The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue follows Henry “Monty” Montague on his Grand Tour around Europe accompanied by his sister and his best friend. But what he thought was going to be one big party, turns into something much more exciting and complicated.
Initially, I wasn’t overly interested in reading The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. But after finishing the last book in the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy by Jenny Han, I wanted to read something that was both fun and romantic. I picked up the audiobook on a whim, and I absolutely freaking loved it. The audiobook version is a little shy of 11 hours long, and a tad bit less when listening to it at 1.5x speed. That’s a lot to listen to in a day in my opinion, but I just couldn’t stop. I was so absorbed in the story.
This book is extremely funny and addicting. I was enamored with the characters from the very first chapter. The chemistry between the main character Monty and his best friend/crush Percy is precious, they’re adorably cute together. There were times where I found myself smiling because of how heartwarming the relationships between all the different characters are.
While I did enjoy the plot relating to the quest, the book’s strength lies in it’s characters. I would mainly say the appeal lies with Monty, because his character development is fantastic. He starts off as a two dimensional character, and becomes a multifaceted person within the 513 pages of this light and quick young adult historical fiction novel. When I say it’s light, I in no way mean that it’s just a cute fluffy book you’ll enjoy but forget five minutes after reading it. It’s light, but it has depth. This book focuses on minority characters rarely (if ever) represented in historical fiction. Instead of taking itself and its’ characters too seriously, it uses humor and celebrates life. And it uses this tone to confront tabus, like living with chronic conditions, which promotes acceptance of the fact that humans come in all colors, shapes and sizes.
There are multiple elements to the story, but the main focus is relationships and how they develop. It’s wonderful to see Monty and Percy’s relationship being tested, yet flourishing when faced with obstacles. But the focus on relationships doesn’t end with Monty and Percy. It’s a constant in the entirety of the story. Mixing that with the humor, the important tabu-challenging elements and an engaging plot, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is entertainment at its’ best.