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.
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What I Loved:
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is a hilarious journey through 1800s Europe in the company of the finest characters I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. Monty, Percy, and Felicity suddenly find themselves being chased through all of Europe by power-hungry people after Monty steals a small box that seemed inconsequential at first sight. After learning that this box holds the key to helping Monty's best friend (and secret crush) to stay at his side, they decide to fight their way through (in the most gallant way, of course) until reaching their ultimate destination.
It's hard to write this review with a straight face and think things clearly because all I want to do is fangirl about the characters and everything that happens to them in all these 500+ pages. It's just that it's SO FUNNY how everything that could go wrong, happens to them, especially to Monty. Caught kissing with someone you shouldn't? Yup. Caught running around naked at a party? Yup. Stealing THE MOST important object from a private parlor full of objects? Yup. And this is only the beginning. Whatever you imagine happening to Monty, Percy, and Felicity probably happens and it was hard to not giggle at their misfortunes. Just you wait!
Monty is a one-of-a-kind character and so precious to me. While he is reckless and has inappropriate vices, his heart is gold and deserves all the hugs. His crush for his best friend, Percy, is ADORABLE and I was constantly looking forward to their small, private moments. Oh, and Percy ... ugh, such an amazing guy! Despite all of the challenges he has had to face in this world, beginning with being POC and discriminated in a society that still approves of slavery, he charges through it all with his head held high. So admirable. Gosh, I love him. I love them both and I SHIP THEM SO HARD.
BUT FELICITY. She's Monty's younger sister and one that should be preparing herself to join society as a complacent young woman, but NOPE. Our Felicity is ready to tackle the world and not let society define her. I didn't think I would love her as much as Monty and Percy, but I was wrong. Her character is everything and I'm so excited to read more about her!
This book is my first from author Mackenzi Lee but it certainly won't be my last! Her writing style is amazing and she clearly transported me inside the story. I wasn't reading about Monty's adventures with his two traveling companions, I was LIVING it with them. That's when you know a book is done right.
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is THE book to read if you are looking for a laugh-out-loud and romantic adventure through 1800s Europe. With marvelous characters, great bisexual/gay representation, and an accurate approach to other issues faced during these times, this book is one not to be missed!
Henry "Monty" Montague is trouble wrapped up in a pretty smirk that gets all the laddies and lads dropping everything to fall over him. Unless of course, they're hunting him down for a number of things such as stealing from them, sleeping with one of their women or men, or for being a drunkard. Equipped with a witty tongue and quick mind to keep the retorts coming, Monty just can't seem to stay out of trouble. Touring won't be as easy as he thinks, especially once his father puts restrictions on it and people start hunting Monty because of his quick hands. His growth in the duration of the novel amazes me simply because the author creates such realistic and flawed characters that hurt and make mistakes because of it but still find the strength to recognize (eventually) their destructive behaviour. Brave and full of armour, Monty has a long way to go before he can heal and he needs his friends with him to get through it.
The entirety of this book is an adventure. One full of scheming, thieving, and master plots. Trust is not something they can count on and when they get into tough situations, well make friends with a pirate! You won't be able to keep in the laughs, the gasps of shock, or the snorts of amusement. The author has layers in the writing, layers of wit and humour and snark that keeps you entertained and reactive to what you're reading. You will be affected by the journey the characters take and you will love every moment of it.
What I love the most about this book however, is the romance. Usually I tolerate it, maybe root for it. But I was fully immersed in this novel and all the gritty, raw, and romantic feelings it came with. I yearned for them to open their eyes and see their love for what it was. I ached to have them touch just a little more, depend on each other just a little more. It was frantic and passionate, each one of their romantic encounters and I adored every minute of it. Monty and Percy just seemed to click for me. They are a puzzle that needs only the two of them to be complete. All the heartache and misunderstandings, all the hope and despair, it was all worth it because in the end, they were still by each other's sides. Agonizingly lovable, this romance kept flickering until it burned in a passion that could be felt.
Overall, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is simply one of the most amazing books I have read with aspects of historical fiction and LGBT. Brilliantly written and full of inspiration, this is a novel you won't want to miss out on.
I am absolutely hopelessly in love with The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. It’s funny and witty and filled with amazing sights and characters. Monty and Percy are both characters I don’t read often enough. Monty especially was a character who was so flawed and kept making a mess of things, but ultimately was just trying to figure out what he wanted and where he fits in this life. Then there’s Percy, his best friend, and boy he's been in love with since the very beginning is his complete opposite. He’s quite and dignified, where Monty is outspoken and a rake. Then there’s Felicity who is smart as a whip and would rather attend university than go learn about becoming a proper young woman. I loved her most of all. I felt a very deep kinship to Felicity that I think a lot of girls reading this will feel. I also got the feeling from certain parts in this book, that Felicity identifies as asexual (which really hits home for me) and if that is the case I really hope we go into it more in her book. Oh in case you didn’t know Lee is writing a compANION NOVEL IN FELICITY’S POINT OF VEIW. I can’t wait to see from Felicity’s POV.
One of the best things about this novel was Monty’s character development. He starts out this book as a thoughtless, flirts with anything that moves, drinking gambling rake of a young man to a thoughtful more conscientious one who works hard to understand the feelings of those around him. Lee does such an amazing job of really fleshing out these characters. Giving them voices that felt authentic and fresh. And the relationship Monty begins to have with his younger, annoying sister Felicity is one of my favorites. They care for each other even if they are bickering and fighting constantly.
You can tell Mackenzi really put her time and effort into making this historically accurate while adding interesting facts about lady pirates and women who didn’t follow the norm of that time period. I loved that she found ways to work those into her book. This book overall had me feeling so content. It’s so hard to explain a feeling, but it’s as if Lee took a rainy day, cozy in your bed with a cup of cocoa and a good book and formed it into a book. It’s the beauty of this book with characters who make you fall in love and laugh out loud, and character development that blows you away. I want more books like this. More books that get to the heart of you with boys who are delicate and beautiful and girls who are strong and dedicated. I want more of that, more books that give me that cozy feeling inside. There was no one thing about this book that caused it, it was everything together. The adventure, the love, the growth everything worked so well to create this beautiful story that lived up to every bit of hype surrounding it.
One thing I do want to mention is that there is abuse from the father. It doesn’t get graphic but it does talk about and have flashbacks of it and I wanted to mention it in case anyone has a hard time with that. Other than that this book is lovely and so worth the read. So run don’t walk to your library/bookstore and pick this book up because I can not recommend or tell you how much I loved this story. It’s everything I look for in a book and is perfect for those who love a good adventure/love story.