“Take a Peek” book reviews are short and (possibly) sweet, keeping the commentary brief and providing a little peek at what the book’s about and what I thought.
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.
What fun! The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is part silly adventure story, part surprisingly moving look into the life of a young man of privilege who suffers the constant abuse and humiliation of a cruel father and who can never fully pursue his true love, who just happens to be his best friend. Most of all, this is a light-hearted romp through Europe as our trio of heroes are pursued by highwaymen, pirates, alchemists, and other assorted bad guys during an accidental misadventure. Along they way, they each learn to share their inner hopes and fears, and dare to start envisioning a life other than the one planned out for them.
The characters are quirky and engaging, the narrative flows nicely, and the plot itself is quite tasty and exciting. And while there are some deeper thoughts on the role of women in that society, the lack of a place for people outside the norm, and the devastating impact of parental disapproval, there’s also bravery and sacrifice and love and romance, and it all makes for a delicious read.
Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication date: June 27, 2017
Length: 513 pages
Genre: Young adult