Buy on Amazon│Buy on B&N
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.
ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
How delightful was this book though? So delightful I want to squee when I think of it! I went into The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue pretty much blind. The only thing I knew about it was that it was about gay boys in a historical setting, which was honestly enough to convince me to read the book. And OMG! Mackenzi Lee has quite the gem here and I can’t wait for everyone to read it.
What made this book so charming were the characters. They were all so vibrant and likeable, and I could not get enough of them. I especially loved being inside Monty’s head. He was a rascal through and through, but damn it if I didn’t instantly love that boy. He was honestly a complete riot, and said the darnest of things that had me laughing until my belly ached. He has no shame, and makes one mistake after the other, but Mackenzie Lee writes him in a way that makes him come across as endearing instead of annoying. I loved him so much! His sidekick and love interest, Percy, was another character who was just gorgeously written. He was very much the opposite of Monty, so they balanced each other out well. He was a precious character, the kind you want to protect from everyone and everything. I loved that even though he was quieter than Monty, he had no qualms calling him out for his nonsense. He was smart and brave, and I loved this boy with all my heart.
Then, there was Felicity, Monty’s sister, who was just as great! She was very no-nonsense, did not mince her words, and smart as a whip – I mean, she’s been secretly reading medical textbooks so she can study to become a doctor even though that wasn’t quite possible in her time. Just how can you not love this girl? The relationship dynamics between these three were fabulous. There was a ton of witty banter, lots of sass, and even more loyalty between them, which of course made me love them extra hard. Felicity and Monty’s sarcastic teasing of each other was on a whole other level. Beneath all that teasing was so much affection, and of course that made my heart all fluttery. And the romance! SHIP! SHIP! SHIP! That’s what I screamed within the first chapter. Percy and Monty were so damn cute together, and the chemistry between them was A+. All I wanted was for them to kiss forever, because that’s how much I needed them to be a couple.
The plot and historical setting were loads of fun too. Historical YA is so underrated, and there are so many great books out there that seem to fly under the radar. I’m glad that The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue isn’t one of those books, and I hope that readers will want to read more historical fiction after this one! Anyways, this book has it all: adventures, a lush 18th Century European setting, freaking pirates, and danger left and right! Like I said, it was fun. Though this book was certainly light-hearted and humorous, there were also some underlying important commentary on feminism, racial politics, mental illness and being LGBTQIA in a time when you could be punished for who you love. Mackenzie Lee approaches all these themes with care and subtlety, but they still come across as powerful.
You’ve probably heard all the buzz about The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, and this is one case, where the book deserves ALL THE HYPE. I feel like this is one of those books that will appeal to anyone because it had many great things going for it. Everything about the book was great, but really the OTP itself should be enough to get you excited about The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue.