Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: Mackenzie Lee
Series/Number: The Montague Siblings #1
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Page Count: 513
Themes: LGBTQ+, Racism, Classism, Disability, Abuse
Trigger Warnings: Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Homophobia, Racism
“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.”
I will start off with the things I loved about this book. I thought this book was incredibly well paced. It didn’t feel slow in any parts or too fast in other parts. It was evenly paced and exciting. The writing was absolutely brilliant and fun. I loved the way sexuality, disability, and race was explored in a historical context. It was enjoyable and exciting. I had a real fun time reading it.
Though this book was fun and exciting, there were some things I didn’t enjoy about it. The fantasy element just didn’t land for me. I wont give any spoilers but it just fell flat a bit for me. It was weirdly put in there and I just wasn’t into it. I also didn’t love the characterization of Percy. Percy felt very flat and I really felt like Percy’s race was just a plot device. I wanted him to be a fully fleshed out character, but I barely know anything about him. I wanted to know all the characters, but we didn’t get that.
I was also very shocked by the amount of abuse in this book. Everyone I had heard talk about said how funny and exciting it was. I was expecting a great adventure romp, and I did not get that. Monty’s personality is not funny and witty, it’s a result from his trauma and self-destructive behaviour. I don’t think this is a fault of the book, I loved the discussion of abuse and trauma and how Monty’s trauma was characterized. What I didn’t love was that I didn’t see many reviews that mentioned this, so I can’t fault the book for this aspect.
Overall, It was a good book. I definitely wont be continuing the series, but I wouldn’t sway anyone from reading it.