The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue [Book Review]

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue [Book Review]
Hello everyone!
Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Published Date: 27th June 2017
Rating: 5 Stars
*Thanks to the Sunday Street Team for the review copy*
Synopsis: An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century
Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice
in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for
each other along the way.

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.

Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably
fine lines between friendship and love.

Review: I’ve
been struggling with finding a good YA book that I could enjoy, and then this
one came along and it completely BLEW MY MIND. There were so many different
elements to it that added so much depth that I was completely sucked in. I’m going
to try my best to coherently portray my thoughts in this review, so that you
can understand what a fantastic book this is.
Firstly, this is a historical fiction novel. I know that
might turn off some people, but I want to plead the case of this book. Although
it is set in the past, and there will be some things different – like the
manner of talking (it’s never complicated! Just exclamations such as ‘Dear
Lord!’ over ‘OMG!’), the clothing choice, and the way they are supposed to
behave in society. However, it’s still a book about two teenage boys who have
their fair share of problems and don’t want to grow up the way they have been
told to. They want the freedom to choose their own path in life. I’m sure that’s
something a lot of teenagers (and let’s be honest, adults too) can relate to.
Despite this being set in the past, it dealt with a lot
of modern day controversial topics. I was doubly impressed at how Lee managed
to keep it within the time frame the novel is set in, and had the character’s
judging it justly, but then also was alluding to the way we treat those people
in the current times. For example, the main character, Monty, is bisexual. As
he isn’t very discreet, this is commonly known, and the abuse he gets for it is
shown throughout the novel in a different manner of ways. Monty also has a
sister, Felicity, who has been told that she needs to know how to sew and be a
woman of the house when she wants to study medicine. Her storyline and
character alone proved how boss women can be and tapped into the feminism
theme. But Lee doesn’t stop there. Percy is coloured, and he has his own issues
because of that. He also has another storyline which relates to a topic which
is often discussed today (but no spoilers from me!). Yes, there are a lot of
themes being covered in this book, but not once does it feel like the author is
preaching to us or that it is too much crammed into one novel. It’s perfectly
balanced and woven into the story.
Yet, the main theme is about growing up and not letting
someone determine your life for you. As Percy and Monty work towards doing just
that, we get to see a lot of different adventures and suspenseful moments
unfolding. I loved how much trouble they all ended up getting into. Because I
never knew what to expect next, it made the whole reading experience a lot more
The characters were wonderfully flawed and perfect at the
same time. It’s obvious that Monty is a tad self-centered, but I couldn’t
dislike him either. There was something about the way his character is written that
makes us completely aware of his flaws and short-comings, but that we can also
see the good in him. That element is reflected in all the characters and I
truly believe it to be a representation of people today.
The writing style is perfectly suited to that of a YA
novel. It’s simple enough to fly through the book, but never too simple that it
gets dry. The writing style is befitting of the time period and also has a fun
element to it. It was just another building block to the ideal read.
The romance was just right too – it wasn’t over powering
and taking over the story, but it was still a lingering presence throughout the
entire journey, making it a sweet romance that slowly and steadily built up.
I feel like I could go on and on about this novel, but
all reviews need to end somewhere! I greatly enjoyed reading this one and am
eager to read whatever Lee releases next. If it’s anything like this one, I
know I am going to love it.

Gif Summary:

Links: Goodreads and Amazon!
Olivia’s Question: Do you think history repeats itself?
Or are we more creative than that?

Olivia-Savannah x

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