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.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance
Publication Date: June 27th, 2017
“What’s the use of temptations if we don’t yield to them?”
I have a lot of feelings about The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. Most of my feelings are positive, and the fact that I didn’t give it a full four stars, or even five, mostly stems from the fact that, all the while, I felt like something was missing to elevate it from a fun, cute, and enjoyable read to an all around amazing one.
I think my disappointment in the plot and pacing are to blame for that, because I lost interest in the plot halfway through the book, and the storyline overall left something to be desired—it felt a bit unbelievable, and almost silly, sometimes. Ultimately, it just didn’t hold my interest throughout.
However, unsurprisingly, I fell in love with Monty and Percy right away. Your OTP, who? All I have eyes for are these two rays of sunshine, forever eradiating their cuteness. Reading about them made me believe I might just walk around with a permanent smile etched into my face forever, because they’re the most wonderful, lovely, and precious pairing I’ve read about in a very long time, and I don’t think that that’s going to change anytime soon.
“The great tragic love story of Percy and me is neither great nor truly a love story, and is tragic only for its single-sidedness. It is also not an epic monolith that has plagued me since boyhood, as might be expected. Rather, it is simply the tale of how two people can be important to each other their whole lives, and then, one morning, quite without meaning to, one of them wakes to find that importance has been magnified into a sudden and intense desire to put his tongue in the other’s mouth.
A long, slow slide, then a sudden impact.
I’ll admit that Monty is a little bit of a—or let’s be honest, a pretty huge—mess, but he has such a winning and charming personality, despite being cocky, vain, and pretty ignorant (in more ways than one), that he still won me over on the spot. In the course of his journey, he comes to recognize his shortcomings, though, and continually tries to be a better person, which I always find very commendable.
As for Percy; he is just the kindest person one can be—the literal definition of someone with a heart of gold—and he immediately inspires an innate need in you to want to protect him, and keep him away from all harm. I felt both sad and happy for him during the entire book, and the way his storyline is tied up is just wonderful in an entirely unexpected way.
I’m so happy that Felicity will be the main character in the next book in this series, because I adore her—her tenacity, her intelligence, and her resourcefulness. I love all the scenes she shared with Monty, but especially the one in which she tries to understand such an important part of her brother’s identity without passing judgement, but simply with a desire to get him.
Mackenzi Lee’s writing is lovely, and so fitting for this somewhat whimsical historical story; it’s descriptive and evocative, without being too wordy, and definitely one of my favorite aspects of this book. There are also a lot of important issues being addressed in it; not in a moralistic way, but shimmering just beneath the surface, making you halt and ponder over them, without you even realizing.
All in all, I’m wondering why it took me me so long to pick The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue up to read, because I definitely recommend everyone to do so.
Have you read this book, and are you going to read the sequel?
Do you enjoy historical fiction?
What are some of your favorite romantic pairings? 💝