The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue Entertains Readers With Its Lively and Heartfelt Story

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee takes readers on a Grand Tour through Europe with witty and lovable characters.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee takes readers on a Grand Tour through Europe with witty and lovable characters.

Brenna Renfroe, Staff Writer

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

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee is a fun-filled, witty adventure and passionate romance, yet at the same time has serious underlying themes. Gentleman’s Guide is a historical fiction and romance novel set in 18th century Europe and is centered around a bisexual young man named Henry “Monty” Montague.

Monty’s controlling father wants him to be a gentleman and lord of the estate. Monty wants absolutely anything but that; he wants to be free to love a young man named Percy, yet he keeps it as secret as possible.

This story is all about how Percy, Monty, and his feisty and independent younger sister Felicity go on a Grand Tour of Europe. Grand Tours were popular among the young male aristocrats in this time. They traveled Europe, usually after they received their education. This was a time meant for them to relish in the wonders of the world before they had to come home and run their family’s estate and settle down.

While on this tour, Monty gets into all kinds of escapades. He deeply humiliates himself at the Palace of Versailles, is being hunted by the French government, gets caught by “pirates” on the way to Venice, is searching for an alchemist’s secret treasure located on a rapidly sinking island. These are just a few.

Though this tale is hilarious and full of riotous adventure, it has a serious message. Monty just wants to spend the rest of his life with Percy, who he deeply loves. But he knows that he will be forever shunned from his family and the world. His sister Felicity wants to be a doctor but knows that career is not an acceptable position for women in this era’s society. This book is about being accepting of all, no matter their race or gender. Never change who you are. Just be you.

The book is a perfect blend of romance, adventure, humor, and history. I loved the historical touch. It really provides the reader with a new lense in which to see this time period in history. As author Mackenzi Lee states, “Historical fiction has always been my access point for history; it’s what made me interested in history as a kid. When you read historical fiction you get a personalized level of interaction with history.”

Published in March of 2017, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue has become very popular and has been nominated for awards, such as the Audie Award for Best Male Narrator. This novel is very deserving of all its hype. It is available for checkout in the Pelahatchie High School Library.  The sequel, A Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, was just released on October 2nd.