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Montague Siblings #1

Ghid de vicii și virtuți pentru gentlemeni

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Henry „Monty” Montague a primit o educație aleasă, în speranța că va deveni un gentleman perfect. Tânărul însă este un spirit neîmblânzit, pe care nici șederile în cele mai distinse școli din Anglia, nici corecțiile fizice aplicate cu încrâncenare de severul său tată nu reușesc să îl lecuiască de pasiunea pentru jocurile de noroc, băutură și idilele cu bărbați și femei deopotrivă. Pornit în Marele Tur al Continentului, împreună cu cicălitoarea, dar inteligenta lui soră mai mică, Felicity, și avându-l alături pe cel mai bun prieten al său, Percy, un boiernaș de țară mulatru, de care e îndrăgostit până peste cap, Monty este hotărât să dea uitării toate constrângerile și să se distreze cum nu a mai făcut-o vreodată. Când însă dă dovadă de nesăbuință și își însușește un obiect misterios de la curtea regală franceză, călătoria de plăcere se transformă într-o aventură în toată regula, din care nu lipsesc tâlharii la drumul mare, pirații, secretele alchimice și întâmplările romantice.

448 pages, Paperback

First published June 27, 2017

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Mackenzi Lee

14 books8,307 followers
Mackenzi Lee writes books you might have read. And she no longer uses Goodreads or accepts friend requests.

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Profile Image for chai ♡.
321 reviews153k followers
January 9, 2022
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to go courting trouble, is all.”
“We’re not courting trouble,” I say. “Flirting with it, at most.”

I honest to god wish this book would take human form and come fall in love with me.

I love this book with all my usually empty 7 hearts that just inflated 6 sizes and I think my ribs might actually crack. This book was so pure it wasn’t made for earth. This was the best thing that’s happened to humanity since sliced bread. This was better than shaking hands with dumbledore, better than winning the house cup, better than drarry actually being canon!

So here are some reasons why you should cancel all relationships from today onward to focus on this book:

a historical fiction that isn't mostly about straight white people
✨ the most entertaining historical road trip ever
✨ before I die, I want to go on a similar tour, preferably with whoever my future person ends up being. if you're my soulmate please start the itinerary
✨ the "grumpy jerk and actual real life moonbeam are best friends" trope
✨ the "mutual seemingly unrequited pining" trope
✨ the "friends to lovers" trope
✨ the "we have to share a bed but we're both going to pretend we're not happy about this situation" trope
 ✨ Henry Montague—the most lovable bisexual dickhead on the earth, whose smile could distinguish a million stars and realign planets and could topple nations with the force of the power unleashed and who's literally such a moron oh my god
✨ he's the kind of person who would get himself into a bad situation and just continue to dig his own grave rather than ask for help
✨ and I'm sorry to break this to you Monty, but it seems as if I have cared about you so hard that you are now officially my son. I'm not happy about this either. In fact, I am very disappointed in you
Percy Newton—actual ray of sunshine and the embodiment of every moment anyone has looked at the sunset and had a Moment thinking about how lucky they are to witness the beauty of nature
✨ I can’t back this up with science but I’m sure Percy can harness the sun's warmth and power and bring harmony to human relations and begin an age of peace
✨ he’s of a good heart and I love him so much I wish I could wrap him in blankets and hold his hand and do that little thumb rubby thingy I just hope he's content!
✨ the kind of OTP that will occupy a very large % of your thoughts
✨ thank you for blinding me with your love ...I might have lost my vision but now I Understand
✨ no seriously, if you're interested in seeing me have a complete breakdown, just give me an otp where person A spends 90% of their productive time looking at person B with softness and wonder while person B is completely unaware.... just to find out later that their feelings are reciprocated after long months/years of longing and suffering
✨ also, I’m very happy to publicly announce that the word “darling” is no longer vaguely condescending. Monty and Percy have revived its affectionate and superior meaning. Let’s give it its moment again!
Felicity “ladies haven’t the luxury of being squeamish about blood” Montague—the most badass, soft and gentle but also cutthroat girl and who's also THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AND DESERVING MERMAID IN THE SEVEN SEAS AND ALSO THE SEAS THAT WE ARE UNAWARE OF ON OTHER PLANETS
✨ a disabled MC whose disability doesn't define him or make him any less desirable or worthy of love and respect
✨ the MCs fall hostages to said pirates but they end up bonding over a game of dice because at this point why not really?
✨ and together they, let's see:
✨ dupe the french navy, turn up corpses and sink an entire bloody island
✨ also at one point, Monty runs naked from the French palace after being caught with a woman in a duke's chambers
✨ oh and did I mention that he stole a valuable object from the French king and actually thought that running in the streets of Marseille with only said object (literally only: he's goddamn naked) was the most brilliant idea in all recorded human time?
✨ anyway, please bury my body where Henry Montague first went streaking in the gardens of Versailles
✨ but most important of all, because this is a historical fiction that acknowledges the fact that people of color, disabled people and queer people existed in the 18th century and acknowledges all the hardships they have faced.

re-read 17-23/08/17: the audiobook was everything.

If you liked this review or found it useful and are feeling generous, please consider supporting me on ko-fi !
Profile Image for Rick Riordan.
Author 508 books403k followers
February 1, 2019
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

YA adventure, own voices queer rep.

I loved this novel, and not even just because one of the main characters is named Percy!

Set in the 1700s, it’s the story of Henry “Monty” Montague, who is embarking on his Grand Tour of Europe -- one last teenage year of wildness and oat-sewing before he is supposed to take over as his father’s heir and get down to the deadly boring business of being an adult.

If a year traveling around Europe sounds awesome to you, think again. For one thing, Monty has just gotten kicked out of university for having an affair with another young man. His father, after beating Monty severely, has warned him that he will come back from his Grand Tour ready to be a proper young gentleman or he will be disinherited and left penniless. Henry is given a strict chaperone who will make sure the trip is “educational.” Ugh.

To make matters worse, Monty’s younger sister Felicity is tagging along. She is every bit as headstrong and untraditional as Monty, which means they butt heads and get on each other’s nerves as only siblings can.

Then there’s Monty’s best friend Percy, a compassionate and gorgeous young man who was the product of his English father’s affair with a woman of African descent in the West Indies. Monty and Percy have grown up together and have always been close. The Grand Tour is meant to be their final year together before Monty comes home to run the estate and Percy goes off to law school in Holland.

The biggest issue: Monty has recently fallen madly and hopelessly in love with his best friend. He is afraid to say anything in case Percy doesn’t feel the same way. He is afraid to ruin his friendship. But he also can’t stand the idea of not saying anything and then never seeing Percy again. What’s a fellow to do?

We follow Monty, Percy and Felicity on their Grand Tour, which quickly goes off the rails in every conceivable way. There are scandals, highway robbers, mad scientists, pirates, evil nobles, daring escapes and impossible dilemmas. And of course, there is a twisting, turning, haunting love story as Henry struggles to let Percy know how he really feels.

So much to love about this book. Monty narrates the whole thing first person, and his voice is clever, funny, wry and as unabashedly bisexual as imaginable for a young man of the 18th Century. (Apollo from The Trials of Apollo would heartily approve of Monty’s observations on life and love.) Monty is not a perfect protagonist in many ways: He is sometimes arrogant, narcissistic, self-absorbed, and unmotivated to do anything besides drink, game and dream about Percy, but we never lose sympathy for him because he is so wounded, so unsure of himself and so determined to figure out how to come to terms with being in love.

Percy is a brilliant character as well. He struggles to make Monty understand what his life is like as a dark-skinned man in Europe. He cares about his friend, even when he is exasperated by Monty’s thick-headedness. Percy is also hiding a huge secret that affects how he sees Monty and his own future. He may not be going to law school at the end of their Grand Tour. The true is, in fact, much grimmer . . .

As for Felicity, Monty’s younger sister, she is chafing against the limitations placed upon her because of her gender. She wants to go to medical school and become a doctor, not to finishing school to be a proper lady. She resents that her brother gets all the advantages and seems to just throw them away. But as their adventures begin, Felicity will find unexpected ways to shine.

This book works as a love story, but it is also a rollicking adventure that includes a great mystery. It tackles issues like gender, race, sexuality, disability and physical abuse in the 1700s without ever losing steam or feeling preachy. It raises thorny questions that have no easy answers. Readers will be rooting for Monty, Percy and Felicity, but at times it may seem impossible that the threesome will reach their individual goals for happiness when so much is against them. I would highly recommend this book if you like reads such as THE SONG OF ACHILLES or ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE.

