Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Series: Montague Siblings #1
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction
Published: June 27th, 2017 (Katherine Tegen Books)
Synopsis: 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.
I enjoyed this book far more than I expected to. It’s pure silly fun and is guaranteed to make you laugh. This is one of those rare historical fiction novels that don’t have a serious tone. Fans of My Lady Jane will definitely adore this book.
Set in the early 1700s, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is narrated from the POV of Henry “Monty” Montague, the wayward son of an English earl. Along with his best friend Percy, and (much to his annoyance) sister Felicity, Monty is off on the traditional Grand Tour with full expectations of drinking and gambling his way through Europe. His father though, sees this as a last attempt to curb his irresponsible nature and philandering ways and sends along a guardian, Mr Lockwood, to maintain his strict standards and prevent any scandalous behaviour. Monty being Monty however, cannot go long without getting into trouble. One of his routine escapades ends up having far more consequences than he anticipated and Monty’s Grand Tour which was shaping up to be a severe disappointment turns into an adventure with highwaymen, pirates, alchemy and romance.
Monty’s narration is what makes this book work, and his ridiculous antics are hilarious and thoroughly entertaining. The epilogue in the form of Monty’s letter to his father, although a little open ended in terms of what happens to the characters, was a very nice way to end the story.
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