Today I have a spoiler-free review of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee for you. I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of this book by Harper360 UK, and I absolutely loved it. It’s out on the 17th of June in the US and the 10th of August in the UK (yeah… the wait is agonising for me as well, I can’t wait to buy a finished copy!)
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
- US ARC paperback – 512 pages
- Release date: 10th of August 2017
- Published by Katherine Tegen Books
- ISBN: 0062382802
- Goodreads page for The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue here!
This rarely happens to me, but I loved this book from page 1. I feel like I’ve been waiting for this book my whole life, it was just so perfect. This book is a historical fiction following two young men, Monty and Percy ( who are not to secretly in love), on a grand tour around Europe with Monty’s sister Felicity. I’d heard good things about this book, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed.
Firstly, I loved the main characters. Monty, the character whose POV we read from, was snarky and sassy, but also flawed and dealing with many issues including an abusive father. Then we have Percy, a lovely character who has to deal with racial discrimination, as his mother was from Barbados. He also has epilepsy, which was very misunderstood in the 1700’s. Finally we have Felicity, sometimes the ‘strong historical female character’ is written at the expense of other females, but that definitely didn’t happen this time. Each character was so well-developed and I’ll definitely be rereading because I loved them all.
As this book follows their grand tour around Europe we see many locations, mostly in the south around the Mediterranean. It’s clear that the author did a lot of research before writing and each city really felt unique. Sometimes US authors write Europe like one place with a single culture, so it was wonderful to see it written so well. I visited Marseille last year, so was really excited when the characters went there as well!
The plot was the perfect mix of fast paced action and breathers to really let the reader experience each location. I loved that this book didn’t gloss over issues such as homophobia, racism, sexism and abelism in the 1700’s. I wasn’t sure if a historical novel featuring two guys in love would simply ignore the period typical homophobia for the plot, but I felt like the author did a wonderful job.
The only issue I can think of was that Monty made a few snarky comments which made me wince a little at how insensitive they were – but considering this is set in the 1700’s, and Monty tends to put his foot in it, they weren’t out of character. He jokes about suicide at one point, so I’d say trigger warning there.
I can’t wait for this book to be released so everyone can read it. It’s one of the few books that I’d actually be excited to see made into a film. I am really hoping this book isn’t just a standalone! I bought the author’s previous book, This Monstrous Thing, because I loved her writing so much.
You can add my first book, The Changeling’s Journey, on Goodreads here!