I didn’t want to leave these characters behind. Fortunately there is a sequel, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY, following the adventures of Felicity. Sign me up!
(I discovered this book thanks to the site Queer Books for Teens.)
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews294k followers
June 10, 2017
As we sail across the Channel toward Calais, this is what I’m thinking of—Percy and me and England sinking into the sea behind us, and also French lads and their tight breeches and, zounds, I can’t wait to get to Paris. I am also maybe a tiny bit drunk.

This book is wonderful! Just so so much fun. It's light, it's silly, and I just couldn't stop giggling to myself from start to finish. It reminds me of My Lady Jane, but with lots of gay love and drunken shenanigans.

Henry Montague, or "Monty" to those close to him, is about to set out on a Grand Tour of Europe with his sister and best friend, Percy. From Paris, through Marseilles, Barcelona, and Venice, to finally arrive on the beautiful island of Santorini. I'm jealous just thinking about it. He had initially planned a trip full of drink, love affairs, and merriment, but his father is trying to ruin his plans by sending Mr Lockwood to watch over him and put a stop to any scandalous behaviour. So, of course, Monty being Monty, the trip is full of drink, love affairs, and merriment. Only, he gets way more than he bargained for.

Pirates and highwaymen make appearances on the journey, and they all seem out to ruin Monty's good time. And if that wasn't enough, Monty's not-so-platonic feelings for his good friend Percy just won't go away.
The great tragic love story of Percy and me is neither great nor truly a love story, and is tragic only for its single-sidedness. It is also not an epic monolith that has plagued me since boyhood, as might be expected. Rather, it is simply the tale of how two people can be important to each other their whole lives, and then, one morning, quite without meaning to, one of them wakes to find that importance has been magnified into a sudden and intense desire to put his tongue in the other’s mouth.

Humour is highly subjective, but I found it hilarious. There's just something so delightful about watching British high society men being buffoons. Monty's narration is immature and silly, often sarcastic, and yet he is so damn lovable. Of course, his ridiculous actions land the group in trouble again and again, but it is very entertaining to watch.

I really enjoyed this historical romantic comedy. The whirlwind of European tourism served as an exciting backdrop for the rest of the action and romance. Monty and Percy have the perfect amount of sexual tension/love angst and I ship them so hard. And the ending made me smile so freaking much.

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Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
317 reviews116k followers
February 13, 2018

CW: child abuse, alcoholism, abelism, racism

I absolutely loved The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue. It blew away all of my expectations. I went in expecting a cutesy YA m/m romance novel set in the 1700s, but it was so much more! This novel is full of action, adventure, feminism, a sassy narrator, high stakes, (AND a cutest m/m romance).

I loved all the main characters - they are a terrific trio. Monty is particularly interesting to me because his addictions and recklessness make him potentially unlikable, but his sass, quick wit, and vulnerability make him impossible to love. Percy is such a mush - he is a precious lil bean who deserves the world for his kindheartedness. Also, kudos to the author for including epilepsy representation. I've grown up in a household with a parent who gets seizures and it's an immensely difficult thing to experience, but I'm especially pleased it was addressed within an 18th century context. Additionally, Felicity is a badass. I am SO HERE FOR women breaking societal norms and pursuing careers in fields like medicine. She is the Hermione of Monty and Percy and they would never have accomplished their feats without her. That being said, each character plays a crucial role in the strength of their relationship and they are all essential to the success of their endeavors.

I'm not normally a historical fiction reader, but this novel is truly unique. The super comedic relief and the high-intensity action makes it entirely different from most historical YA novels I've read in the past. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for a new novel with gay/bisexual characters, setting in 18th century Europe, intense action, and hysterical writing. So worth the hype!!
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,084 reviews17.5k followers
August 12, 2019
“Are you going to give me the fornication without the intention of procreation is of the devil and a crime lecture? I believe I could recite it from memory by now.”
“Perhaps I am trying to procreate with all these lads and I’m just very misinformed about the whole process. If only Eton hadn’t thrown me out.”

Wow, so I expected cute and amusing, but I did not expect to find both the funniest thing I've ever read, and also one of the most unfortunately-personally-relevant-to-me things I have ever read. This book means the world to me.

[Also, THIS MADE ME SO HAPPY. I literally do not remember the last time I enjoyed reading a book so much. Even my reading slump couldn't conquer this book. After I got off my slump-creating kindle and on to the hardcover copy I read at the bookstore, I read this in less than 24 hours. YES.]

Just to be clear: I love pretty much everything about this book. It's fantastically paced, especially for such a long book - I mean, it broke my reading slump. It's hilarious - I laughed out loud multiple times. The romance is adorable and has some of the best development I've read in YA. Monty's character development was 10/10. The holy trinity at the center of the book is a ton of fun. Maybe I'll even talk more about this later and add something to this review. But you know what? You can find a thousand reviews about how cool everything in this book is. I want to talk about why this book was worth reading for me.

There are two things - no, three things - about this book that I think are really special. First of all, Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is hilarious, but not so light as to be flimsy. Not to shade every other book ever but this is 1) my niche category of favorite book and 2) a balance I think most books fail at; either we get books that are nothing but fluff, or books that are nothing but tragedy. This book is neither. It's dark, but it's also hopeful. When a book feels too light, it's escapist; when it feels too dark, it's depressing. This book made me feel like the universe doesn't suck too much. Just because people are survivors of abuse or trauma doesn't mean we always need to be in a world of angst.

Secondly - I feel like such a pretentious asshole - I love the themes here about not needing to be cured to be an important person. You have no idea how rare it is for chronically ill / disabled / neuroatypical people to be treated as whole, to be treated as real. This book really explores the fact that Percy doesn't want to be cured; he just wants to be treated like a full person. I have never read a book that even mentioned this feeling. It was... perfect. God, I can't put every emotion I felt about this into a full sentence. Just... if you're looking for this theme, please pick this book up.

Third, and maybe most important; this is historical fiction about people who don't get historical fiction. People love to declaim about how the historical fiction genre doesn't need diversity because, apparently, the only people who existed back then were white, straight, and abled. Which is serious bullshit. People like us have always existed; we just don't get books, especially historical fiction. Seeing representation like this in historical fiction is seriously new and it means the fucking WORLD to me.

The great tragic love story of Percy and me is neither great nor truly a love story, and is tragic only for its single-sidedness. It is also not an epic monolith that has plagued me since boyhood, as might be expected. Rather, it is simply the tale of how two people can be important to each other their whole lives, and then, one morning, quite without meaning to, one of them wakes to find that importance has been magnified into a sudden and intense desire to put his tongue in the other’s mouth.

And yet simultaneously it's so sweet. Like, someone tell me why this book invented romance and being in love.

This is a cute historical romcom focusing on people who don't get historical fiction because the world used to hate us. It's adorable and hilarious and important and I had so much fun reading it.

And this part from the author's note made me cry:
— Which begs the question - would a long term relationship between two English men during the eighteenth century have been a real possibility? I don't know. They likely would not have been able to be open about it. But the optimist in me likes to believe that the twenty-first century is not the first time in history that queer people have been able to live full romantic and sexual lives with the people they love.
And if that makes me anachronistic, so be it.

God bless.

And yes, I agree with this.

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Profile Image for Claudia Lomelí.
Author 11 books75.3k followers
August 5, 2017
Monty, Percy and Felicity are my new golden trio.

PS. Also, Felicity is GOALS. I love her and I want to be like her when I grow up. Seriously, one of my favorite female characters ever.
Profile Image for Maria.
65 reviews8,490 followers
March 25, 2019
4.6/5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

“We are not broken things, neither of us. We are cracked pottery mended with laquer and flakes of gold, whole as we are, complete unto each other. Complete and worthy and so very loved.”

I underestimated this book immensely. I thought it would be a light-hearted, fluffy, cute, funny and romantic gay love story set in the 18th century England but it was so much more than that. It was deep, it was heart wrenching, it was profound, it was adventurous, it was emotional, it was so many things I never thought it would be. It contained strong, weak, flawed, clever and real characters who made mistakes who came back from them and corrected them. In addition, it touched difficult topics such as homophobia, sexism, racism, house violence which were exceptionally prominent at the time.

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 read this book in 3 sittings which doesn't happen too often for me. The pace of this book was so quick, there was always something happening to keep me on my toes, I couldn't leave it down. I like books with quick pace that don't let me get bored by them and leave them down for another time. This was one of them.

The author also succeeded in making the protagonist feel real. Monty, a rich privileged rake, a fuck-everyone-and-everything-that-walks-on-this-earth bugger, a weak selfish and dramatic bitch who makes the worst and also the best decisions at the same time. Monty, a man in love with his best friend, Percy, a not so little wounded puppy that needs love, Monty a man who will shake up the earth to save his beloved Percy. I loved and hated at times this character with my whole being. I wanted to protect him and also slap him in the face for making bad decisions and saying the wrong shit all the time. I love characters like that. Raw characters who think vile thoughts and do selfish things like we humans do. Thank you, author, for this character.

