Book Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

Author: Mackenzi Lee

Genre: Historical Fiction/Young Adult

Pages: 513 (Hardcover)



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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.

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What I Liked

The book and I started out on a great foot. Honestly, who doesn’t jump for joy when they open a new book and find a MAP?! I know I do. Actually, I love all visual aids: maps, illustrations, family trees, and graphs.

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This particular map shows the reader the path the Monty takes on his Grand Tour of Europe. The anecdotal words and drawings are cute too!

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue takes the reader to the 1700’s. Starting in England, Monty and his gang plan to travel around Europe for a year. It’s not an unlikely event, a young man getting some culture and sewing his oats before returning home to work and run the family’s estate. A spoiled, privileged life to say the least.

Monty, Percy, Felicity and Dr. Lockwood are all quite compelling characters. Their individual characteristics make the story fascinating yet believable.  Monty is charming as heck, which helps them talk their way out of sticky situations. Percy is shrewd and rational, often talking sense into Monty. Felicity is incredibly smart for her 15 years. And Lockwood tries to keep everyone in line.

It’s interesting, to get from one place to another took so long in those days. They traveled on boat and horse drawn carriages. They go without bathing for days on end. The women’s clothing has endless layers. They entertain themselves with music, parties and reading. Ah, I just love reading about different time periods!

What I Didn’t Like

There’s nothing that I didn’t love about this book, it was certainly unique and captivating.

However, a complaint I have is that the book is a bit falsely advertised in my opinion. I was ready for a light, humorous read about a young man partying his brains out. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is more of an adventure story with crime, pirates, jail, robbers, fights, insane asylums and more.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the adventure, I thought it was absolutely fantastic. It just wasn’t what I expected.

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I have a hard time picking favorites, but I am comfortable claiming Historical Fiction as my all time favorite genre. As a reader, not only do I escape the real world, I get to time travel as well!! With historical fiction, I often feel like I am able to take more from the book. Along with the story, I get to learn about different places, events and time periods.

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My Next Read:

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker
I know I know… it wasn’t one of my planned September reads, but this book has received SO many great reviews that I have to read it asap.

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Happy Reading, 

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