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The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

Review

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

Mackenzi Lee is an author who writes for both children and young adults. She currently lives in Boston and manages an independent bookstore. THIS MONSTROUS THING, Mackenzi’s debut novel, won the PEN-New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award. Her newest work, THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE, puts a modern spin on the typical historical fiction adventure story. The sequel, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY, which tells the story from Felicity’s point-of-view, will be published in 2018.

THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE is the charming tale of Henry “Monty” Montague and his Grand Tour of Europe. This story infuses modern social issues into the old-fashioned society of the 1700s. Monty has disappointed his father his whole life, and his intense attraction for his best friend, Percy, does little to help that. Monty sets out for his Tour with his sister Felicity and Percy. When they encounter multiple hurdles on the Tour, the trio must take matters into their own hands. The three criss-cross Europe on a version of their trip that they hadn’t quite planned. Full of danger, adventure, love and fantasy, this novel is sure to take you for quite the entertaining ride.

"Monty's tale is a historical fiction novel for those who do not typically read historical fiction. It is an easy book to jump into, and I found myself attached to the characters right from page one."

Mackenzi Lee’s masterpiece of a novel did not fail to impress me. I found Monty, Percy and Felicity to be totally enamoring characters. Each one defied the expectations of their time, and they all dealt with social issues that we are still dealing with today. I appreciated how much research Lee must have done to make the setting of the novel an accurate depiction of the time.

Monty's tale is a historical fiction novel for those who do not typically read historical fiction. It is an easy book to jump into, and I found myself attached to the characters right from page one. I have always been fascinated with Europe, so this novel was right up alley. Monty always had an entertaining and comical point-of-view to offer. The relationships showcased in Lee’s work developed throughout the story and were very enjoyable to read. Felicity was not a favorite for me at first, but she grew on me as a character, and she ended up probably being my favorite character. The only element of the story that did not overly entrance me was the plot. I think that the story could have done either without the fantasy element or with a more elaborate fantasy element. Even though the plot did not necessarily enthrall me, I am thrilled with the story overall. The sequel about Felicity is bound to be just as stunning --- or more so --- than Monty’s novel.

I highly recommend THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE to readers looking for a fresh voice in YA. This novel will not disappoint with its captivating characters and riveting 18th-century setting. YA readers and non-YA readers alike are going to be spellbound by it. I will be looking out for any new books my Mackenzi Lee in the future as they are likely to be phenomenal.

Reviewed by Grace P., Teen Board Member on July 11, 2017

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
by Mackenzi Lee