We also got Felicity. My personal role model, a warrior of her time, a clever bitch who will fuck you up with a single stare. I abso-fucking-lutely adored her. She is a girl too smart, too mature and too independent for her time and age who is trying to overthrow stereotypes surrounding women of the time and become a doctor. I'm so glad the next book will be about her, I can't wait to read her adventures.

I also appreciated, as a Greek girl, the Santorini mentions at the end and I'm so glad they're gonna stay there! It makes me really happy when they make Greek mentions in books, television and movies, it makes my Greek heart die a little.

Last but certainly not least, the ship I shipped in this book since the first sentence, Monty and Percy. MY LITTLE SHIPPER HEART IS DYING BECAUSE OF THEM. I wanted to kill them both for making such ill-fated decisions and stepping away from each other! LIKE YOU'RE BOTH IN LOVE WITH EACH OTHER JUST SAY IT OR I WILL SAY IT FOR YOU!!! This ship was a mad train from the beginning to the end and I was so glad we got to experience their relationship.

Ok, if I continue with this review I will literally pass the 16912 characters left as of now, so I will leave it here. This book was spectacular and I will definitely order the next one in the series! AND TILL THE NEXT ONE K BYE!
Profile Image for jessica.
2,535 reviews32.5k followers
November 19, 2019
its been over a year since i read this and you would not believe how often i think about the guy on the cover. has anyone seen this episode of the office where michael falls in love with the chair model he sees in the office supply catalog? thats how i feel about this guy. except i hope hes doing a lot better than the chair model. lol.


goodness me, that was quite the ride! i had no idea this was historical fiction, so i went into this totally expecting ‘lads on tour’ but instead got ‘the journey of the century.’ and i completely underestimated how great this book would be - while it gave me fun summer road trip among friends vibes, it was so much more than that. i actually felt like i learnt a lot whilst reading this, and it also had some really deep and touching moments. the adventure, the romance, the wonderful cities and places - i just really enjoyed it all!

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
531 reviews34.5k followers
March 23, 2019
”Love may be a grand thing, but goddamn if it doesn’t take up more than its fair share of space inside a man.”

This was a buddy read with my one and only precious Gem!!! <333

To say this book had me from the very first page certainly would be an understatement…
it actually got me right after the very first sentence! ;-P

The way Monty told his story was just too hilarious and I was barely a few pages in when I already laughed so hard that my husband gave me a raised eyebrow! *lol* (and the stink eye because he was watching a report and my uncontrollable giggling disturbed his quiet! XD)

Well anyway, what I’m actually trying to tell you is that I loved this book!!!
I adored the characters and I really liked the fact that it turned out to be some huge adventure!
When I read “The Gentleman’s Guide” I was never bored and considering the fact that we’re talking about a book with more than 500 pages this definitely speaks volumes about how much I enjoyed it!
It was such a rollercoaster of emotions and sometimes my feelings actually had a more than just hard time to adjust. One moment I’d be all like “Awww this is so damn cute” and the next moment I’d be close to crying because the characters background stories affected me so much!

I guess it’s safe to say that this book gave me all the feels and if you’re looking for a funny book that also has its serious moments “The Gentleman’s Guide of Vice and Virtue” definitely should be your first choice! ;-)

This said I’m finally ready to continue with the actual review! So here I go:

The plot:

Monty and Percy have known each other for years and aren’t just best friends but also want to make their “Grand Tour” in Europe. Everything is already planned and their destinations are merely waiting for them. So far so good, right? Nope! First of all Monty has a long time crush on Percy, secondly Felicity, Monty’s little sister is going to join them and thirdly they have a bear-leader who can’t take a joke! Considering it all their “Grand Tour” actually sound like it’s going to be a boring disaster and it is! Well, at least until Monty gets seduced by a mysterious woman and steals an important object from her chamber in Versailles. After that their carefully planned tour goes straight to hell and an adventurous chase through the metropolises of Europe begins! ;-)

The characters:

Also known as my spoiler section! So beware, if you really don’t want to be spoiled, you better retreat now! ;-P


”No visitations to any dens of iniquity,” he goes on, “or sordid establishments of any kind. No caterwauling, no inappropriate relations with the opposite sex. No fornication. No slothfulness, or excessive sleeping late.”
It’s beginning to feel like he’s shuffling his way through the seven deadly sins, in ascending order of my favourites.

Henry Montague broke my freaking heart!!! This boy was so broken and damaged that it almost physically hurt to read about his past! I swear whenever I found out another bit of it, I had an overwhelming urge to hug and cradle him and the more I got to know him, the more I felt a sudden need to strangle his damned father! At the beginning of the book you only see Monty’s mask, the spoiled and irresponsible son of an English Gentleman, who’s drinking, partying and fornicating whenever he feels like it! BUT the longer you read, the more you realise that Monty’s behaviour is nothing but a way to deal with his past! To say the relationship with his father is rocky certainly would have been an understatement and I swear when I read that he beat the shit out of his son I was so angry that I gripped my book!

”If he could beat this out of me, I would have let him long ago.”

To read this sentence was so damn painful! Because it doesn’t just describe how Monty feels but also what he thinks about himself! His father made him feel like he’s a worthless piece of sh** just because he’s bisexual and this is soo wrong on so many different levels that I can’t help but have to despise him for it!

”Felicity reaches out like she’s going to touch my face, but all I can feel is Helena slapping me and the thief-taker raising his hand just to see me flinch and then it’s my father, and all the while me with no power to fight back or protect myself against any of them.
And I begin to cry.”

To see how Monty struggled caused my heart to ache and whenever he flinched away from someone, no matter if it was Helena’s father, the thief-taker or Scipio, I felt such an overwhelming sympathy that I just wanted him to be happy!!! But oh, how Mackenzi Lee tortured me!!! She hurt my precious boy and then she hurt him even more and when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore she put the final nail in my coffin!!! MACKENZI LEE why did you have to hurt Monty so much??? He deserved happiness but all he got was even more pain!! T_T

Well at least until the end… XD

”I’ll not torment myself with a half-naked Percy any more than is absolutely necessary. Entirely clothed Percy is almost more than I can bear.”

Well, anyway! I loved how much Monty crushed on Percy and to read his thoughts was so funny, heart-breaking, adorable, delightful and I don’t even know what else! *lol*Just amazing!! XD


”Percy’s ill.
It’s seeping through me like a poison, leaving me jumbled up and numb. Percy’s ill and will never be well again and is being sent away to die in a sanatorium because of it. And, close on its heels, a second thought that leaves me nearly as cold – Percy didn’t trust me enough to tell me so.”

Poor sweet and caring Percy! When I found out that he has epilepsy I was at least as devastated as Monty and the mere idea of him spending the rest of his life in an asylum was more than just revolting!!! I can’t believe people actually did things like that but I know Mackenzi Lee had a realistic approach and oriented herself on the reality of that time. Still, it was horrible that such things happened and I’m really glad that medical science improved over those last few centuries! =)
Unfortunately Percy’s illness isn’t the only thing he has to deal with, the actuality he’s of African heritage causing more than its fine share of troubles as well! I cringed whenever someone made a racist remark and there were moments when I just wanted to knock the stuffing out of those ignorant and stupid people! What made it even worse was that Percy was so used to being treated like that and didn’t even think about putting up a fight. Monty and Felicity did though and I only loved them even more for it! XD


”It’s true – Felicity is not a broken horse. A finishing school will kick the spirit straight out of her, and while I’ve never been particularly fond of my sister, the thought of a quiet, simpering, cross-stitching, tea-sipping Felicity feels like a slash through a painting.”

Ohhh Felictiy was such an awesome character!!! I loved that self-confident and sassy girl! Plus she loved to read and tackled her problems head-on! If Monty and Percy wouldn’t have had Felicity they probably would have even died on their very first day! *lol* She definitely had guts and apparently she was even a better thief than the two boys. XD I heard that there’s going to be second book that’s written from Felicity’s POV and I’m already looking forward to read it!

”Ladies haven’t the luxury of being squeamish about blood,” she replies, and Percy and I go fantastically red in unison.

The relationships:

Monty & Felicity:

”I’m sorry,” she says.
“What for?”
“You’ve had a rough go.”
“Everyone has a rough go. I’ve had it far easier than most people.”
“Maybe. But that doesn’t mean your feelings matter less.”

I absolutely loved and adored their conversations!!! They were so sweet and honest and they actually sounded like real siblings! I have an older sister and I swear I really found myself and her in Monty’s and Felicity’s relationship! XD The teasing and the seriousness when it comes to certain topics and the attempt to understand each other!! The fact that they cared even though they didn’t want the other to know and always tried to keep it on a light note! I swear I never ever read such a realistic approach and I think Makenzi Lee did an amazing job at picturing the relationship between siblings! ;-)

”What are you doing? Oh no, are you trying to get along with me? Do we have to get along now?”
“What? No. Of course not.”
“Thank God.”
“Get along. Don’t be absurd.”

