Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Posted April 11th 2018 by The GingerSnap in Reviews / 0 Comments

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The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi LeeAuthor: Mackenzi Lee
Series: Guide #1
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release date: June 27th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, LGBTQ, Historical, Romance
Pages: 513
Format: eBook
Source: Amazon
Add to TBR: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon UK | Amazon US | The Book Depository | Kobo | Audible

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Star rating:
Heat rating: two-flames

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.

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The GingerSnap’s review

If it was possible to give a book 5+ stars, I would absolutely to do it for this wonderful, wonderful, WONDERFUL book. This is hands-down one of the best books I’ve read this year. The writing is so rich and vivid I felt like I was there in every scene, Monty is so achingly funny that I found myself snorting at inopportune moments, and I was practically jumping for joy when Monty and Percy finally admitted their feelings to one another.

I’ve always loved historical fiction, but I’m ashamed to say this is only the second LGBTQ historical romance I’ve ever read. I requested it from the library after literally every reader in romancelandia raved about it months and years on end, and I couldn’t put it down. I wanted to read it again the moment I finished it.

Do you ever read a book that makes you want to hug it, hold it close, and squee with delight? That’s how this book made me feel.

Henry Montague, aka Monty, is at times difficult to like, as he is constantly putting his own vices ahead of his best friend and family. I love that he doesn’t come around to the idea of being a better person right away, though. He struggles with it over time, and therefore his transformation to someone slightly more generous, more loving, more understanding is all the more believable and enjoyable to read. His clear devotion to Percy is also so heartbreakingly wonderful, and Lee writes it in the exact way that all of us, whether we’ve been devoted to someone or not, can understand.

Percy Newton, Monty’s best friend, is one of those thoroughly good human beings you rarely encounter in life. He’s selfless, honest, kind, open, and loves with all his heart. That he stays with Monty even during the times when his best friend is being a massive assclown is proof of his devotion, but I also love that he has enough self-respect to draw boundaries in their relationship. His care and protectiveness of Monty during his childhood abuse* is also so quietly courageous and beautiful.

My favourite character in this book is not Monty or Percy, however. It is Felicity Montague, Monty’s sister, a scrappy teenager I totally want to be friends with. She is often the one getting the three of them out of trouble, and I love how exasperated she gets each time one or both of them don’t realise the obvious solution to their problems, which she figured out 20 minutes ago. Her misunderstanding of Monty’s sexuality is painful to read, but it made sense with the plot, and again, like Monty, it takes her time to come around to the idea of being more open and loving.

This trio gets into some crazy adventures, including but not limited to staying getting robbed by highwaymen, attacked by pirates and thrown into jail. The plot had just enough twists and turns to keep me guessing without being overwhelming.

Please read this book. It is so wonderful and this review does not do it justice, but suffice it to say that I want to scream from the rooftop about how much I love it.

*There are numerous mentions of the physical abuse that Monty suffers as a child at the hands of his father, and while there are no explicit details, there are details of the injuries he incurs and the trauma the experiences leave him with. If you think this might upset you, please keep this in mind when choosing this book.

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I would recommend this book to…

Lovers of historical fiction, the friends-to-lovers trope, adventure, and sexual tension so palpable you can practically feel it

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About Mackenzi Lee

Mackenzi Lee holds a BA in history and an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Simmons College. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the historical fantasy novels THIS MONSTROUS THING and THE GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE (HarperCollins), as well as the forthcoming THE LADY'S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY and SEMPER AUGUSTUS (coming in 2019 from Flatiron/Macmillan). She is also the author of BYGONE BADASS BROADS (Abrams, 2018), a collection of short biographies of amazing women from history you probably don't know about but definitely should, based on her popular twitter series of the same name.

She currently calls Boston home, where she manages an independent bookstore, drinks too much Diet Coke, and pets every dog she meets.

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