My enabler friend pointed me in the direction of a book titled The Gentleman’s guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. Specifically the audiobook. As I was reading reviews on Goodreads, I noticed a review from a blog that had the cover reveal and a video interview from the author. The Blog is The Midnight Garden. I was already planning on buying the audiobook, but after watching the video, it was a sure thing. Take a look. It is a fun video and listen to the sample on Audible, the narrator sounds wonderful.
Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Narrator: Christian Coulson
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication date: June 27th 2017
Review: I was intrigued by the description: an 18th century historical YA that has LGBTQIA characters, and that did not seem to be targeted at a particular group. I watched the author’s video on The Midnight Gardens blog and on YouTube. Pirates. Kickass girls in skirts. A book showing that history was not just white CIS gendered people. I was so there.
Monty is a troubled young man. Born to privilege, but unhappy (with cause). He has been brought up to be a gentleman, but is more a rebellious rake. His best friend is Percy, a young man raised by his aunt and uncle who faces challenges due to his mixed heritage and darker skin. Percy is sweet and adorable and plays violin (that makes him more adorable and the reasons why he loves his violin are heart-tugging).
The two have spent their childhood together and are about to set off on a Grand Tour (road trip) to the continent for one year before they must become responsible adults. They have grand plans filled with plenty of partying. The problem is they are chaperoned, with a very structured schedule, and they have Monty’s little sister Felicity to tag along until she is left at Finishing school.
Thus begins the adventure. From England to France and some detours after that. The book is humorous, yet has a serious tone as well. Monty and his relationship with his father, what both Monty and Percy face once their Grand Tour is concluded, life and perceptions in the 18th century, are not easy subjects. Then there is Felicity. She is a wonderful, strong, intelligent female character and a foil to Monty’s character in many ways.
I laughed many times because the contrast between her and her brother Monty is almost a stereotypical role reversal at times and they have fun, witty sibling banter (the author enjoys giving tropes a twist). There were definitely times I wanted to thunk Monty, but as I continued to listen to the story, and Monty grew, I adored him, too.
I must say that the last third of the book was my favorite. The events that happen and the people our trio meet kick the adventure into high gear and Monty and Felicity are quite the team.
The book is fast paced and the narration is wonderful. I finished the book feeling that there are still questions to be answered, but not a cliffhanger at all (there is a second book in the works). The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a young adult novel that can definitely be enjoyed by adults too.
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