I listened to the audio book of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee back in September, and it was one of my absolute favourite reads of 2017! (Check out My top five books of 2017)
TL;DR Monty and Percy are best friends and high-born gentlemen living their best lives in 1800s London. Drink, gambling and general debauchery are the order of the day, until their Grand Tour of Europe becomes a mad dash across the continent, pursued by dangerous men who will kill to take back what Monty stole from them…
Henry “Monty” Montague is the son of an English aristocrat, attends one of the poshest boarding schools in the country, and is being groomed to take control of the family estate and affairs when he grows up. If he ever does. Unfortunately, he’s not interested in taking over from his father, or growing up. He’s also madly in love with his best friend Percy, who is blissfully unaware, and he’s being kicked out of school for his roguish behaviour. Surely a few months travelling around Europe will solve all his problems?
Joined by Percy and his sister Felicity, Monty sets off for France – first stop, the palace of Versailles. Unfortunately, one rash decision and a stolen trinket lead to our gang fleeing for their lives, pursued by some very angry French men. They eventually wind up in Barcelona and take refuge in a house with the strange siblings whose father invented the fascinating stolen trinket, looking for an explanation. When the French catch up to them, they’re forced to make another run for it, this time heading for Venice by pirate ship. Their quest for the truth becomes a race against time as the answer to all their questions is in danger of becoming submerged when the islet housing it crumbles into the sea.
Will Monty ever confess his love to Percy? What is the mysterious affliction that affects Percy and why did he really agree to join his best friend on his European Tour? And will Felicity be able to convince her parents and society that women are just as capable as men, and study medicine at university like she wants? You’ll have to read it to find out…
I absolutely adored this book, it was funny, touching, gripping and filled with diverse, complex and deeply flawed characters who charmed the socks off me with every page. I’m giving it 5 stars and am absolutely gutted that it’s technically a standalone, however Mackenzi Lee has written a companion book from the perspective of Felicity called The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, and I’ll be damned if I’m not going to get my hands on it the instant it comes out in October. Lee is a huge advocate for amazing women throughout history, you can often find her tweeting about a fabulous lady from the past, proving that girls have always been badass and brilliant. Her Twitter threads have even been turned into a book, Bygone Badass Broads: 52 Forgotten Women Who Changed the World – go buy it immediately and celebrate International Women’s Day 2018 like a proper lady, with an awesome book and a cup of tea (or something stronger if that’s your style, no judgement here! Only four more weeks of pregnancy to go and I’ll be joining you!).
Until next time,