The book gods have been very good to me this year despite my ridiculousness. I am not very consistent this year, I have to admit. But in terms of books, I feel very lucky because the selection that I do want to read is the only thing that I read. The moment they dropped the summary of this particular book that I will be talking about today, I was immediately hooked. I was sold in a heartbeat. It was a young adult historical fiction book that I never knew I needed. I did almost everything that I could to read it early, but those efforts failed. I almost gave up, and I accepted the fact that I will have to wait until the release date to read it. And then the opportunity came knocking in. Now, here I am to gush about this wonderful book. Hold on to your seats, because this will probably be a bumpy ride.
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Glbt, Fantasy
Date Published: 27th of June 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.
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.
Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.
Well, that was certainly… different. I mean it in a positive way as well. Though my expectations and what the book delivered somehow made a contrast, we were able to meet halfway. I adored the story in it’s entirety, and it was the historical fiction that I needed to read to satisfy my thirst for history. Monty, Percy, and Felicity were all such badass characters. And here I thought it was just Monty and Percy touring throughout the entire story… well they did tour. But in a much more adventurous way, if you know what I mean.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is the 18th century LGBT novel that I never knew I needed. It tackled a lot, and it was quite a hefty book. But in a good sense, it still speaks out to relevant issues that we have today.
Plot-wise, GGTVAV had a zigzag pace. It was a bit slow at first, but the pace went up and down when the crew started encountering trouble. It was all in a zigzag pace from there, and the down pace felt like a calm before the storm. It was a solid plot, and it was filled with these teeny tidbits that are the best to imagine. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue had everything. Snogging, sassy viscounts, alchemy, pirates, and a few badass ladies. How Mackenzi Lee managed to cram all of that in to create the coolest tour ever blows my mind. To be honest, I did not expect the following factors to be present in the novel. But realization struck me that a lot can happen in a tour. The period where the story took place still had highwaymen present. What was I supposed to expect? Despite the book being one of my most anticipated reads of 2017, I kept my expectations low and I let the novel blow me away on its own. And it was a good decision to boot.
Character-wise, the book centered on Monty. This is where my love for male lead MCs came in. Despite being the epitomy of a privileged ass, Henry “Monty” Montague managed to capture my heart. I know that we don’t fit because he likes lads more than ladies, but he developed into this character that learned about his self-worth through the most twisted version of a European tour. He became a man who stood on dangerous grounds, driven by the people who mattered to him the most. And that is what I loved about him. Sure, he can be annoying and his actions are rather rash. But inside that smooth-talking bastard lies a true gentleman.
Percy and Felicity on the other hand, were amazing people to be with on a one-of-a-kind tour. If anyone would attempt to steal the spotlight from Monty in this book, it would have to be Felicity and Percy’s fiddle. She is such a badass lady, dowgraded by the system of the 18th century (yes ladies, be grateful that you were born in this century). But she defied people who made her sit still and look pretty. She read books that made her more knowledgeable, despite people frowning on her because it is not ladylike. Her defiance was my saving grace. I lived for her sass. (Percy’s fiddle on the other hand, was ridiculously present. That is all I have to say about that.)
So why did I only give it 4 stars?
While it was an entertaining story that kept me on my toes at best, this may not be the book for people who have a hard time imagining historical settings. While Monty is fascinating, I felt like Percy was just there. Sure, he raised certain issues that were prevalent during the given setting, but it was like he was just there. I wouldn’t want to spoil the story for everyone, but I felt like Percy as a character was underdeveloped.
But overall, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue has an amazing adventure underneath its pages. It is mesmerizing to read, and the sense of history within can really stick to you. It is filled with unexpected twists and turns, and a tour unlike any other. A proper gentleman was born, and with sass, grace, and a boot to your face, Monty will sweep you off your feet. I honestly recommend you read this when you feel like you are underestimating yourself. Because as Monty discovered, a person is more than the expectations placed on them. Prove them wrong, and surprise them with more than that.
(Know more about my rating system here.)
Mackenzi Lee is a bookseller, history nerd, and the author of THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE, THIS MONSTROUS THING (Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins), and the forthcoming SEMPER AUGUSTUS (Flatiron Books, 2018). She holds an MFA from Simmons College in writing for children and young adults. 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.
Connect with Mackenzi!
Huge thanks once again to the Sunday Street Team for letting me be a part of this amazing tour. As I said earlier, it is just amazing to read this book before it comes out to the world. I’m just so happy to be able to gush about it. Now my list is complete, as I have completed a certain goal. Thank you so much for making it happen.
If you want to know more about the Sunday Street Team, click on the image below.
So are you excited to read The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue? I hope so. I cannot wait for you all to meet Monty and I have high hopes that you will enjoy the tour.