A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
By: Mackenzi Lee
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Genre: Romance, Adventure, Historical Fiction, YA
Henry “Monty” Montague doesn’t care that his roguish passions are far from suitable for the gentleman he was born to be. But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quests for pleasure and vice are 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.
So Monty 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, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.
Witty, dazzling, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is an irresistible romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.
The first section of this review will be spoiler free
This book was a great example of how judging a book by its cover can sometimes turn out great. I saw this book in the bookstore and the cover really drew me in and it looked interesting so I added it to my wish list. I was delighted when I received it as a Christmas present not long after. This is not typically the genre I read, as I prefer fantasy or Science fiction, but I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the story. The book tackles big issues such as racism and homophobia, while maintaining a fun and entertaining mood. Henry Montague, or Monty and we come to know him, is a complex and well developed character. he has his flaws and vices, but underneath he is a young man struggling with who he is and who he wants to be. I really felt for him throughout the story, and his development and self realization was very well written. The other characters were just as engaging, even if they were only minor side characters. Percy (Monty’s friend and major crush) is the mixed race son of an upper class man. his treatment by his peers (even Monty at times) showed the struggle of being mixed race in that society very well. Felicity, Monty’s sister, is a fabulous female character. She defies all gender norms of her time and does her own thing, which fits nicely with how the other characters were trying to find their place in a society that wouldn’t accept them. Despite the heavy overtones, the story was actually very funny. There were moments that made me tear up a little, but over all it was adventurous, romantic and very enjoyable.
If you like romance and a lot of wild adventures this is the book for you. Don’t be scared off by the ‘historical fiction’ genre. The only role it plays is setting the time the events take place in, but other than that it feels like a very modern story.
Let me start off by saying that I enjoyed reading a YA book with an LGBTQ+ character as the protagonist. In fantasy and science fiction that rarely happens, it was a nice change. And boy was Monty an interesting protagonist, especially given the fact that he made so many major mistakes along the way. Percy and Monty’s romance was adorable, and I was thrilled they found a way to be together in the end. I almost wish the book had been longer because I want to know how their lives together turned out. I was glad that Monty didn’t go back home, because his dad turns out to be an even bigger dirtbag than I thought at the beginning. He not only physically and emotionally abused Monty, but it turns out he had married, impregnated and abandoned a woman before meeting Monty’s mother. I think pretty much all the parents/parental figures in this book were not decent people.
There is so much more to say on this book, but I would love to hear your opinions as well. Let me know what you thought in the comments.