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The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue Hardcover – June 27, 2017
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★ “Tongue-in-cheek, wildly entertaining, and anachronistic in only the most delightful ways, this is a gleeful romp through history. Monty is a hero worthy of Oscar Wilde.” (Booklist (starred review))
★ “This is a witty, romantic, and exceedingly smart look at discovering one’s place in the world. A stunning powerhouse of a story for every collection.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
★ “A gloriously swashbuckling affair.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
★Mackenzi Lee (This Monstrous Thing) combines her knowledge of European history with a contemporary, comic sensibility to create an over-the-top romantic adventure complete with cliff-hanging chapter endings and sometimes outrageous narration. Monty is a licentious, flawed and engaging 18th-century hero. (Shelf Awareness (starred review))
“Monty is pitch-perfect as a yearning, self-destructive, oblivious jerk of a hero who inspires equal parts sympathy, frustration, and adoration from reader. A genre tribute, satire, and exemplar in one.” (The Horn Book)
“Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is the queer teen historical you didn’t know was missing from your life.” (“Best Queer Books to Celebrate Pride 2017”) (Teen Vogue)
“A rollicking ride that also turns a keen eye to issues like class, racism, homosexuality, and identity.” (Brightly.com)
“Careening from fete to fiasco on a Grand Tour of 18th century Europe, THE GENTLEMEN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE is a dizzying, dazzling, and roguishly romantic romp. This book makes me want to unrequite my own love so I can requite him all over again.” (Heidi Heilig, author of THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE)
“Don’t read this book unless you like adventure, hijinks, and forbidden romance, and if you do, then read it twice.” (Stacey Lee, author of THE SECRET OF A HEART NOTE and UNDER A PAINTED SKY)
“An outrageously fun, witty, fascinating, and romantic adventure, starring a memorable trio I’d happily travel with for ages. Lee is a definite force in diverse historical YA.” (Dahlia Adler, founder of LGBTQ Reads and author of UNDER THE LIGHTS)
“The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a Grand Tour all its own. Hilarious and romantic, adventurous and scandalous, Monty’s adventures are just as delightful as Monty himself. I adored this book!” (Rachel Hawkins, author of the Rebel Belle series)
“Sweet, smart, and powerful, Gentleman’s Guide tackles timely topics that will resonate profoundly with readers--all wrapped up in a truly epic road trip. Prepare to laugh, gasp, swoon, and cheer.” (Claire Legrand, author of the Winterspell series)
“A delightful romp of a road-trip through eighteenth century Europe, packed with witty dialog, razor-sharp pacing, and the perfect amount of swoon. You should abso-bloody-lutely read this book.” (Erin Bowman, author of VENGEANCE ROAD)
“Vice has never been more charming and virtue never more daring than in Mackenzie Lee’s superbly written globetrotting adventure. Not since Hamilton the musical has the 18th century been this much fun.” (Amy Cherrix, Malaprop's Bookstore)
“An incomparably delightful historical romp. I was swept away by Monty’s incorrigible voice from the very first page, and the rest of this confident adventure tale did not disappoint. Lee’s sophomore novel has heart, depth, and an abundance of wisecracks from a protagonist you can’t help but adore.” (Rebecca Wells, Porter Square Books)
“Simultaneously harrowing and hilarious, everything about this book from the serious questions posed about sexuality, chronic illness, and social inequality to the extraordinary journey Monty, his best friend, and his sister find themselves on make Mackenzi Lee’s latest the kind of book you’d be a fool to miss.” (Gaby Salpeter, Books of Wonder)
“Monty and Percy are insanely shippable from page one, and quickly became one of my favorite YA couples of all time.” (Rachel Strolle, Anderson's Bookshop)
“The John Hughes of queer 18th century adventure novels with an alchemical heart at its center. Lee perfectly captures teen humor and angst. I can’t wait to see what she writes next!” (Alsace Walentine, Tombolo Books)
“I can’t wait to get this book in my store—I know my customers looking for historical fiction and LGBTQ stories will adore GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE as much as I have!” (Clarissa Hadge, Trident Booksellers)
“Filled with highwaymen, pirates, and heart pounding exploits of a romantic nature, this is the summer road-trip adventure you’ve been waiting for.” (Marika McCoola, Porter Square Books)
“With roguish charm, sly wit, and tender heart, THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE is a shameless flirt of a novel. If Monty and Percy hadn’t already stolen my heart, I would surrender it to them gladly.” (Wendy Darling, The Midnight Garden)
“Wonderfully refreshing. A delightful, thoughtful, hilarious read.” (Maggie Kane, Between the Covers)
“An adventurous romp through 18th-century Europe with a trio of unforgettable characters. Lee weaves together the fun and the fantastical with a conversation on historical privilege that will resonate with modern readers. Perfect for fans of LA Meyer’s Bloody Jack series. Expect to fall in love with this book!” (Nicole Brinkley, Oblong Books)
An elegant, colorful, swashbuckling good time of a read and a beautiful addition to the LGBTQ+ genre. This is a great novel for upper YA readers and a great adult cross-over title. I definitely have a book hangover after finishing this gem. (Amanda Zirn, Bethany Beach Books)
“A Marauder’s Map of the heart, full of pirates, highwaymen, humor and romance. Mischief managed brilliantly!” (Chris Abouzeid, Co-Owner, Belmont Books)
“Lee’s rip-roaring, genre-trampling, beautifully affirmative novel absolutely lives up to the hype, whisking readers off on a breathless and refreshingly unique adventure.” (RT Book Reviews)
From the Back Cover
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.
