The review is mostly Spoiler Free, only at the end I fangirl and rant about some stuff in the book, but I’ll put a warning so don’t worry about getting spoiled.
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, LGBT
Rating: 4.5 /5
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.
“We are not broken things, neither of us. We are cracked pottery mended with laquer and flakes of gold, whole as we are, complete unto each other. Complete and worthy and so very loved.”
Warning, be prepared to die out of cuteness and laugh really hard while reading The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. I cannot even start with how much I enjoyed this book, from begging to end, I just couldn’t stop reading it (I even try to eat dinner while reading and, let me tell you, there’s nothing more nerve wrecking than having soup with a book in your other hand), I would have finished it in a day if I hadn’t have to work and be a responsable adult. Oh, and I haven’t even started to talk about the angst in this book, but I’m already all over the place with this review, let’s start in order.
This book is set in 1700’s and we follow Monty, Percy and Felicity on the Grand Tour through Europe, but what’s supposed to be a fun, crazy and mostly ‘’drunked’’ last adventure before Monty and Percy go on their own separated ways, takes an unexpected turn and now they are traveling around Europe trying to not get themselves killed.
During the story, Mackenzie Lee touches many important themes and subjects like homophobia, racism, sexism, abuse, disability and more. And even though, she present them more in reference to the time period the story is set, there are so many importante messages that you can still take from it. Is kind of sad that there are situation in a book situated in a different time that can be applied to now days. This is one of the many reasons why I think this book is worth a read.
About the characters, what more can I say about them but that I fell in love with this trio? I think that’s what I liked more about this book, the story and plot were good, but the characters were what capture me at the end. Monty is our protagonist and we follow his POV through the book but, not even a few chapters in the story and I was already in love with him. He’s such a real HUMAN character. Monty is selfish, awkward, stupidly in love and in general so confused, but the journey from a drunked boy that keeps hurting the people he loves, that we see at the begging, to a young man who’s sill learning and trying to be the best of himself it just felt very real, one of the best character’s arcs that I have read in a long time. Also, it was refreshing having a main character that has no idea whats happening, doesn’t know what he himself is doing half of the time and that tends to mess up even though it has good intentions. Then there was also Percy, who we love and no person in their right mind would hate. He was such a very unique and interesting character, the complete opposite of Monty, but at the same time his perfect match. And last, but no less, Felicity, Monty’s sister, who was a complete baddass, smart/genius and the only one that actually knew what to do all the time. The boys wouldn’t have last that long without her (especially Monty). She’s the role model every little girl needs in her life. And, in combination all the characters work just perfectly for this story.
“Ladies haven’t the luxury of being squeamish about blood.“
The writing was good and vert fast pacing, which I really appreciate in a book. I have only read one book by Mackenzie Lee before and, like that other book, I find it refreshing. I like how she manages to combine heavy themes but still keep it light, without loosing the main importance and seriousness of the subject. It just makes the whole experience of reading much better. I mentioned it before, but she really has a talent in creating amazing and relatable characters. Also, she managed to work very well the historical aspects of the novel, which is something that I tend to be very picky about, but this time it was on point.
In general, this is an easy and enjoyable read, with just the perfect mix between fun and angst. The romance between Monty and Percy is just perfect and adorable, at the end you’ll be rotting for them. I’ll highly recommend this book, it’s totally worth it and you’ll not regret it.
“The stars dust gold leafing on his skin. And we are looking at each other, just looking, and I swear there are whole lifetimes lived in those small, shared moments.”
Can we make grand tours a thing again? I need to do that, of course, without all the running for your life, but I wouldn’t mind a little bit of Pirates.
I haven’t hate a character as much as I hate Monty’s father since Umbridge
Reading Monty’s POV was a such rollercoaster, because every time he would talk himself down or flinch because of a sudden movement I just wanted to hug him but, at the same time, there were times when I just wanted to kick him in the head because gosh, was he tick-headed.
I knew very little about the book before actually starting reading it, so Percy’s epilepsy was something I didn’t expected at all, but it was really interesting reading about it, specially how it was viewed during that time period. I could related with Monty reaction, not knowing what to do or act, but at the same time trying to do everything to help. And, of course, reading about Percy’s struggles, how he has accepted it as a part of how he is.
By the way, I think Felicity is the founder of the “lets protect Percy fan club” and I want to join, thank you very much.
I loved the evolution of Monty and Felicity brother-sister relationship. He trying to understand her and she trying to understand him, realizing that the images that they had of each other was very different of who they really were.
“It occurs to me then that perhaps getting my little sister drunk and explaining why I screw boys is not the most responsible move on my part.”
I always tend to hung to the most stupidest things and details from the books, but I’m somehow very frustrated and curious to know how Percy and Monty plan to survive without money haha Anyone else?
*END SPOILER ZONE*
“God bless the book people for their boundless knowledge absorbed from having words instead of friends.”
Hope you enjoy it! Let me know all your thoughts in the comments. Also, should I read the second book? The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy. I have seen mix reviews about it, so I’m curios to know if someone has already read it and their thoughts.