‘The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue’ by Mackenzi Lee is not the type of book that I would usually pick up in a store, but it has opened my eyes, albeit only a little.
Monty is excited for his Grand Tour across Europe with his best friend Percy but his hopes for a jolly good time are dashed when his overbearing father appoints a bear-leader to keep him in check. No drinking, no gambling and certainly no canoodling with women OR men for that matter. And so with Monty’s younger sister accompanying them, they set off on somewhat sour terms. Along the way revelations are told, fears are unearthed and secrets known, as well as a whole heap of trouble and destinations that were definitely not on the itinerary.
If I read the book right, I would say its set in the 18th Century and as this was set in the past, so was the language and speech. I loved every minute of it. Some of the situations Monty finds himself in are so much more entertaining when you’re reading about it in his lordly manner. I admit to actual laughing out loud several times throughout this book.
There are so many areas of this book that I could talk about. Some of them include the topic of race and sexuality. It saddens me that these are somehow still taboo subjects in our generation and that people are made to feel less because they are attracted to the same sex or have coloured skin. It’s uplifting to know that these attitudes are changing but they’re just not changing at a quick enough rate. I’m relieved that Monty and Percy get their happy ending. Side note – What happened to Percy’s fiddle?
Monty is a mighty lovable character. At the beginning of the book the only way to describe him is self centred, and very much vain, but by the end he is far from that (maybe still a little vain). Seeing his character develop was abso-bloody-lutely lovely and I can’t help but have a soft spot for him. He ends up being the most courageous of the trio and he’s also the one who I think has transformed the most throughout their epic tour. Both Percy and Felicity hardly change which doesn’t matter too much considering the POV is from Monty. If they did change, I didn’t see it but I’m not too bothered by it either way.
I struggled at the beginning and by chapter 7 I was seriously considering moving on with another book. Let it be known that if Monty wasn’t Monty, I would not have finished this book. Monty saved this story for me and I’m glad he got me through it because I did enjoy it. Not as much as I had hoped but if there’s to be a sequel, I would read it (I hope Monty’s in it – also, how many more times am I going to say Monty? MONTY).
“What’s the use of temptations if we don’t yield to them?”
I received this in Owlcrate’s July Wanderlust box.
You can get it here