Sunday, 25 June 2017

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue [Book Review]

Hello everyone!

Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Published Date: 27th June 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

*Thanks to the Sunday Street Team for the review copy*


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Synopsis: An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.

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

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Review: I’ve been struggling with finding a good YA book that I could enjoy, and then this one came along and it completely BLEW MY MIND. There were so many different elements to it that added so much depth that I was completely sucked in. I’m going to try my best to coherently portray my thoughts in this review, so that you can understand what a fantastic book this is.

Firstly, this is a historical fiction novel. I know that might turn off some people, but I want to plead the case of this book. Although it is set in the past, and there will be some things different – like the manner of talking (it’s never complicated! Just exclamations such as ‘Dear Lord!’ over ‘OMG!’), the clothing choice, and the way they are supposed to behave in society. However, it’s still a book about two teenage boys who have their fair share of problems and don’t want to grow up the way they have been told to. They want the freedom to choose their own path in life. I’m sure that’s something a lot of teenagers (and let’s be honest, adults too) can relate to.


Despite this being set in the past, it dealt with a lot of modern day controversial topics. I was doubly impressed at how Lee managed to keep it within the time frame the novel is set in, and had the character’s judging it justly, but then also was alluding to the way we treat those people in the current times. For example, the main character, Monty, is bisexual. As he isn’t very discreet, this is commonly known, and the abuse he gets for it is shown throughout the novel in a different manner of ways. Monty also has a sister, Felicity, who has been told that she needs to know how to sew and be a woman of the house when she wants to study medicine. Her storyline and character alone proved how boss women can be and tapped into the feminism theme. But Lee doesn’t stop there. Percy is coloured, and he has his own issues because of that. He also has another storyline which relates to a topic which is often discussed today (but no spoilers from me!). Yes, there are a lot of themes being covered in this book, but not once does it feel like the author is preaching to us or that it is too much crammed into one novel. It’s perfectly balanced and woven into the story.

Yet, the main theme is about growing up and not letting someone determine your life for you. As Percy and Monty work towards doing just that, we get to see a lot of different adventures and suspenseful moments unfolding. I loved how much trouble they all ended up getting into. Because I never knew what to expect next, it made the whole reading experience a lot more fun.


The characters were wonderfully flawed and perfect at the same time. It’s obvious that Monty is a tad self-centered, but I couldn’t dislike him either. There was something about the way his character is written that makes us completely aware of his flaws and short-comings, but that we can also see the good in him. That element is reflected in all the characters and I truly believe it to be a representation of people today.

The writing style is perfectly suited to that of a YA novel. It’s simple enough to fly through the book, but never too simple that it gets dry. The writing style is befitting of the time period and also has a fun element to it. It was just another building block to the ideal read.


The romance was just right too – it wasn’t over powering and taking over the story, but it was still a lingering presence throughout the entire journey, making it a sweet romance that slowly and steadily built up.

I feel like I could go on and on about this novel, but all reviews need to end somewhere! I greatly enjoyed reading this one and am eager to read whatever Lee releases next. If it’s anything like this one, I know I am going to love it.

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Gif Summary:



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Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Olivia’s Question: Do you think history repeats itself? Or are we more creative than that?


Olivia-Savannah x

30 comments:

  1. I love that this is a historical novel, but it deals with timely topics. It just goes to show you that history repeats itself. I feel like theres been a resurgence of quality historical fiction lately and I'm glad a YA novel is adding to that mix.

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    1. I agree that history does tend to repeat itself, and it being able to manage the present and the past in unison was brilliant. YA is catching on to it ;)

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  2. I don't mind historical fiction, but I often feel that HR doesn't capture how grave a situation a person was in if they were attracted to the same sex. If that is portrayed accurately, I can get lost in the story. But if it's flaunted like it's no big deal, it doesn't feel authentic to the time period, At that time, it was a big deal. I have only read a handful that I felt it was accurately depicted.

    Great review! I have heard a lot about this book.

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    1. It can hard to capture how serious of an issue it was. Although, as much as this keeps this one YA friendly, I think it does manage to capture it well enough. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I haven't heard of this one before, but it sounds great! Definitely adding it to my TBR! Great review!

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    1. I hope you'll love it as much as I did :D

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  4. I'm so glad you liked this! I've been seeing it around the blogosphere for a little bit now and I've been wanting to read it. I'm crossing my fingers I'll enjoy it as much as you did! I'm a sucker for YA historical fiction so I'm thinking it'll be right up my alley :) Lovely review, Olivia!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

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    1. I hope you can get to it soon and can enjoy it too! If you like YA historical fiction, I can almost guarantee you will love it :D

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  5. I was just looking at this one on my library's website earlier today. I may go back and request it now that I have read your review. Glad you enjoyed this one as much as you did.

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    1. Ooh I hope you do! It's such a great read ^.^

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  6. I've been looking forward to A Gentleman's Guide... for months and got even more desperate for it after I read an excerpt of the first four chapters recently. I'm so glad tomorrow's the release date - I'm not sure how much longer I could've lasted before the anticipation finally killed me, haha.

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    1. It's so good! I can't wait till you can finally get your hands on a copy and fall in love with it too <3

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  7. You just convinced me with this review that I'm going to buy this book. I've been seeing people saying that they loved it but I wasn't totally convinced until now. Super excited to get my hands on it!

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    1. I'm so honoured that I managed to and I hope you love it! I am sure you will too :D

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  8. I'm always in the hunt for diverse YA (bi representation in this case) and I also love historical fiction so I might get my hands on this one. It's all over twitter! Thanks for the review :)

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    1. This novel just manages to encompass all of those things. I've seen it exploding everywhere too ;)

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  9. Oh wow, it sounds like there are so many great things about this book! That's great that it tackles so many important topics but never feels preachy. An unpredictable books can be so much fun to read! Plus I love characters who are flawed but who you can still see the good in. Great review!

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    1. It really has so many brilliant qualities included in it. It really does handle controversial issues so well, and in a way that highlights all the issues within them.

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  10. I think there are some lessons from history that we've learned better than others, and some not at all.

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  11. I've seen this one hyped quite a bit (at least, in the diverse corners of the bookish community!) and I'm glad it seems to live up to it! :)

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    1. It seems to be everywhere to me! That's why I originally got convinced to read it :3

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  12. I enjoyed reading your review.
    I haven't seen this book but it does sound interesting. I love historical fiction and the setting of Paris and Venice seems appropriate for a bit of romance and adventure. :)

    Dinh @ Arlene's Book Club

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    1. The unique settings of countries they visited was a nice touch, but you don't get to see too much insight into them? More so it focused on the characters and the storyline, come to think of it.

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  13. Dear Olivia,

    OOOH! I'm so glad you loved this book (and that GIF at the end of your review is TOTALLY adorable!) and also, thank you so much for being a part of the SST tour! It means a lot to us.

    Aditi

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    1. Thanks so much for accepting me onto the tour! I loved it :D

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  14. I've heard a few people raving about this book and your review makes it sound fantastic! I'm not a huge historical fiction fan so it's good to know that the historical context doesn't get too complicated. I'll definitely be reading this one.

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    1. It really is just that rave-worthy, Shouni. For someone wary of historical fiction, I can recommend it still!

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  15. Ahhh this sounds SO, so good! I don't think I've read a single bad thing about it yet! I love that the author is able to address all the important topics but without sounding preachy- talk about an amazing feat! I need to get my hands on this one ASAP. Awesome review!

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    1. I hadn't either which made me so sure to read it. And everyone was right D: Hope you get your hands on it soon :D

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