Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Genre: Young adult historical fantasy
Published: By Katherine Tegen Books on June 27th, 2017
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
(adapted from Goodreads)
Henry “Monty” Montague doesn’t care that his roguish passions are far from suitable for the gentleman he was born to be. But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quests for pleasure and vice are 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.
So Monty 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, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.
I’m a little nervous going into this review because scores of people have read this book and loved it. I’m one of the few who was intrigued by it and liked it, but didn’t fall for it. The main problem I had was with Monty’s character. It was very hard for me to care about him. Since the narrative only follows his voice, even though I adored his sister, Felicity, and his best friend, Percy, it didn’t save the book. Another problem I had is that the pacing felt off to me. The brilliance of the book lies in its smooth ability to tackle issues such as race, gender, sexuality and abuse set in a time period when they weren’t talked about. What struck me is how the author skilfully portrayed the difficulties of these characters in everyday instances yet managed to educate me as well as tug at my heartstrings. I was stunned by how much of this translates to modern day as well. I listened to the audiobook and I must say the narrator’s performance was one of the best I’ve ever heard.
I certainly recommend this book as it is a good one, but it wasn’t a very enjoyable reading experience for me personally. If you’re looking for a diverse book with a historical setting that is entertaining as well as educational, this is the perfect blend of all of those. I would pair Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons to fit the different moods and settings of the book. Sample the best of European cuisine as you take the Grand Tour along with the characters.
This is quite a popular book, so I’m sure you’ve at least heard of it, if not read it. Do your opinions differ from mine? Is this on your TBR? Let me know in the comments section below.