Book reviews

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtues by Mackenzi Lee


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.

REVIEW: (contains NO spoilers)

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtues by Mackenzi Lee is a very new release, published in June of this year. It is a VERY hyped new book, so I definitely went into this book with high expectations. And I was NOT disappointed!!! I loved everything about this book, so let’s get right on into the review.

This is a historical fiction novel, which I know might turn some people off. But, it has some fantasy elements woven into it (including pirates, a creepy house, etc), and it reads like a contemporary!! Not only was this an extremely fun read, but it was also HILARIOUS!! Somehow, Mackenzi Lee was able to write a fun story that also deals with some serious topics and has some very deep moments. The fact that this book had a lighthearted feel yet a very meaningful story makes it very unique!

So, we follow this 18-year old named Monty as he goes on his Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend (and love interest), Percy, and his sister, Felicity. It takes place in the 1720s, and during that time, wealthy families would send their young sons on a Tour of the continent to teach them about different cultures and social events before they returned home to learn how to manage their inheritance. This was the same for Monty, except that he didn’t want his inheritance and didn’t want to study under his father, whom he hates (for reasons that you will find out in the book).

But, Monty’s Grand Tour gets kind of crazy and he, Percy, and Felicity end up going lots of places they didn’t plan and having a grand adventure. I LOVED traveling Europe with these characters. Mackenzi Lee’s writing was amazing, and the way she described different settings and cities really brought them to life in my eyes. If you can’t tell already, I would really love to go on a Grand Tour of Europe someday!

Another thing that I absolutely loved was the characters – all of them, even the side characters!! I loved the pirates, especially Scipio, and the Duke of Bourbon was a great “villain.” I think my favorite character might have been Felicity, Monty’s sister. Her character came as a complete surprise to me. She was so strong and brave and immediately took the reins in dangerous situations. We also find out that she is incredibly smart and has been secretly studying medicine to become a doctor!! Which was totally unacceptable to girls in those days.

Monty was a crazy, rash character, but his character arc over the course of the story was AMAZING. He became less selfish, and I love how he was able to get over all these things in his past and move on from them. With the help of Percy of course, whom I loved as a character as well, especially how he plays the fiddle!! Percy is biracial, and it was really interesting to see how that affected him in 1720s Europe. The author dealt with the topic of African Americans during this time period so well, and I think that was one of my favorite things about the book.

5/5 stars to this book!!! I loved it SO much! It was a perfect adventure story with history and romance and lovable characters. I definitely won’t be forgetting this one any time soon!


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