Three weeks. Three freaking weeks. That’s how long it took me to finish this book. I’m not quite sure why, as it was actually a pretty fun, light read in spite of it’s 513 page count.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue follows Henry “Monty” Montague, Percy Newton and Henry’s sister, Felicity Montague, as the three embark on a Grand Tour before they’re each to be shipped off/squared away with their respective futures. I don’t want to give anything away – especially since I’m lending this book to my sister and I know she reads this blog – but it was an adventure I will never forget.
But my favorite part? Well, what is always my favorite part of a good story?
If you guessed the characters, you get one point. If you guessed the romance between two main characters, you get two points. If you guessed the little jerk on the cover, none other than our beloved Monty, you win. Because as my sister has so aptly pointed out, it’s always the little shit characters who steal my heart.
And Monty? Monty is exactly the type of little shit I adore. He’s slightly younger and less exacting than my beautiful Laurent of Vere (Captive Prince), but without a doubt, he’s another character I relate to so much it’s scary. He’s just so damn lovable. I really came to enjoy his knack for trouble and witty quips. I just adored him by the end.
One thing I really enjoyed about this book was it’s ability to address social issues that, while relevant to the time period in which the book is set (1700’s-ish), mirror many of the social issues we still face today. Some of these issues include racism (Percy is a mixed-race person in a society that is even less accepting of people of color than it is today), sexism (Felicity, while from a very affluent family, is refused a legitimate education because of her gender), the acknowledgement of privilege (Monty repeatedly has to be checked because of the privilege his gender, race, and social standing afford him – privilege he so clearly has never examined or even been aware of until the events of the book force him to be), among many other issues. I was impressed that so much was covered in what at first seems to be just your standard YA adventure novel with a little LGBT romance thrown in.
Confession: I typically can’t stand YA books. While many of them are good, I prefer books about established adults and…ok ok ok, I miss the sexy bits. So sue me. But the sweeping story, complex characters, m/m story line, and endearing ending made it worth it. Bravo, Ms. Lee, for dragging me out of my usual realm and making me enjoy it so thoroughly.
Word on the street says there’s going to be a sequel from Felicity’s point of view. And if my beloved Monty and Percy are in it, sign my ass up now, because I will be there!