The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
by Mackenzi Lee
Read By Christian Coulson
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
I resisted picking up this book, just because historical fiction just isn’t my cup of tea, even when other people just gush over one. But this one seemed different and all the reviews that kept popping up kept hinting about things that I started to think that maybe I would like this one. I am glad that I finally decided to pick it up and the audio book was excellent as well.
I loved Monty, he is such an interestingly flawed character, and is so self centered that I found myself chuckling at his thoughts and statements throughout the book. His attitudes towards life and others almost makes you not want to like him, but you can’t help yourself, he is just so adorable. I also really liked his relationship with Percy, even when he was acting like an idiot towards him. I liked that he didn’t think it was a big deal that Percy was mixed race, although the issue does occasionally slap him in the face when they are out in society.
Percy was also a charming and adorable character. I loved how he could put up with Monty’s antics, but still manage to love him despite all of his faults. I think I would have liked to see a few chapters written from Percy’s point of view, mostly to see his thoughts about his role in a society that did not necessarily except him.
Felicity was often the voice of reason in their journey and she was also fun to watch in her interactions with her brother. She was maybe a bit to modern in her thinking for the time period, which was fine. There probably were women who thought like she did, but most don’t act on it like she does. I was glad to see that she is getting her own book next year, which I will definitely be picking up when it comes out.
The plot of the story was very well thought out and made it quite hard to stop listening to the story at times. It was an exciting listen, with many twists and turns to the story. It wasn’t overly predictable either which always makes for a better book. It was also fun to see how a trio of gentry coped with traveling rough, not well but better than one would think. It was also interesting to see how they coped with being able to get funds back in a time when you couldn’t just walk up to a machine to get money. It was nice historical touch.
I highly recommend the audio book. Christian Coulson does an excellent job. He has a good solid voice and really made me feel like I was in Monty’s head and thoughts most of the time. I will be keeping an eye out for more books narrated by him.
If you have not read this book yet, you really need to either add it to your TBR or move it up the list. It is a very entertaining read, even for someone who doesn’t enjoy historical fiction much.