Percy & Monty:

”It is impossible to explain how you can love someone so much that it’s difficult to be around him. And with Percy sitting there, half in shadow, his hair loose and his long legs and those eyes I could have lived and died in, it feels like there’s a space inside me that is so bright it burns.”

What can I say about those two? I loved the way Monty thought about Percy and I loved how they treated each other. They were so gentle and careful and even though they both wanted the same thing they had so many misunderstandings that it was more than just infuriating to watch. It was pure torture to read about them when they quarrelled, but oh god how much I loved it when they were close to each other. There was so much tension in the air, so much anticipation…. I just wanted them to kiss and end up in bed! *lol*

”He reaches out, almost as though he can’t help himself, and puts his thumb on my jawline. The tips of his fingers brush the hollow of my throat, and I feel the touch so deep I half expect that when he moves, I’ll be left with an imprint there, as though I am a thing fashioned from clay in a potter’s hands.”

”It’s like being set aflame. More than that – it’s like stars exploding, heavens on fire. Kissing Percy is an incendiary thing.”

Final conclusion:
“The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” was a wonderful journey and kept me thoroughly entertained. It was heart-breaking, adorable and hilarious and if there’s one thing I didn’t like, then it’s the simple fact that the book unfortunately had to end! *lol*

”We are not broken things, neither of us. We are cracked pottery mended with lacquer and flakes of gold, whole as we are, complete unto each other. Complete and worthy and so very loved.”
Profile Image for emi.
446 reviews1,080 followers
July 11, 2017
2.75/5 stars

“God bless the book people for their boundless knowledge absorbed from having words instead of friends.”

I thought I was the biggest disappointment in life, but I guess I’ve been proven wrong with my reading choices lately. If it wasn’t for my sister sending me videos of her hedgehog right now, I think I’d be lying in a puddle of my own tears questioning every decision I have ever made in the past two months. I’ll still probably do that later though.

Wait, what? I'm giving this highly praised, 4.36 average rating book three stars and calling it a disappointment?


Now you're probably asking yourself "But Emi, you gave this three stars? How is it a disappointment?" Okay, you are probably not asking yourself that, but I need you to pretend you are, okay? And usually, I would agree with you. Three starred books are normally just average and average books aren't usually such major let downs. They usually just get shoved to some forgot part of my bookshelves, never to be seen again.

But this book was suppose to be the easiest five stars I have ever given.

I was suppose to revel in its glory and proclaim my unworthiness of it.

I was suppose shout my love of it from as many rooftops as I can convince myself to climb upon.


Hahahahahhahahahahah I can't even remember a time when I was so open to throwing five stars its way. I know it exists though. Can I go back to it? Please. It was a much happier time. If it wasn't for the characters and humor, I would have DNFd this book two days ago.

The even worse thing was this started out so great. By page five I was ready to give it all the stars. Diverse, relatable cast? Jokes so funny they almost rival my own? A grand tour across Europe? Doesn't it sound amazing? Doesn't it sound like it is gonna be amazing?

Hahaha that's only the first 150 or so pages of this book. Then Monty steals something he shouldn't at a party and becomes a wanted criminal. No more fun trip across Europe watching Monty get into as much innocent trouble as he possibly could. This book is now a heist novel about a heist I couldn't care less about. I mean if there's no breaking into highly guarded ice courts, I literally don't care at all.

It was like someone was making cookies and they threw in the perfect amount of sugar and salt and flower flour and then at the very end decided to add raisins instead of chocolate chips and fucking ruined the entire thing.


If it wasn't for two out of three three main characters, I'd have probably given this two stars. Let's talk about them? Shall we?

Monty. Monty. Monty Monty Monty. There are great, strong and willing protagonists that grow and learn throughout the course of their novel and then there's Monty. Monty was the most immature, narcissistic character I have ever read about. At first, I quite liked him, thought he was incredibly relatable. He told bad jokes, was incredibly useless, and fell in love with anything that moved. I'm practically describing myself there. Except, I'm not as egocentric and impulsive as Monty is. I don't think anyone is? But then after about 50 or so pages of this, I started to get incredibly annoyed. Then, when his stupid impulsive decision catalyzed the destruction of my enjoyment of this book, I was #done with him.

Monty, the entire book:


Percy. Not to be confused with my boyfriend #3, Percy Jackson. Also, the best character to ever exist in a historical fiction novel. He's a biracial and epileptic man living in the 19th century. I wish he was the narrator. I'd love to see more of his perspective on life and more into his everyday actions. Not only that, he wasn't anywhere near as annoying as Monty. He wasn't annoying at all. He was amazing. Everytime he spoke, it was a flood of relief that not everyone in this book is a naurcistic asshole.

Felicity. The second best character to ever exist in a historical fiction novel. I wish I was as smart as her? And as capable? And there's going to be an entire sequel focused on her? Hopefully, that won't let me down as much as this book did.

Also, can we talk about Monty and Felicity's relationship? Name the last time you've read a book where a brother and sister have a realistic relationship full of bickering, annoyance, and love like a normal brother and sister? Not any of the incest shit that's been happening lately. #HealthySiblingRelationshipsInYANovels2k17 #OnlyGoodThingToComeOutOfMonty

But unfortunately, not even Percy and Felicity could save this novel from crashing and burning. Maybe they should have left Monty at home where he belongs and gone on a gap year across Europe without him. I actually considered giving this book four stars up until about page 350ish, even though I was struggling to even finish, just because I was going to do whatever I could to avoid disappointment again, but then even more raisins were added to the mix. Why did that have to happen???? Why????

Actually, why did any of this book after page 200 have to happen???? Why????


But now this book is over and I can hide it on the bottom of my bookshelf and proceed to read even more disappointing books, since that's all I seem to be doing with my life right now.

This book just so wasn't for me, as you might be able to tell, but don't let me discourage you from picking it up. Most reviews I see being written about this book are pretty positive. But if you don't like it, don't say I didn't warn you.

Profile Image for High Lady of The Night Court.
135 reviews5,057 followers
May 6, 2021
I absolutely LOVED this book and everything it stand for. I love the way the author created these characters and articulated their thoughts in such a marvelous way. I was in love with Felicity, Monty, and Percy before the second chapter even ended and only grew to like them more as the story progressed.

I’m not sure what I was expecting from this book but it definitely was not this. I knew I was going to love this book the second I started it and it met all my expectations, which were pretty high to begin with considering the amazing things I’ve heard about it. I read the blurb for this book on Goodreads and started reading it with a perspective that it was going to be this easy to get through, funny read and I did get that feel from it, but it was also so much more.
This book is tagged Historical Fiction, Romance, and LGBT, even though they are accurate, they make the book seem kind of superficial but there is actually a lot of emotional depth to this book if you look for it.

Our main characters, Monty, Percy, and Felicity make the most heartwarming trio possible. Henry Montague is an Earl’s son, yet he is the opposite of what you would consider to be a ‘lord’. He spends him time drinking, chasing after both women and men, and just about anything else that will tarnish his father’s reputation. Monty is so deeply in love with his best friend, Percy, to the point where it hurts to be around him as he is unable to tell him he’s in love with him. Through this book we get to see their relationship progress and it is so adorable because neither of them are sure if the other likes them and they are 2 very emotionally volatile people.

Putting the nature of their relationship aside, their friendship and the fact that they stand by the other’s side no matter what, really hits you in the gut. It clearly reflects the value of friendship and how much it means to every single one of us to always have a friend to laugh with, to have fun with, to lean on, to confide in, to go so crazy with to the point where anyone else would put the both of you in a mental hospital, no matter what comes your way.

The book deals with a lot of issues in the 18th century society such as racism and sexism. In the racism point of view, the author clearly shows how blacks were abused and dishonored and how they were never treated above the position of a servant. The sexism aspect we see clearly with Felicity as we see over and over again that women were not given the opportunities men were and that they considered to be inferior to the man. In such a situation, seeing Felicity’s dreams and how she will always defend and argue in favor of the position of women in society, is inspiring. Felicity is without a doubt my favorite character.

Felicity goes against the picture of what an ideal ‘lady’ would be in that time period. She’s a total bad ass. She is capable beyond measure and can take care of herself. She stands against how women are treated and embodies a true feminist. She is a bookworm, which only gave me reason to love her more. I mean come on, when we were first introduced to her, she was eating breakfast with a book standing up with the support of a jam pot with a fork wedged in it to keep it standing. How can we not love this girl?!

