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Here's Why Everyone is Freaking Out About The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

If Mackenzi Lee set out to write the YA book of the summer, then THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE is a smashing success. Get ready to set out on the adventure of a lifetime through 18th century Europe and fall head over heels in love with our new fav trio. Seriously, every part of this book is amazing and you won’t be able to put it down.

Don’t believe us? GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE was recently chosen as a #1 Indie Next pick, was included in Entertainment Weekly’s 20 Books to Read This Summer,” and was featured on BuzzFeed! It really has it all: Swashbuckling adventure, unmatched wit, and, oh, did we mention? The main character Monty is bi, and his love interest throughout the book is his best friend and road trip companion, Percy.

If you still need convincing, scroll down for more proof that THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE is the book you need to read this summer!

Quick hits for The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue:

 

The Characters

Monty is a young lord, a gentleman meant to inherit his father’s estate. Er, or, he’s supposed to be, but he much prefers to have fun and engage in ~roguish adventures~. His best friend (and lowkey the love of his life) Percy is super loyal, plays a mean violin, and basically deserves all the respect in the world. Because he’s biracial, he can’t get away with the things Monty does. And rounding out their group is Felicity, Monty’s sister who’s supposed to be on her way to finishing school. But she doesn’t want to become a lady. She wants to study, and learn, and has a lot of love for science. It’s hard out here for an ambitious girl!

 

The Romance

“On the morning we are to leave for our Grand Tour of the Continent, I wake in bed beside Percy. For a disorienting moment, it’s unclear whether we’ve slept together or simply slept together.” That’s how GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE starts, and it does not let up. Monty is unashamedly in love with Percy (whether or not Percy knows, and whether or not it’s requited), and not once does Monty negatively regard his own bisexuality. Other characters obviously react in different ways (this is the 1700s, after all), but to have such a positive character and romance on the page is so refreshing! Shipping Monty and Percy forever.

 

The Subject Matter

Sure, it’s a fun romp through 18th century Europe, but Monty has to deal with how others view his sexuality, and Percy struggles with unabashed discrimination. Monty’s white privilege is made very clear as these two interact with members of high society. Nothing is excused, but it’s made very clear that many characters are unaware of the issues Percy faces. Mackenzi handles this learning curve so well and there’s such a great arc.

Felicity, meanwhile, is trying to be taken seriously as more than just “a lady.” She slips romance novel jackets over her textbooks so that people won’t realize she’s self-teaching. She’s so badass in her own intelligent way, and it’s great to see a strong female character who doesn’t rely on physical strength to be tough.

Another topic covered in the book? Chronic illness. Not to spoil anything, but it was so nice to read a book where it’s made clear that *cups hands together to reach the people in the back* you don’t have to be cured to have a life worth living. Boom *drops mic*.

 

The Humor

Okay… this book is straight up hilarious. Monty had us laughing from the start and his narration is so one of a kind, we don’t even want to imagine what a trip around Europe would be like without him. This includes gems such as:

• “I wasn’t that drunk, was I?”
“Monty. You tried to take your stockings off over your shoes.”

• “Everyone falls in immediate, passionate love with you.”
“Well, they can hardly be blamed. I’d fall in love with me, if I met me.” And then I flash him a smile that is equal parts rapscallion and boyish dimples so deep you could pour tea into them.

• “No visitations to any dens of iniquity,” he goes on, “or sordid establishments of any kind. No caterwauling, no inappropriate relations with the opposite sex. No fornication. No slothfulness, or excessive sleeping late.”
It’s beginning to feel like he’s shuffling his way through the seven deadly sins, in ascending order of my favorites.

 

The Author

Mackenzi. is. flawless. If you’re not following her on Twitter already, you’re missing out. She’s a whip smart historian, fierce feminist, and has an unlimited stash of fun facts. Plus, she’s literally so nice. What does this translate to? An incredibly genuine voice and top notch wit on every page of GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE. You can tell how much fun she had writing it, and in our opinion, that’s so important for any book. It just makes us love it that much more!

 

Find out more about The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

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, dazzling, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is an irresistible romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.


Are you as excited as we are for THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE? Tell us in the comments below!