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Review: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Title: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Year Published: 2018

Genre: YA fiction (historical fiction, LGBTQ+)
Pages: 501 (plus interesting Author's Note)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2018 Google Reading map)UK, France, Spain, Italy, and Greece

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): 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.

Review: I have been meaning to read this book for about a year and am so glad that I finally did! It's such a fun book full of life, adventure, romance, and history.

I liked all three of the main characters. Monty is a total rogue who has no cares for anyone but himself, but there is something likable about him, especially as life starts to deal him tough times. Percy is a sweetheart who allows the reader to learn what life was like for biracial people hundreds of years ago. Felicity is strong and determined and show us life for women in eighteenth century Europe.

From page one we know that Monty is bisexual and boy is he into enjoying himself to the fullest. The first 100 pages take us on a tour of his sexual escapes while also realizing that Percy, his best friend, is the true object of his affection. This is yet another interesting aspect of this novel.

The setting of a Grand Tour of Europe for rich "kids" allows the story to take place in numerous fun locations (London, Paris, Barcelona, and Venice) while introducing the reader to the culture, politics and history of the the 1700s. While this sounds like it could be a real snooze fest, it isn't. Not by any stretch! This book is light, funny, adventure-filled, and all around wonderful.

The author has a few pages at the end where she talks about it was really like for LGBTQIA+ people, women, and biracial people in Europe at the time of the book. I love it when authors tell us the real scoop after reading a good story.

Challenges for which this counts: 

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