The Gentleman’s Guide To Vice & Virtue
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre/Themes: YA, Historical, Road Trip, Romance, LGBTQIA+
Release Date: June 27th 2017
Page Count: 513
Initial Post Reading Thoughts
Alright so, I loved this. It was fantastic and I want more. I loved the characters, I loved the storyline and the adventure! New favourite, that’s for sure!
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.
What I Liked
Monty + Percy. I mean, these two have to be on everyone’s “What I Liked About This Book” list right?! They were beyond adorable and I completely fell in love with both of them. It was so painful knowing that these two characters obviously had feelings for each other, but both of them were too clueless to do anything about it. It was painful in a good way though because once their relationship started to develop I could not wait for the two of them to open their eyes and realize their feelings for one another.
Felicity. Oh how I adored Felicity. She didn’t take anyone’s shit and she did what she wanted to do with her life. She refused to be sent away to a finishing school and secretly studies medicine. Remember, this book takes place in the 1700s and it wasn’t socially acceptable for a woman to study medicine at the time which makes her extra badass for secretly studying it. Also, I loved the sibling dynamic between her and Monty. It felt real and believable as they bickered and argued, yet would kill anyone who harmed their sibling. Felicity was an amazing addition to this story and I can’t wait to read more about her in The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy.
The Adventure. Gentleman’s Guide is filled with non-stop adventure which is probably one of the reasons this 500+ page book moved at such a fast pace. The action was never ending and something else was just bound to happen right around the corner. I love books with a sense of adventure to them and Gentleman’s Guide definitely fulfilled my need for some action adventure!
The Writing Style. As mentioned above, this book was super fast paced! Not only did the action and adventure have a huge part in this, but also the writing style itself. It was witty and quirky which is not something you would normally expect from a historical fiction novel, even if it does fall into the young adult genre. There was something about the way that Mackenzi Lee wrote this novel that made it absolutely memorable and charming.
The Audiobook. While I did have the physical copy, I had heard so much about the audiobook version of Gentleman’s Guide that I figured I absolutely needed to check it out. I’m so glad that I did because it was absolutely perfect. It also really helped that it was narrated by Christian Coulson a.k.a. young Tom Riddle from Harry Potter and the Chamber Of Secrets. His voice was perfect and he did a stellar job of narrating this novel.
The Historical Aspect. I don’t normally love historical fiction, although a few exceptions have been made. For the most part I try to stay away from them. However, I think that Gentleman’s Guide had a really unique take on the genre. It features a bisexual main character that is in love with his best friend, who is a person of colour. In the 1700s, both of these details were unfortunately not very accepted. It was interesting to see how the author incorporated that into this story while also keeping it relatively light and fun.
What I Didn’t Like
Loved It All! Clearly, this book was perfect for me! I loved everything about it and I’m absolutely so ready for the second novel. Especially because it will be featuring the one and only Felicity! I can’t wait!
Overall, The Gentleman’s Guide To Vice And Virtue was the perfect book for me. I didn’t really know how I would feel about reading a historical fiction YA novel, but it turned our to be exactly what I needed.
About The Author
Mackenzi Lee holds a BA in history and an MFA from Simmons College in writing for children and young adults, and her short fiction and nonfiction has appeared in Atlas Obscura, Crixeo, The Friend, and The Newport Review, among others. Her debut novel, This Monstrous Thing, won the PEN-New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award. Her second book, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, a queer spin on the classic adventure novel, was a New York Times bestseller (what is life?), and ABA bestseller, earned five starred reviews, a #1 Indie Next Pick, and was shortlisted for the New England Book Award. She loves Diet Coke, sweater weather, and Star Wars. On a perfect day, she can be found enjoying all three. She currently calls Boston home, where she works as an independent bookstore manager.
Thank you for reading!