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The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings Book 1) Kindle Edition
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A Kirkus Prize nominee and Stonewall Honor winner with 5 starred reviews! A New York Times bestseller!
Named one of the best books of 2017 by NPR and the New York Public Library!
"Thequeer teen historical you didn’t know was missing from your life.”—Teen Vogue
"A stunning powerhouse of a story."—School Library Journal
"A gleeful romp through history."—ALA Booklist
A young bisexual British lord embarks on an unforgettable Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend/secret crush. An 18th-century romantic adventure for the modern age written by This Monstrous Thing author Mackenzi Lee—Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets the 1700s.
Henry “Monty” Montague doesn’t care that his roguish passions are far from suitable for the gentleman he was born to be. But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quests for pleasure and vice are 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.
So Monty 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, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.
Witty, dazzling, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is an irresistible romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.
Don't miss Felicity's adventures in The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, the highly anticipated sequel!
★ "A gloriously swashbuckling affair."--Publishers Weekly(starred review)
★ "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)
"A rollicking ride that also turns a keen eye to issues like class, racism, homosexuality, and identity."--Brightly
"If you've ever mentally shouted 'NOW KISS' at a pair of fictional male best friends, this is the book for you."--NPR
★ "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)
★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)
"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
"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
"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 --This text refers to the paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
KIRKUS PRIZE NOMINEE
ONE OF NPR'S BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY BEST BOOK FOR TEENS
NEIBA NEW ENGLAND YOUNG ADULT BOOK AWARD WINNER
Witty, romantic, and irresistible from the first line to the last, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is the unforgettable escapade of Lord Henry "Monty" Montague, a charming young scoundrel who fully expects to carouse his way through his Grand Tour. However, Monty's plan for one last hedonistic hurrah with his best friend and secret crush, Percy, quickly turns into a harrowing manhunt across eighteenth-century Europe. Truly a novel that's meant to be savored and not to be missed.--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B01M0WRN4B
- Publisher : Katherine Tegen Books (27 June 2017)
- Language : English
- File size : 5551 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 518 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 21,072 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in Australia on 5 November 2020
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"What do you want me to say? Yes, I'm ill. I'm an epileptic—that's my lot.
It isn't easy and it isn't very enjoyable but this is what I've got to live with This is who I am, and I don't think I'm insane. I don't think I should be locked up and I don't think I need to be cured of it for my life to be good." - Percy Newton
First off I need to say I am epileptic and what convinced me to add this to my theoretical I-must-read-this-asap-like-yesterday list was one of the characters epileptic status. I have never read a book with epilepsy featuring as anything other than a throwaway thing, or a strict hurdle to be overcome, never read it as a key plot point. This is an accurate representation of life with epilepsy, the feelings, the emotions, the hiding in my reading (because lord knows not much has changed since the 1700s, no cure and we can still be social pariahs). It is so important for all people to have some sort of mirror a way to see themselves in fiction when needed. While The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue isn't perfect, as a representation of how an epileptic feels even now it is a masterclass. For that alone, it deserves and gets 5 stars.
Moving on to more brilliance I'm all for bisexuality in fiction and the problematic protagonist and narrator is bisexual, with his main interest being male. The whole story is his redemptive arc. But his starting point the insulting sexist rake is a bit much. Though very much of the time I guess. His shining lights are his devotion to his loved ones, his humour (the goblin...) and honestly his abused past. His past is a huge part of who he is, why he is the way he is, and sadly something that people might relate to and see another way. Percy is also relatable a half-caste (what is the correct term for that?) epileptic orphan, though to an entirely different set of people and he serves as a reminder to be yourself more than be better. Monty and Percy are two sides of the same coin or tarot card as is the case. During the course of the book, there is a tarot reading in which Monty gets the King of Cups reversed. The reader gives both the straight interpretation and the reversed interpretation the former describes Percy the later Monty. The primary female character is the intelligent, independent, feminist Felicity. The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy the next book in the series is hers and looks just as intriguing. Together the three characters work spectacularly well they are diverse and will all appeal to different people.
As for the story well the idea of a grand tour appeals to me. I'm going, to be honest, I didn't see the ending coming, I guess the signs were there but they aren't screaming at you. It is a tremendous amount of fun conveying all the enjoyment that could be had by a young adult on their grand tour. The writing is witty and paced well never falling into a rut. It is also quotable because t is so funny and relatable. Monty and Percy have a conversation fairly early on that deals with Monty's abuse, his father and the impact it is having on him, that 3-page conversation is possibly one of my favourite passages in the book. It is honest and brutal and the core of their whole deal. It is fantastic writing. The sectioning by location was a very clever way to break the book up, at over 500 pages it isn't small but the sections make targeted reading easy. The inclusion of brief notes on the grand tour, politics, epilepsy, race relations in eighteenth-century Europe and queer culture was intelligent helpful.
I'm going to refer to this in public as my purple pride or team purple book from now on. Purple is the colour of epilepsy awareness and has extremely strong meaning in the bisexual community. Gentleman's Guide flies the flag for both camps without fear and tells a young audience it is okay you aren't broken, there are others.
It is so easy to see why The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue has had so much praise, it is well written historical fiction for young adults dealing with a medical condition and diverse sexuality. This is one for the epileptics to read and enjoy (you will see something of yourself) and for anyone who wants to try to understand. There is definitely something here for historical fiction fans too, Ms Lee has done a wonderful job with her research while making it so readable.
Despite these complaints, it was an enjoyable read overall. I wish the editor had been more thorough, but it's worth a read if you enjoy the genre.
Only complaint is around the main character's lack of agency. There were a bunch of times when I really wanted Monty to sit up and act. But I can understand how that didn't really fit into his character.
