The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It has been a long time since I read a book that I gave 5*s and far longer since I read a Young Adult novel that I enjoyed this much. I’m not really a big fan of YA and I’m a huuuuge hater of 1st Person POV, and yet I genuinely loved this book and it is both.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue tells the story of Monty (Henry Montague) and his best friend Percy (a biracial son of a family friend) leaving on their Grand Tour, along with Monty’s sister, Felicity, who they are taking to drop off at Finishing School, and exactly how badly wrong things can go when the leader of your merry band of misfits is a bit of a spoiled troublemaker.
Without spoilers, I can say that, though a lot of people have commented in their reviews (because unbeknownst to me, everybody seems to be reading this book lately; I just picked it up at random at the library) that they don’t really like Monty very much, I really got attached to him from the start. His story screams, “acting out because he’s so messed up internally he has no other way to express himself” and that whole ‘tortured hero’ vibe works well. Except, even better, the real ‘hero’ of this story is Felicity! Oh how I love Felicity! Percy broke my heart in every way except for how steadfast and loyal to Monty he was. I was so scared, knowing queer fiction like I do, that this would end in Percy going to his original destination and Monty never seeing him again, and I was terrified of the coming sad ending, because it’s soooo clear throughout the whole book that they’re in love with each other and each think their love is unrequited.
I have never read a more enjoyable M/M queer romance, especially in the YA genre. This was one that was such a page-turner. The last book I tried to read, I spent 2 weeks and only managed 70 pages of forcing myself to read a few pages at a time because it was so boring (I gave up at that point), but this book? Oh man, I read all 500+ pages in just under a week. It’s an easy read, it’s a quick read, and I was so engrossed in the story I didn’t want to put it down. I absolutely loved this story’s tone, the pace, the characters, the adventure, the history, all of it!
I’m a big fan of queer romance and historical fiction so a historical queer romance is really right up my alley. It’s hard to find a good historical romance that isn’t all rapey and especially a queer one. This story is delightful and I adore a good happy ending!
Read it! You won’t regret it.
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