Top customer reviews
IN a time where scandal was just a step too close to a young woman or one glance away, this novel is a comical, heartwrenching novel about Henry "Monty" Montague, his sister Felicity and Monty's best friend, Percy Newton.
This novel tackled everything that would have been controversial for its time period, disorders, infidelity, rakish behavior, child abuse, piracy, homosexuality and.... wait for the most absurd of them all - a brilliant female. One who can think, read and perform better than a male? Say it ain't so!
It was an adventurous trip from the start, truly. I think so far this is my favorite read of 2017. It was pure heart-wrenching entertainment, a trip in every way. Monty's narrative was utterly ridiculous, humorous and glorious! From the start we know his relationship with his father is taxed, he must act accordingly so that he may keep the honor that surrounds the title and estate that will one day belong to him. Except, Monty has other ideas of how he should act and while dear o'l daddy has planned this Grand Tour - leave it to Monty to somehow cast everything into chaos.
Each of the characters had personality bursting at the seams, Percy was a complete darling, his story and the twist along the way, Felicity was a fierce, witty young woman. The banter provided between Monty and Felicity had me giggling out loud - actually - the entirety of the book had me giggling out loud.
Was it all that I had imagined? No, it was more than that. As I was reading it I couldn't believe what was happening, one moment I was crying tears of laughter, the next blinking incredulously, the next holding my heart which was torn from my chest. It was a brilliant reminder of why I picked it up in the first place, it was all over my feeds, haunting me on Amazon and I couldn't put it off any longer.
In the end, I had a serious book hangover, but it was so beautiful, so witty and addictive.
Will I be reading The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy - Felicity's story? Well... You can bet your bottom dollar I will.
What I knew after reading this book: it is nonstop shenanigans and I adored every single page.
This is my first time reading Mackenzi Lee's writing, and I really enjoyed it. With Monty as the narrator, it felt every bit the part of being stuck inside the head of a wild, reckless teen boy in the 18th century. When he ached, I ached for him; when he laughed, I smiled.
This story is just fun. It has its heartbreaking moments - quite a few of them, in fact - but at its core, it's an adventure story, a love story, a story of growth and self-acceptance, and so much more.
Mackenzi has a way of making social remarks in such a down-to-earth, understandable way. There are a handful of discussions on homosexuality/bisexuality, as well as gender roles - such as Felicity's desire to practice medicine, meanwhile Monty has no desires to be lord of his father's estates. Monty also describes himself as being small in stature more than once, pointing out how much the insults to his height and form have damaged his self-view.
More than anything, I loved the discussions regarding racism in the 18th century - especially because the discussions usually felt so relevant to modern times, too. We see Percy treated poorly time and time again for his dark skin, and it's always addressed, but my favorite exchange was actually during a scene in which Monty uses his white, English appearance to get Scipio and the rest of the crew out of trouble. I won't spoil anything, but at the end of the exchange, Monty essentially asks for an apology/thank-you, and Scipio wrecks the White Savior Complex before it can even begin:
“There is nothing good about watching another man claim your ship because your skin is too dark to do it yourself," he says, each word a glancing wound. "So in future, you needn't demand apologies on my behalf.”
I had been increasingly worried that Monty's status as the only white guy around was going to become problematic, but nope - more than once, he was humbled and brought to the realization that his efforts didn't always come from as healthy of a place as he thought they did.
The final thing I want to bring attention to is Percy's epilepsy, and how Mackenzi Lee handled it; she showed how backwards the general views on misunderstood ailments were at the time (such as people believing epilepsy was caused by demonic possession or mental illness), but there are also some really great tidbits here and there about living with a lifelong illness.
I literally only had one complaint about the entire book, and it's not really a complaint as much as it is a note to the editor: in several instances, pieces of dialogue are placed in closed quotations, with no indication to who is speaking. Maybe part of it is due to the fact that I read a lot of this book late at night while being very tired, but I kept having to go back and reread paragraphs to try and make sense of who said what.
This book is beyond wonderful, and I think that everyone needs to read it. It's a delightful adventure story written around an adorable romance and it's just fun. If you pick this one up, you're in for a heck of a good ride.
Look, this has pirates and highwaymen and court intrigue, cute boys pining, a little sister who does not need finishing (thank you, very much), and, ultimately, a hopeful ending. A fresh and fun adventure romp!
Full of history, love, and adventure, this book is everything I wanted it to be and more.