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.
At ALA this past June I heard so many great things about Mackenzi Lee’s debut novel, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. The line for her signing of the second book was one of the longest I saw while I was there. I figured all those readers must know something I didn’t, so I moved this one to the top of my TBR once I got home. It’s been a while since I’ve read a truly fantastic historical fiction novel but The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue deserves that distinction.
This story has everything a reader could possibly want; romance, friendship, family, pirates, highwaymen, and a seriously crazy adventure. There was never a boring moment with Monty at the helm of this Tour. How he managed to get them all involved in so much craziness was beyond me. I found myself laughing and smiling so much at this story. Things didn’t slow down from start to finish and I found myself unable to put the book down until I was done with it.
I did have a few issues with Monty though. As much as I truly loved his antics, he just came across as so immature and selfish. Everything was about him. Even when things came up with Percy, he only cared about how they affected his life. Don’t get me wrong, he and Percy were definitely endgame in my head but I really wanted to see Monty come to realize that his life wasn’t the only one with problems. In fact, his problems could even be considered minor in comparison to some of the people they met on their journey.
That being said, Monty cracked me up and I couldn’t help but completely love him. The same goes for Felicity and Percy. The three of them made up quite a trio. Monty was the humor and sense of adventure in their group, Felicity the intelligence, and Percy the voice of reason.
Overall, I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to read the Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. You can bet I will not be waiting that long to read the sequel. I look forward to seeing the adventures Felicity gets up to and how Monty and Percy might play a role in her story. If you’ve been skeptical about this one, don’t be. It deserves every bit of praise it’s received, and I have a feeling I’m going to be a lifelong Mackenzi Lee fan.