhaps it’s by chance, but it feels more like a question, and when I spread my fingers in answer, his hand slides into mine. “Then everyone else doesn’t know you.”
Monty is in love with Percy but their friendship is also so cute and pure. The poem was literally the start of everything and my heart was swelling especially with the first kiss. But there was also angsty tension and I love and hate it. I love everything about them and I SCREAMED because Mackenzi Lee is writing a novella for them and yes. I love page 308, 362, 488, 494, and 497.
“Simple…You have your skills and I have mine”
The plot of this went from such a simple tour around Europe to a wild adventure goose chase. This was so much fun and a lot of action. The pacing was great and I loved all the plot twists. It really left me shook.
Read this I can’t say it enough the book is so awesome and fun. I guarantee you will love it if you don’t I don’t know what is wrong with you. Hope you enjoyed this if you read it what did you think?