The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee is such as a lovely, unique and completely addictive read. It’s hilarious and romantic at the same time, and so fast paced. I finished the book in basically one sitting. From the very first page, the story just pulled me in and I could not put it down. I can’t put into words how much I love this book! All I can say is, you need to read this book. You really do!
On the surface this is a YA historical fiction book about a young gentleman in the 18th century doing a tour of Europe before assuming the duty to take over the family’s estate, but from the very first sentence of the book, you realize that there is so much more to it. (That opening paragraph must be one of the best ever, BTW. How can you not be intrigued and immediately drawn into a story that starts like this: “On the morning we are to leave for our Grand Tour, I wake in bed besides Percy. For a disorienting moment, it’s unclear whether we’ve slept together or simply slept together.” Got me hooked at once!) This book is so much fun, so emotional and just… utterly wonderful!
The writing is so addictive. The pacing is on point, as is the world-building; I loved the travelling parts all over Europe. What was supposed to be a culture tour of Europe, turns out to be the adventure of a life time, with pirates, and a kind of mystery to solve. But even though the plot is really fun and adventurous, it is the characters that make up this book. There’s so much depth and layers to these characters. And they are all adorable, in their own way.
The story is told from Monty’s POV. Henry “Monty” Montague being the spoilt heir, who has never been able to live up his father’s expectations or be the gentleman he’s supposed to be, but gets kicked out of all boarding schools and spends his time in gambling halls, with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men. But even if Monty is a selfish ass and an absolute privileged bastard at times, his sassiness and vulnerability just makes it impossible not to love him (even though you often feel like slapping him). And to hear the story from his engaging, sassy voice just makes it downright hilarious.
And then there’s Percy. The love interest of Monty, and my absolute favorite. He’s just such a sweetheart. He’s gentle, wise and the rock keeping Monty at bay. My heart broke a little every time he had to deal with racial comments and discrimination.
And Felicity, Monty’s headstrong younger sister. I can so relate to her and how she’s not able to do what she really wants, as opposed to what society dictates she must do, but how she just ignores that and take up medicine studies on her own anyway. She's like Hermione Granger on speed or something...
And the romance! I think it’s one of the sweetest m/m romances ever, it’s simply heartwarming and gush-worthy.
I recommend this book with all my heart!
Find out more about the books and the author here: Mackenzi Lee