It’s a funny, clever, charming, delightful story and I loved it. I must say, I don’t really read much Historical Fiction but this book was amazing. All the hype surrounding this book was justified and if you are a person who enjoys reading Historical Fiction or a fun contemporary book I definitely recommend it to you.
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,573 reviews33.9k followers
October 13, 2016
4.5 stars Boys fighting pirates and their feelings for each other in 18th century Paris and Venice! *swoon*

We hosted the official cover reveal this morning, accompanied by an early ARC giveaway and the MOST ADORABLE video by the author talking about why she wrote the book. She touches on wanting to address frustrating historical tropes and the lack of queer representation, as well as how "strong" femininity is defined. Oh, and there are pirates and villains and a swoonworthy romance, too!


PLEASE read the amazing excerpt on that post if you're considering the book. The witty dialogue and intimacy of the first chapter made me fall in love with it, and I'm fairly certain it'll whip you into a frenzy of longing as well. As Mackenzi says, this is the big gay 18th century road trip novel you didn't know you wanted!

Also, I loved the book enough to write a blurb for the ARC. :) Here's a sneak peek: https://www.instagram.com/p/BK7MhzCAHER/

Profile Image for ✨    jami   ✨.
661 reviews3,883 followers
September 21, 2017
“If you go behind my back, I swear to God, I’ll skin you alive—”
“I won’t—”
“—murder you, then alchemically raise you from the dead so I can murder you again—”

TRIGGER WARNINGS FOR: homophobia, epilepsy, racism and racial slurs, ableism, PTSD, alcoholism, parental abuse,

BUT SPEAKING OF 2017 LIFESAVERS This book is a strong contender because it was really, really good and bought up so many important themes and issues and was also just really fun, adventurous, different from the usual and had ... my favourite .. PIRATES.

Seriously, can you ever go wrong with pirates in books?

And then everyone turns to stare at me, the Viscount of Disley, standing in the courtyard, with his hair askew and a woman’s powder smeared across his face like flour. And, also, without a stitch of clothing on. And then, because Fortune is a heartless bitch, I hear someone behind me say, “Monty?”

So for those of you who don't know this is a book set in the 18th Century (NOT: During the Victorian era for anyone confused like ME) and follows three main character - Henry Montague (Monty), his best friend Percy, and Felicity Montague (Henry's little sister) Percy and Henry are taking "The Tour" (18th Century Gap Year) across "The Continent" - Henry's father hopes the year will settle him done, and that after the tour he will return ready to take control of his fathers estate. But what was supposed to be a tour of Venice, Florence, Rome, Berlin and Geneva goes pretty wrong when the trio are attacked by Highwayman. An intricate plot involving theft, alchemy, and life after death is soon revealed and our trio find themselves right in the heart of it.

While the plot is really fun, and adventurous, it is the characters that make up this book. They are complex people, both in themselves and their relationships with eachother, but also in the ways they interact and exist within their society and how their different marginilisations effects their perspective.

Henry is a bisexual man who's drowned his own self-loathing and feelings of inadequacy in vice - alcohol, poor behaviour and sex. Throughout the novel he must attempt to overcome those vices, whilst also growing into his own self and accepting the negative effects his actions have had upon those around him. There are other facets to his characterisation but at these are spoilers I will not say much here. I personally really liked his arc, and I thought there was noticeable and good development when you compare him at the beginning and end of the novel.

Felicity is such a badass ! She's a massive bookworm with a passion for knowledge. She's both quick-witted and capable and takes no nonsense. I absolutely adores her character and the way she plays against Henry as a kind of opposite. She is also asexual. I literally adore her character, she reminds me of Hermione in many ways, she was a brilliant, well rounded and well written female character. Felicity deals with and suffers through sexism ingrained in the time period, and throughout her storyline she undermines and subverts the expectations and assumptions made about her due to her gender - even from those closest to her. You know how I said I won't accept any underdeveloped female character or damsel in distress anymore because Wonder Woman changed the game - yeah well Felicity compares to Wonder Woman thats how much I literally adore her.

Percy is gay, biracial and epileptic and experiences systematic oppression, overt racism, ableism and marginalisation. Due to the time period, this is exaggerated - but what I liked is that although these marginilisations existed, and Percy is dealing with them, they are never normalised or validated. Characters within the story challenge the assumptions made about Percy - but what I also like is it was shown these characters were privileged and often made harmful comments and this was called out too. Percy is also just a really kind person, but someone who stands up for themselves and doesn't let the strong-will people around him push him around. I loved his character and the nuances embedded within his characterisation.

I adored the representation in this book - In her notes, Mackenzi Lee made the comment she wanted to point out that disabled, queer and poc, and strong women have always existed with agency in history - and that their stories have often been untold or erased but they deserve to be. I loved that these characters existence within the setting was normalised, but simultaneously their struggles as marginalised people was highlighted and challenged. This book shows how history is so steeped in oppression and how so much of that still leaks into society today.
I want to recommend this review about the representation of Percy's epilepsy!

"And I don’t think I have to be well to be happy. God.”

On a small, little note: If you're looking for a super realistic historical fiction elements of this are not entirely accurate. I personally didn't mind this, but it's a note for those of you who might. Reading it kind of felt like Clockwork Angel. You're pretty sure thats NOT how it would have gone down at the time but you enjoy it anyway.

But there are plenty of historical elements to love. Much of the politics, culture, lgbt+ elements, race relations and pirates and people are steeped in the real history of the time and since I love history especially at this time that was a massive plus for me. It added another element of nuance to what is already a great historical fiction.

I also wish the ending had been less abrupt and had gone into more details of what happened after the events of the book. I felt a little short-changed, and I really think a longer style epilogue might have been nice. Some of the characters stories were left a little in the wind and I would have liked to know what happened to them.

All this aside, I think this book is really just fun. The idea of an 18th Century Tour is completely new to me, and it's definitely not something we're getting an abundance of in YA. So this book genuinely has completely new elements I've never read in other stories.

On top of that, Mackenzi Lee is able to perfectly demonstrate how diversity can be included within any setting - and that historical narratives have no excuse for their allocishet ablebodied whiteness.

This book is so fun, we get to see so many places around Europe from an 18th Century perspective, and pirates, highway men attacks, alchemy and magic added so much adventure to it. The dialogue was full of banter and play and it carried along the story really quickly. The plotting didn't feel off to me and I felt like it was continuously well paced. I was reaching for this book all the time because I was invested both character and plot wise - I read it much faster and enjoyed it much more then I thought I would.

Ohhh and the ANGST. There are so many tropes I love - friends to lovers, "we both like eachother but won't admit it", "it's obvious to everyone but us", and then just the "cradles you while you're injured trope" which really gets me everytime. You angst emo's are gonna be happy, especially if your angst emo also likes a soft happy ending and relationship.

“My hand is absolutely broken.”
“It’s not broken,” Felicity says, and the exasperation behind her voice makes me feel better.
“I think it might be.”
“It’s not.”
“We should sleep,” Percy says.

I seriously really hope you guys don't sleep on this one !!!! It's such a good exploration of hos history and oppression intersect, but also it's just such a fun and unique YA book set in such an interesting time period I wish I knew more about.

I could not recommend it more, I genuinely am so happy I've read it and will definitely buy myself the final copy when it comes out. I am so excited to see where Mackenzi Lee takes her inventive stories next.

4.5 stars in total !

Thankyou to HarperCollins who provided me with this free arc in exchange for my review. All opinions here are my own
757 reviews2,346 followers
July 29, 2019
I really didn’t experience what everyone else did while reading this book. The characters are cute and all, but the storyline really didn’t interest me and I was so bored while reading this. I’m extremely disappointed and deadass questioned if I had the right book because I’ve seen glowing reviews of this.

Maybe it’s just me, idk, regardless, I’m extremely disappointed and finally dnfed halfway because I can’t keep reading this boredom.


a historical fiction adventure with a bi lead (!!!) and a cute mm romance?? BITCH.

i'm ready for this book to amaze me. 😍😍😍

buddy read w Nadhira
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,467 reviews9,625 followers
August 1, 2017
This is not a book I was interested in reading, but since it came in my Owlcrate box I will give it a try. I hope I like it! The Owlcrate stuff was awesome though ♥

I was right. It wasn't for me. There are some parts that I enjoyed but for the most part, it wasn't for me. But, I didn't pick this book to read, Owlcrate did it for me 😄

I did like Felicity's character because she fought against being the woman they were supposed to be back then. Go Felicity!

I'm happy for the majority of people that loved the book ❤️
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,537 reviews9,803 followers
November 4, 2022

A wickedly-witty romp through 18th-Century Europe. A delightful distraction from modern life!

Henry 'Monty' Montague has a bit of a reputation among high society Britain, a constant source of contention with his father.

