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.
Where do I even begin to explain how great this book was? It’s one of those books that I insist you drop what you’re doing right now and go read it! Usually I am not one for historical fiction or more romance heavy plots but oh man was I glad I picked this one up!
Trigger Warnings: Parental abuse both physical, verbal, and emotional, racism, and homophobia (I understand that the last two coincide with the time period but it could have been challenged a bit more in the story)
“The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” overall is just such a fun, light-hearted, and hilarious story that is all very reminiscent of “My Lady Jane” so if you enjoyed that book I definitely recommend checking this one out as well! It’s very fast paced, full of plenty adventures and shenanigans in which Monty gets everyone tangled up in one problem after the other. They even have run ins with highwaymen and pirates both! So yes this book is very much entertaining and never has a dull moment!
I also really enjoyed Monty’s narrative and inner monologues because of how sassy and sarcastic he was. I found that this is a majority of why I thought this story was so hilarious!
The overall setting is on the characters’ Grand Tour of the Continent so we get to have places such as Paris, Spain, and Venice as our backdrop to all of the trouble Monty seems to get himself and his friends into. We don’t see too terribly much of the cities or countries but there are a few landmarks mentioned and I just found it all to be very exciting. Venice was definitely my favorite place they visited…just saying.
Mackenzi Lee’s writing is also simply amazing, it had me hooked right from the beginning and had me turning pages all the way up until the end! I loved how she made it additive, hilarious, and touching all at once. There was also never a dull moment and we were never bogged down with pointless or boring details, we got the journey without all of the fussing!
I also really loved the ending even if it was a bit unrealistic.
There was also diversity! We got to have a bisexual narrator along with a M/M romance and Percy was also of a diverse ethnicity (I’m pretty sure he was English/African but I’m not 100% positive).
While I’d love to rate this 5 stars it just didn’t feel quite like a 5 star read for me so 4.5 it is!
The characters were definitely my favorite part of this book, easily! All three of the main characters (Monty, Percy, and Felicity) were straight up amazing and adorable, they were all just so likable! I also felt that they were very realistic, had their flaws, and learned to deal with them or overcome them. So I guess you could say they developed very well over the course of the story.
Henry “Monty” Montague is our narrator and as I said earlier he is FULL of sass and sarcasm which ultimately gets him into quite a bit of trouble, well that and the fact that he loves to drink, gamble, smoke, and fool around with both men and women all the time. People that know him often refer to him as a scoundrel and it’s quite fitting. I find that most often his personality was hilarious in this way but he could be quite an ass sometimes, but his friends would call him out on it immediately and he would actually listen and learn from it. That’s right a character who actually learns from his mistakes and friends that aren’t afraid to call him out!
I also really loved Percy and Felicity since both were adorable but Felicity is a bookish badass! I’m actually really in love with Felicity’s character because she didn’t take shit from anyone and with the way the story ended with her I’m super pumped to read her spin off “The Lady’s Guide To Petticoats and Piracy”.
I’m usually not the biggest fan of YA romances since they’re usually so filled with tropes but this was perfect! I shipped Monty + Percy so freaking much! Honestly they were both the most adorable and you could have cut the tension with a knife, seriously. I also found it very cute that they both were head over heels for each other but were both so completely clueless they thought their love was unrequited! I also really liked how their romance had a bit of a “forbidden love” feel to it since that’s one trope I can’t get enough of!
What I Loved:
- Fun, light-hearted, and hilarious story
- Great, adorable, and likable characters
- Tons of adventure and shenanigans!
- The amazing and fun writing
- The settings (France, Spain, Italy, Greece, etc.)
- The completely adorable and ship worthy romance
What I Didn’t Love:
- Honestly nothing I loved everything! (it just didn’t feel like a complete 5 star for me personally though)
I highly, highly recommend checking out “The Gentleman’s Guide To Vice and Virtue” because there’s definitely something for everyone in here! It’s overall just such a fun and entertaining book and I want everyone to read and enjoy it as well!