Historical Fiction (Teen), Romance (Teen), Series, YA Fiction

Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

A funny YA historical fiction featuring a risk-taking queer protagonist


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I really wanted to read something lighthearted recently to lift my spirits, as I’ve been really stressed with work. I’ve been seeing this book everywhere and was lucky enough to get my hands on an audio version of it, making my commute to my school that much better. Here are my thoughts:

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1) book cover book cover

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1)

by Mackenzi Lee

Published May 27, 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books
Series: Montague Siblings
ISBN: 0062382802

Data from Goodreads

Summary (Goodreads): 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.

My Review

The Pros: What worked for me

  • I loved the setting and the premise for this story, with its diverse cast of characters. I am seriously obsessed with anything from the Victorian era and this book did not disappoint! The author seamlessly integrated the historical time point into the actual plot of the story, making everything sound so natural that I felt like I was living in that era myself! There wasn’t a single point where the author slipped up and I was so happy to see that level of consistency!
  • I also loved that the story prominently features LGBTQ romance. At first, I was a little worried as to how the author would blend this with the historical time frame that the story was set in, but it was done really well! I also thought the interactions between the two characters  was really really cute!
  • My two favourite characters of the story were definitely Felicity (Monty’s younger sister) and Percy. They were logical and were able to perfectly balance out Monty’s narcissistic and stupid tendencies.

The Cons: What I didn’t like

  • I’ll be honest, I really didn’t like Monty. To be fair, I did think he was funny in the beginning. He is a selfish character but he is hilarious and I could see why having him as an MC could really make this book shine. However, his selfishness and stupidity soon grew old. I did like that the author gave him some depth by (Click to reveal spoiler) bringing up the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father; It gave him something more than just the shallowness he exuded. But it wasn’t enough to redeem his other behaviours.
  • I also felt that the plot had quite a few elements that seemed to be out of the blue and were just unnecessary. While it technically made sense, it wasn’t necessarily the greatest plot to follow and I found myself losing interest at times.

And yet, despite these negative elements, I really did find the story to be cute and funny. I enjoyed listening to the trio go on their adventure and see Monty start to change a bit here and there. I was looking for something lighthearted and I got it. And I have to admit that the deeper themes of the story were definitely there, so this wasn’t just a shallow cute read. For those reasons, I’m giving it a solid 3/5 stars and I would recommend this to anyone looking for a cute historical fiction story!

0 thoughts on “Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

  1. This one is still on my TBR. I’m glad I read this review, since I wasn’t aware of the time the story has been set in. I really thought it was a contemporary fiction book, but it turns out to be a historical fiction book instead. I definitely have to keep that in mind. Monty sounds really annoying and now I’m a little reluctant to pick this up because this reminds me somehow of I See London, I See France and I really disliked that book. But Oh well, we’ll see I guess!

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