Recently graduated, Monty is poised to set off on his Grand Tour of Europe, with his best friend, Percy, and little sister, Felicity, in tow.

He cannot wait to be out from under his father's overbearing eye for an entire year.

Once on the road, Monty continues his playboyish ways, getting himself, and his traveling companions, into more than one sticky spot with his reckless behavior.

Throughout their journey we follow along as they face vicious highway men, irate Parisian Court members, unskilled pirates, alchemists and tomb raiders.

This story is quite an adventure indeed!

Monty is such a fun character. I absolutely loved getting a front-row seat to his Grand Tour year.

I was particularly moved by the growth we saw in him over the course of the narrative. You get to really see behind his roguish facade to how vulnerable he truly is.

Browbeaten, and otherwise, by his violent and over-bearing father his whole life, Monty has developed a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy for himself, wherein he shall become the worthless cad his father insists he is.

Once his walls begin to come down, however, the reader gets to see the sensitive young man underneath.

In addition to action and adventure, we also get an unrequited love trope which I am absolutely here for.

Monty is in love with this best friend but doesn't feel it is reciprocated. Due to this, he acts out, immediately regretting his actions but nevertheless, seemingly unable to stop.

The relationship between Monty and Percy was honestly my favorite part of the whole book. I enjoyed how Lee took her time with their evolution over the course of the trip.

I would seriously read another entire book just following their relationship.

The humor in this story was great as well. I laughed out loud numerous times and really enjoyed Monty's snarky ways.

Where can I sign up for the next Grand Tour?

Overall, I had such a great time reading this. My only negative was I didn't like the object they were searching for and the scene in the tomb.

That one aspect was too fantastical in my opinion and I would have preferred something different there. I'm not sure why, it just seemed a little out of place with the rest of the story line. The rest was pure perfection.

I definitely plan to pick up the companion novel, The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, at some point this year. Rock on, Mackenzi Lee, I love you!
Profile Image for Warda.
1,153 reviews18.4k followers
May 27, 2018
[EDIT: Despite the flaws this book had, when a book - or the characters in this case - pop into your head quite frequently, a book deserves 5 stars.]


*chants* MERCY! MERCY!

I promised myself that I'd review this properly, but what the hell, fuck it. My heart is a wreck and so full of love! So full of Monty and Percy! I need more of them two SO DAMN BADLY!!!!!! Their story can't be over! *SOBS*

The main reason I am not giving it a 5 stars, is just that the plot wasn't as gripping as I wanted it to be, personally. There was progression, but it wasn't mind blowing. I just didn't care for what they stole, the power it had, them being chased due to the robbery and neither did I care for how it wrapped up. The characters and their development is what kept me reading and the story going.


Gosh, I don't even know what the fuck I am saying anymore. But read this book for the LGBTQ characters, for the underlying, important themes floating throughout the story, such as the damaging consequences abuse can have on the victim's psyche, racism, the issues surrounding sexuality and misogyny. Just read it.

Also, the writing... *moment of silence*
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,484 reviews29.4k followers
July 20, 2017
Just when you think that no one is writing anything original, along comes a book that is so different in many ways that you wonder how the author came up with the idea in the first place, and how they were able to sell it to a publisher. Mackenzi Lee's The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is one of those books. What a sensational story, with characters I won't soon forget!

In 18th century England, Henry "Monty" Montague has grown up a son of privilege. His father is a lord with a sizable estate and business concerns, all of which he expects Monty to take over sometime soon. The thing is, Monty is more than a bit of a rake—a lovable one at times, but a rake nonetheless—one who is far too fond of carousing, drinking, causing trouble, and finding himself in romantic situations with a large number of young men...and women. All of this and he's not quite 18 yet!

Monty and his best friend, Percy (with whom Monty is more than a little besotted) are scheduled to have one last hurrah—a Grand Tour of Europe, where they will see the sites and have their last gasps of fun, after which Monty will begin working alongside his father and becoming a responsible adult, while Percy will leave for law school in Holland. But Monty's father has tired of his son's escapades and sharply curtails what his son has planned, sending along a teacher/chaperone of sorts who will monitor all of their activities. And then his father makes the ultimate threat—embarrass the family one more time, or get caught with another young man, and Monty will be disinherited.

"I'm too useless to make a life on my own, no matter how odious the one selected for me is. I'm well shackled to my father, no way to escape or want things for myself."

While at first his father's restrictions put a damper on the Grand Tour, it's not long before Monty and Percy begin to sneak away and enjoy themselves, under the watchful and jealous eye of Monty's younger sister, Felicity, who is supposed to be dropped off at finishing school along the way, despite her desire to pursue an educational and career path open only to men in those days.

"It occurs to me then that perhaps getting my little sister drunk and explaining why I screw boys is not the most responsible move on my part."

The more time Monty and Percy spend together, the more he wants to divulge his feelings for his best friend, despite his father's warnings. Yet one of the many things Monty is clumsy at is expressing his feelings, and more often than not, he winds up pushing Percy away, which is precisely what he doesn't want. One night, in a pique of jealousy and mischief, Monty makes a rash decision that puts the trio in danger, and sends them fleeing through France into Spain and Italy, throwing them into untenable situation after untenable situation, and forcing them to do—and say—things they never thought they would.

Along the way they will reveal and uncover secrets about one another which may forever change their relationships and their futures, and Monty, in particular, will finally begin to understand what life is like for those not born into privilege. But will these discoveries be enough to free them from danger and change the course of their lives?

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is both a rollicking adventure and an emotional book about finding what makes you happy (or whom), and accepting who you are and where your life should lead. It's also a book about coming to terms with the world around you and finally acting like an adult when you've been coddled and indulged for far too long to really understand the challenges other people face. Despite the setting and the characters' backgrounds, this is book with universal themes, and one that is just so wonderfully told that it made me laugh, smile, and, of course, get a little teary-eyed more than a few times, too.

I seriously loved this book. The characters Lee has created, from Monty, Percy, and Felicity to those they encounter along the way, are all fascinating in different ways. Monty does get annoying from time to time, and you wish he'd just do and say what he needs to, but I just couldn't get enough of him. I would love to see this as a movie, because I think these characters and their story would be as fascinating to watch unfold as it was to read. I can't wait to see what Lee comes up with next.

I really don't have any more words to express how I felt about this book. Maybe Meryl Streep can help.

Profile Image for Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen).
422 reviews1,629 followers
March 18, 2018
4.5 Stars


Bumping my rating up because I forgot how great the discussion of chronic illness is here. Honestly some of the best representation I've seen.

"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."

Otherwise I pretty much stand by my original review:


4 Stars

Original Review:

“I swear, you would play the coquette with a well-upholstered sofa.”

"First, I would not. And second, how handsome is this sofa?”

Hey look, historical fiction that isn’t all pain, bloodshed and boring people! (Also not just old white men!)

Taking place in the early 1700s, Mackenzi Lee's latest focuses on Henry Montague (or Monty) and his parent's last ditch attempt to 'tame' him. Monty sets off on his coming-of-age tour of Europe with his sister (Felicity) and his best friend (Percy). They get detoured by highwaymen and end up in a scheme involving Alchemists and the French Aristocracy in a plot that rivals any adventure flick. But also a lot of introspection, as Monty struggles with finding his place and dealing with his massive crush on Percy.


This is just so much fun. The story is bizarre and different, and takes you to several different lands as everything slowly starts to come together. It’s all a bit of roller-coaster ride, but really engrossing and hard to put down.

It’s simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking? Like in one scene we have Monty calling a horse a leggy sausage then the next we have someone discussing the ramifications of chronic illness. Both the serious and silly topics are handled well.

Especially the discussion of sexuality. Like damn. At one point Felicity and Monty sit down and discuss his penchant for attractive men and the whole discussion blew me away. It fits perfectly into the historical context, so they both really lack language we have now—like orientation and sexuality. But despite matching their characters and the time-period, everything they discuss feels so relevant.

This is so tropey but does it so well. I will never tire of the mutual-pining and oh-no-we-have-to-share-a-bed tropes and I won’t even apologize for it.

I want to be Felicity when I grow up. She’s seriously such a strong character and I love her. We discover half-way through the book that she’s interested in medicine, though it’s not ‘appropriate’ for women at the time. She has a really sharp wit about her and her functioning as the group’s quasi-doctor was an incredibly fun touch. ”Ladies haven’t the luxury of being squeamish about blood.”

Other wonderful things this book contains
• Bisexual representation
• A man running naked through Versailles
• Prominent gay POC
• A baby referred to as “The Goblin”
• Epilepsy representation
• Privateers turned pirates
• A minor-fantasy-sci-fi-sorta element

Al of these elements are told through a very strong narrative. Not only does the writing reflect the voice very well, but it accurately sets the historical tone without coming across dry or boring.