All up a solid 4 stars & solid recommendation.
I don’t know if I built up how amazing this one would be in my head because all my friends adored it but I honestly just didn’t like Monty. Percy and Felicity were fantastic but Monty just made me go ‘meh’.
Top reviews from other countries
The story itself was amazing. An adventure. A romance. It had pirates!! It made me so happy to see such a wonderful bi character in Monty. There was also gay rep and I'm certain there was a-sexual rep, which I hope will be made more clear in The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy! There was a strong female, a character with epilepsy, one of the main trio was a POC, and I don't think this book took a single wrong step. It's tied with Strange The Dreamer as my favourite book of 2017.
I've got so much praise for this book. I might even read it again soon. I cannot wait for the next adventure!
The basic premise is that our main character, Monty, is about to depart on his Grand Tour in the way that all well-heeled young men of the Regency period were wont to do, in his case accompanied by his best friend (and unrequited love interest) Percy. They've also been given the task of depositing Monty's sister at a finishing school on the way and given strict instructions about what they can and can't do. Likewise, at the end of their time together, Percy is supposed to be going off to university in Holland and Monty is already bemoaning that separation.
After Monty follows his dick into trouble in Paris, as well as proving himself to be more than a little light-fingered, trouble starts to follow them. The trio end up separated from their chaperone and on the run, as well as a few things about Percy coming into the open. This is where, for me, the plot starts to go off the rails a bit and the author really should have considered not throwing twelve more plot ideas into the book just in case.
I almost gave this book 3 stars instead of 4 because of Monty, who is pretty much insufferable most of the time. It's rescued by the character of Felicity, who has all the common sense her brother lacks, while Percy still remains a bit two-dimensional at times. Anyway, apparently there's another book which follows on from this one but from Felicity's point of view - 'The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy' - due out later in 2018.
This book is sometimes funny but then it has to be when it deals with violence, substance abuse and homophobia. The rest of the time it is one breathless adventure after the next. And that's where my problem lies with the story: Too much happens. I know, most of the time people are complaining about too little happening but here, it's as if so much happens that I just didn't care much any more by the third or fourth life-or-death situation. It doesn't help that Monty, our hero, is not a very likeable person. He takes about 480 pages to realise that he is entitled and spoiled and should maybe change his ways. But by then, the book is over.
I still recommend the book to everyone who is a fan of YA literature, because I know they will love it. Can't wait for the inevitable mini series to hit our streaming services very soon .
This easily could have been a frustrating, infuriating book. It takes a very good author to write a character who grows significantly as a person throughout a story, and boy does Lee do that well with Monty. Monty is privileged in many ways; he's white, male and wealthy and has been able to get away with his reckless behaviour because he's white, male and wealthy. He's been privileged since birth and, as such, he doesn't comprehend how life isn't as easy for his sister, Felicity, and his mixed race best friend, Percy.
Could it be frustrating to be reading a story from the point of view of someone who's had so much handed to him on a plate and taken it for granted? Yes, but Lee writes Monty so well that he is a sympathetic character. What's important about Monty's story is that he does grow as a person, at a natural pace, and we can see how he changes and why he changes which, as a reader, is very rewarding. When all Monty has known is the privilege he was born with we can't punish him for that privilege, instead he has to learn for himself to be aware of that privilege, and it was so refreshing to follow a protagonist in historical fiction who isn't 'ahead of their time'. So often in historical fiction protagonists feel like 21st century people in costume because authors don't want their characters to be so unrelatable that they're unlikeable, but Lee isn't afraid to make Monty a product of his time and his upbringing and still, ultimately, a good person, and I love this book because of it.
I was also a huge fan of the romance. It can be difficult to write a relationship that goes from friendship to romance well, but the chemistry between Monty and Percy is delicious and believable and I couldn't stop grinning whenever the two of them were together. Percy might well be my favourite character in the novel, I adored him.
Lee gets bonus points from me, too, for not shying away from the racism and homophobia that was rampant in the 18th century; Monty himself is completely aware that, were his sexuality known by the wrong people, he could be executed for sodomy, but that doesn't stop him from pursuing relationships with other men because that's part of who he is. Poor Percy, on the other hand, faces discrimination from all angles being both mixed race and non-heterosexual, but Lee still writes him as a fleshed-out young man who just so happens to be these things and not a metaphoric victim.
The only small issue I had with this novel was the fantastical element which, to me, seemed to pop up out of nowhere and jarred me a little. It wasn't bad by any means, and it certainly didn't spoil what is a brilliant book, but I wasn't expecting it and I'm not sure it needed to be there. It's difficult to discuss without spoilers but the idea of a magical (for lack of a better word) panacea certainly gave the plot some direction, I just wasn't expecting this supernatural cure-all to be real within the story. If you've read it then hopefully you'll know what I mean, because I'm fairly sure I'm not making any sense. The review skills are strong with this one.
All in all this was a fun, entertaining and fast-paced read that also packed an emotional punch, fantastic character development and a whole lot of historical context. I loved it!
The reason this is 4 stars instead of 5 is for a couple of reasons, I think it was a little slow in places. I also thought the ending was rushed and would have liked a bit more of an epilogue. The climax of the main relationship while resolved doesn’t feel 100% satisfactory because it’s resolved and then the book ends abruptly. There’s not enough closure for me.
I love the world building and historical setting, I thought some of the political and racial issues in the book were well done though they made me slightly uncomfortable because of how they played out. Though these would be true to that era.
I thought the exploration of the character’s sexuality was brilliant. Particularly brilliant given the era and setting of the novel.
This book is so close to 5 stars. I adored it and would highly recommend this to anyone after a good quality story.