Book Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue – M. Lee

“The queer teen historical you didn’t know was missing from your life.” (Teen Vogue)

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When I started this book it was not at all what I expected it to be.

I have to thank Majelle again for leaving me yet another shiner of a book when she left from the UK and couldn’t take all her books back to Canada with her. Best believe they came to a good home that enjoyed them.

To summarise;

Monty heads off on his Europe Tour after finishing school, his sister Felicity will go to a boarding school in France en route, and he shall return to help his father run his estate and other things accordingly as a Lord should. Crushing hard on his companion Percy, things are not quite as easy as the three of them think it is going to be on this trip that’s for sure.

With endless adventure, illness, excitement, love and horror I’d say this story had me too immersed for my own good. I have a lot to say about this book.

Firstly, how well written the characters were;

How they acted and spoke really made you feel close to the three of them, Monty, Percy and Felicity on their adventures. So much so that the sequel which follows Felicity, The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy’, is well and truly on my ‘to read list on Goodreads and my to buy’ list on Amazon. 

I felt like Felicity was so badass but SO looked down upon for being a woman, naturally in those days. Every time she came through in the book my mind was screaming: YES GIRL GET IT’She had sass, smarts and her wits about her. She was a great character who I thoroughly enjoyed the most.

Monty to me was a bit like a wet flannel to start and I didn’t originally like him. Written phenomenally as he was supposed to come across as the rich boy who loved to drink and fuck his life away and moaned at everything; which he totally did BUT I ADORE HIS CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT!! It’s absolutely wonderful coming to the end of the story.

Although Percy is one of the main characters he was the one I felt least connected too. Shy and discriminated against, his character was naturally quite quiet and incredibly self aware, the best and driest sense of humour and some common sense too! He came out with a few crackers which got me liking him more and near the end of the book had me sobbing a plenty due to this growing like for him!

Secondly, wow, some particularly good stand out points for me; 

This book was full of adventures and although slightly predictable still had me sat biting my nails as I read wanting to know what and where we going to go next! Being set in the Victorian era was a real reminder of the ways they used to travel around in those days. I’m mortified of boats so the fact these lost (but only slightly), excitable teens did all of their journeys via boat or horse and carriage would be the adventure and excitement in itself for me. 

The era it was written also shows the take on relationships back then, how difficult it must have been for young men and women to be gay which also hinders them from being themselves at heart. It really shows the hardships and strains on family relationships but also highlights how far we’ve come since then in a really heartwarming way. 

I love how a lot of the main storyline adventures are based around the 3 of them being cheeky and Monty taking something he shouldn’t have. God forbid how boring their Europe Tour would have been if not, I guess these things happened for a reason, right? DUH.

Finally it also made me realise and remember being taught about how difficult it was to treat illness back then! We are incredibly lucky. I really rate M. Lee’s absolute consistency in being able to make sure us as readers don’t forget wha era we are in, some authors really struggle to keep that maintained and I find in previous books based in these Victorian or ‘olden scale era’s’ I would tend to forget, but not this time!!! Really impressed and it wasn’t an annoying reminder either.

Thirdly, IS THIS HOW TRAVELLING EUROPE BECAME A THING? HAS IT BEEN A THING FOR THAT LONG?  ITS AWESOME.

I guess our version of A Europe tour is finishing university or school and Inter-railing Europe, travelling around Australia and New Zealand. Or America. Or Asia. The list goes on. But to have it known as a tour and be chaperoned, GOD FORBID MY PARENTS GOT SOMEONE TO CHAPERONE MY TRAVELS. I wouldn’t go (Sorry fam if you’re reading this).

Its still very much a thing to this day which is pretty cool to know that they even then when ‘on tour’ meant an old fashioned way of inter-railing. I doubt if I went it would be as action packed and wouldn’t take us 3 weeks to get from France to Venice by boat. And hopefully my parents wouldn’t send someone to breathe down the back of my neck.

All in all this book really impressed me with its adventures, the era it is based in and the romance, I highly recommend!

4/5

(Not quite up there as my standards are too high, but still pretty up there).

J x

2 Replies to “Book Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue – M. Lee”

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