Coming in at 525+ pages, I couldn’t help but feel this was just too long. As much as I enjoyed the wacky adventures and how it all unfolds, this takes a good 20% to get going, and then the real plot only kicks in around 40%.

Overall, the writing is excellent but there were several paragraphs and sentences that could have been more concise, especially towards the end. There also was a pattern of repeating words that just felt really clunky. Examples:

“No one but me had had to see her to realize…”
“We’re breathing so hard it seems a miracle that that alone doesn’t give us away.”

I think I expected a little more for Monty's character development? It's certainly there-- in bits and pieces that rush together at the end. As much as we are told he's changed, I don't feel we were properly shown. Though he has lovable traits, he still seems incredible selfish, and I'm not certain why they put up with him at times.

In Conclusion

Really fun, LGBT-themed, historical adventure. Though not without some pacing and structure issues.
Profile Image for Dr. Appu Sasidharan (Dasfill).
1,145 reviews2,178 followers
April 14, 2023
Henry "Monty" Montague's Grand Tour of Europe is his last escapade before becoming a Proper Gentleman to take over the family estate. This book will take you for a wild, crazy ride with a lot of humor and adventure. There are multiple themes involved in this book that will keep you hooked. Highwaymen, pirates, his feelings for his friend Percy, are all written hilariously. Unfortunately, there were multiple instances of racism and child abuse also in this book. Despite these shortcomings, you will love this book as it is an adventurous story written entertainingly.
"Because I want you to know," she says, "that there is life after survival."

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Profile Image for April (Aprilius Maximus).
1,092 reviews6,576 followers
October 14, 2021
1.) The Gentlemen's Guide To Vice and Virtue ★★★★★
*.) The Gentlemen's Guide To Getting Lucky ★★★★
2.) The Lady's Guide To Petticoats and Piracy ★★★★★


Update: still a delight.

Well, that was a fucking delight and a half.
Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,051 reviews49.1k followers
April 20, 2020
a lot of my feelings on this book have changed so i've removed my rating. leaving my review for posterity, but again... thoughts have changed quite a bit.


It took several thousand miles for me to begin believing that I am better than the worst things I've done. But I'm starting.

WOW. So you probably wouldn't believe how much I loved this, given that it took me 4 months to read but I think I can assuage your disbelief my friends!

This book was not at all what I expected. I was picturing a fun romp set to some modern music in my head, a lá Marie Antoinette by Sophia Coppola. What I did not expect was a really hard, emotional read fraught with ROMANCE. I bolded it because it wasn't romance light it was the big stuff.

what I liked
The way that Lee described crushes and unrequited love was so perfect and so palpable it made me want to die inside a bit. The knee brushes, getting caught staring, etc... I mean it was so perfectly relatable and something I've never been able to fully articulate. Monty and Percy are definitely on my list of OTPs now for that reason.

The characters weren't perfect, especially our narrator. I loved Monty and I loved the transformation he goes through. He cares a lot about those that are close to him, even if he can't always express it correctly. By the end of the book he's better able to express his feelings and the journey matures him.

what I didn't like
I actually felt the plot to be uh... tedious? That's the main reason I kept putting this book down. The characters were so lovely but I just hated the situations they got themselves into. They were almost never fun and were almost always detrimental to someone's health (either physical or mental). And after a couple of bad experience I just wasn't HERE FOR IT. Ya know? Give my sweet beans some peace. It was also pretty clear earlier on that the crux of their side adventure wasn't going to work out. And that kind of shit realllllly annoys me.

The relationship between Monty and his father. Yeah yeah, realistic for the time YES. But it added such a depressing element to this book that I was not expecting. It's actually why I chose that quote for this review instead of some of the more romantic ones. I guess it was realistic but I didn't feel like it was resolved very well. Very torn on this element of the book.

Profile Image for Era ➴.
215 reviews523 followers
May 20, 2022
Trigger Warnings: abuse, homophobia, racism, alcohol, some violence, mentions of suicide.

I finished this book in one sitting.
And it’s actually not because it was good - I was just on a 6+ hour road trip.

Let’s get one thing gay: I did, in fact, enjoy this book. The plot was fun, the romance was decent, and the idea was solid. But (and I say this way too much) there were too many things that kept me from really liking it.

The plot. The plot was interesting. It was fast-paced and mischievous. I liked the romance and the LGBTQ+ representation. I liked this concept of Henry Montague (Monty) going on a Great Tour of Europe with his best friend/crush and annoying little sister.

The storyline, however, just grew more and more unrealistic. It was too fantastical and wild. Sure, he’s starting on this Great Tour of Europe. But being hunted across two kingdoms and being kidnapped by pirates and discovering an alchemical invention is a little much. Yes, this is fiction, but...that’s just too insane.

“Oh no."
Percy looks sideways at me. "Oh no what?"
I swallow. "I'd first like it to be noted that I am most certainly not a smuggler."
"Monty..." he says, my name sopping with dread.
"And," I continue overtop him, "I'd like you to both remember just how much you adore me and how dull and gloomy your lives would be without me in them."
"What did you do?”

Added to the unrealistic-ness is the writing. This book takes place in the 1700s. Given that, I was expecting a much more historical writing style and dialogue. But Monty and Percy seemed like they would fit right in with the 2010s (because let’s be honest, no one would fit with the 2020s). I only remembered that this was taking place in the Baroque era because of Felicity and all the restraints that were placed on her as a woman.

“Do you know how horrid it feels to watch my brother get tossed out of the best boarding school of England, then get to travel the Continent as a reward, while I’m stuck behind, not permitted to study the same things or read the same books or even visit the same places while we’re abroad, just because I had the bad luck to be born a girl?”

The writing was also very...English. It was like the writing in Harry Potter, I guess. But was having “bloody” in every other page absolutely necessary? We get it, he’s from London. He doesn’t have to say “abso-bloody-lutely” all the bloody time. And honestly, I don’t have that many concerns about the cussing other than how accurate it was. There had to be something more exciting in olde-English speak than “bitch”, right? And considering the very strict class rules set in place back then, I don’t see why Monty was throwing around cusses left and right. It was supposed to be something super wrong and awful, wasn’t it?

This extends to the setting, too. I couldn’t imagine this as the 1700s. I just couldn’t. The slang, the writing, the descriptions...they just sounded too modern. Where is my 1700s interjections and strange metaphors? Where are the enormous ballgowns and the historical accuracy?

I just wasn’t getting the 18th-century vibe. Monty attends a ball at Versailles and describes the nobles as (something like) “wearing ridiculous panniers and foolishly made wigs, in poor imitation of the French style”. That’s not a direct quote, by the way.

But...they’re French nobles. At Versailles. Why would their outfits be considered “ridiculous” or “a mockery”? I don’t get it. It would make sense if this was modern and it was like...a historical party or something, but this was supposed to be a genuine ball at the French palace.

And at one point, Monty spends an entire page and a half complaining about how hard it is to undress a girl that he wants to fuck. Um…
1. Why?
2. He just left a ball with her. Of course she’s wearing layers. Of course she’s wearing a complex gown. She’s dressed up.
3. Most French noblewomen had servants to help them dress, of course it’s going to be hard to take off that gown and the corset and the stomacher and the petticoats and the hoops. Especially if you’re doing it while kissing her.
4. We get it, boys never had to wear anything as constraining as girls did. How sad for you that must be as a gentleman.

A similar thing happens quite a few times in the book - Monty, a rich white English boy, complains about his problems without even considering everyone else. When his sister finally explains to him that she wants to be a doctor and tries to give him a perspective on how hard it is, being looked down on because “no one wants an academic girl”...this happens.

“Just thinking about all that blood." I nearly shudder. "Doesn't it make you a bit squeamish?"
"Ladies haven't the luxury of being squeamish about blood," she replies, and Percy and I go fantastically red in unison.”

This obviously does not mean that Monty only has his little first-world problems. He’s a wealthy Englishman in the 1700s (even though it may not really seem like it), and he’s bisexual (or homoflexible, considering how much he seems to prefer guys...or at least Percy, over girls). Considering homophobia throughout history and the many homophobic shits I’ve met, he has a lot of bullcrap to deal with. Most of which comes in the form of his very abusive homophobic father and the homophobic society™ cultivated by the last two thousand years of Western history.

“Oh yes, am I a sodomite. Well, I’ve been with lads, so… yes.”
She purses her lips, and I wish I hadn’t been so forthright. “If you’d stop, Father might not be so rough on you, you know.”
“Oh my, thank you for that earth-shattering wisdom. Can’t believe I didn’t think of that myself.”

Honestly, though...Monty wasn’t that closeted. He was a lot more open about being with guys than one would expect by the word “closeted”. In fact, despite everyone’s attempts to stop him from “mucking around” with guys, he just does it.

Does that mean his problems aren’t severe? No. I just mean that this book was set up for Monty to seem so restrained and stifled under society's expectations, and that just wasn't really there. I've seen harsher restrictions today, which...you know, fucking sucks.

“Have you?”
“Have I what?”
“Ever fancied someone?”
“Oh. Well, yes.”
“Also yes.”

There was also a great mental health message. Well, kind of. I'll address that part later. But I loved the healing/self-worth arc that was included in this story. It was a great trauma representation and taught such a valuable lesson about knowing what you're worth.

The romance with Monty and Percy was sweet. It wasn’t too trope-y and it was developed pretty well. But it was also just...trying too hard. Literally every single time they had a moment, they got ripped apart again. And I know it was supposed to build more tension to when they did get a proper moment, but - every time? Stop. No. It’s like shoving them together and pulling them apart and it’s just not a real relationship dynamic anymore. They’re supposed to have tension, not a game of hot-or-cold.

They did have a cute relationship. What I don’t get is why Monty just didn’t get that Percy liked him. These two are the olde-English male equivalent of those high school girls at the mall who greet each other with butt pats and try on bras together. But then they had the chemistry of...well, two boys about to kiss. Percy CONSTANTLY has his hand on Monty’s thigh and they spent all their time either bantering, flirting, or fighting/giving each other the cold shoulder.

“A small shift in the gravity between us and suddenly all my stars are out of alignment, planets knocked from their orbits, and I’m left stumbling, without map or heading, through the bewildering territory of being in love with your best friend.”

This brings me to my main problem with this book: Monty. He was supposed to be this sassy, devil-may-care bicon. And yes, he kind of was. But a lot of that “sass” wasn’t real sass, it was just Monty being unable to keep his temper down and getting into arguments with people.

Yes, he was relatable at times, but he was also a pain in the ass.

“Several hours from now, I will certainly think of a retort to this, a perfect combination of wit and defiance that would leave him stumbling. But in that moment, I can't think of a damn thing, so I stand there, struck dumb, and let him scold me like a child.”

Monty was...problematic. And I know I’m supposed to give him some leeway for the twisted historical views that people in the 1700s had, but I just...couldn’t. Monty was so selfish and ignorant and insensitive. He only cared about what he wanted, and if anyone disagreed he would twist their argument or omit important things to convince himself that he was right. Even when he was trying to “help Percy”, it was because he wanted Percy for himself and not because he actually listened to what Percy had to say.

At one point, he got angry at Percy. Instead of understanding or trying to listen to what Percy said, he just...gets mad. Insensibly. Because he believes he’s in the right, even if it’s Percy’s business and not his.

“He looks well pathetic, curled up on his side, face turned to the pillow as pale sunlight wafts through the cabin door. His hair is matted on one side where he’s been lying on it, and his skin looks slick and waxy.
But I refuse to be moved.”


And so many of the things that Monty says are just...insensitive. When discussing poetry with Percy, he says poetry is dull and depressing and tedious, and not something anyone would ever care about. He goes on to say (something like) “no wonder all the poets end up killing themselves”. Note that this is after he’s told Percy that he’s not sure if he has the will to live anymore.

Yes, I understand the historical stigma around mental health. But if Monty was really struggling with this problem, he wouldn’t make such an insensitive remark about suicide. Get your head out of your ass.

Basically, Monty was a pretty crappy character. If he hadn’t been so fucking self-absorbed and insensitive, I guarantee that half the shit in this book wouldn’t have happened.

Luckily, the other two main characters saved the day for me.

Percy is a half-black Englishman, who’s discriminated against and misjudged for his skin color. The way this book addressed racism made my brown skin crawl. God. I hate that people had, and still have, this mentality about others who don’t suit their standards. Percy is understanding and kind and way too patient. So much better than Monty.

Felicity is Monty’s fifteen-year-old sister and I love her. Monty views her as this contrary little girl who has no future, but Felicity is smart and academic and stubborn. I loved how she was so blunt and snappish, basically Muggle Hermione. She was looked down on for her inclination to learning and reading, and never taken seriously for wanting to be a doctor - because of course that’s not “a woman’s place”. This girl is amazing.

“God bless the book people for their boundless knowledge absorbed from having words instead of friends.”

Also, this is a little less relevant but there was one moment that really bothered me. When Percy and Monty contemplate running away, Monty lists out “faraway” places that they could escape to: Constantinople, London (wait isn’t he FROM London?), Marseilles, Jakarta...

No. This was where I just closed the book and stared out the window for ten minutes.


You have to be kidding me. Please say sike.

I’m sure Mackenzi Lee, as an American author, didn’t quite realize this, but this is so fucking inaccurate it makes me want to throw something. My parents were born and raised in Jakarta, and the history of that city (and Indonesia in general) is not a fun time.


Well, it did, but not the way this book seems to think it did.

It was not an ~exotic faraway city~ like Marseilles. Indonesia was occupied tyrannized by the Netherlands for three hundred and fifty years, not that most white people would know due to the way you all seem to wash out your history. Under the thumb of the Dutch, Indonesian people were brutalized and enslaved.

Anyway, while the city of Jakarta might have existed for over 1500 years, it was not the city it currently is. And it wasn’t called Jakarta for most of that time. The city, as I can attest from having visited my grandparents there several times, is divided into different sectors: the old city and the new. The old city is the crumbling stone buildings forced into Colonial structures, and no one likes those buildings. Why? They’re reminders of the white oppression of the nation that lasted until after World War Two.

You heard that right. I mean that Indonesia hasn’t even been its own country for a full century.

Jakarta was not a thing during Monty’s lifetime. Actually, Indonesia wasn’t. It was called the Dutch East Indies, for a pretty obvious reason. The name Jakarta (Djakarta in traditional Indonesian although traditional language isn’t used that often anymore) wasn’t developed until Indonesia became its own country.
copied from Wikipedia:

Under the Dutch, it was known as Batavia (1619–1945).

But I’m sure Monty could easily run away there anyway since he barely even exists in the 1700s.

White logic be like -

Okay, angry history lesson over.

So. This book addressed a lot of problems, including racism, homophobia and ableism. It also was extremely unrealistic and it just didn’t give me the right ~vibe~. It was gay and funny and Bri ish. It was also annoying and had one of the worst main characters. It was enjoyable. It was also problematic.

Would be worth a reread, I guess. I did like it. I just hated a lot of it too.
Profile Image for ❄️BooksofRadiance❄️.
603 reviews732 followers
May 13, 2018
4.5 ⭐️

The more times you read it the better it gets.

Yet another FANTASTIC re read.

Monty, my roguish booze-hound seductive charmer, oh, how I love thee!!!



I think I ended this book with a migraine because I was grinning and laughing like an idiot the whole way through that it slowly took its toll on my brain. ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT!

WONDERFUL. Just wonderful! So delightfully heartwarming and hilarious. The Gentleman’s Guide follows our main lead Monty who sets out on a grand tour around Europe with his best friend Percy and younger sister Felicity before taking over the family estate and... things basically go downhills from there.

I cannot stress how hilarious this book is. Monty’s narration on the situations they find themselves in, the banter and insults they throw at each other and the way the author weaves in a range of themes and topics like disability, women’s place in society, abuse, race and sexuality with such intellect and compassion – while inserting humour and lightheartedness made this one of the most enjoyable reads of 2017 for me.

Monty: A hilarious (sensing a theme here?), fun-loving Bi-sexual British lord in love with his best friend, Percy. He is an absolute delight who, not only happens to be utterly and completely useless in times of crisis, more often than not, he IS the cause of most of their troubles.

Percy: A ray of sunshine and the most patient, sweet and loving guy who constantly has to deal with the backlash of his racial status.

Felicity is simply a clever gem. She is sassy, brilliant and a resourceful girl whose role is more like the protector of the group rather than 'Monty’s tag-along younger sister.'

There’s so much depth and layers to these characters. Percy, having to deal with racial discrimination, Felicity not being able to do what she really wants, as opposed to what society dictates she must do, Monty-though clueless at the start and somewhat shallow, slowly having to confront his privileges over these two people that he loves in terms of their social standing as well as having to confront his own issues and realising certain things about himself and his growth over the course of the book was all beautifully written.

And the romance! 😍 Guys, if nothing else, the heavy dose of romance alone, that’s simply heartwarming and gush-worthy should more than suffice to encourage you to give this a try.
Monty’s inner monologue about Percy... ahhhh holy crap, it was like sparks were flying through the pages!💕

Seriously – Go get your hearts all warm and fuzzy. ❤️
Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,199 followers
Want to read
September 7, 2019
Everybody loves this book. I feel left out for not reading it yet.
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