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

This is a cute book. The narrator has a strong and engaging voice and is charming if not always likable.

The story in a nutshell: It is the 1700s. Henry "Monty" Montague—known rake and heir to an earldom—and his best friend Percy Newton are off on their Grand Tour. Monty's younger sister Felicity is along for the ride as they're meant to drop her at finishing school in Marseilles. Of course, everything goes awry when Monty steals a little something from the Duke of Bourbon during a visit to Versailles.

The novel attacks a number of issues, including race relations (Percy is part black), and health (Percy also has epilepsy), and abuse (Monty's father beats him), as well as homosexuality (Monty has a huge crush on Percy). It also glances over gender issues as Felicity protests having to go to finishing school because she'd rather become a surgeon.

Overall, it was a swift read up until the last 20-25% of the book. At that point, I felt the book had begun to suffer from a surfeit of plot. Things just kept happening, and I was beginning to be exhausted, not in a good way. But I plowed through (sometimes tempted to skim) to see how it would end.

Still, the book is largely a fine marriage of character and plot. If you like Lestat, you'll probably like Monty's narration. Many nice descriptions, though they sometimes get rather thick.

The main characters being teenagers, it's listed as YA, but if you're thinking of this for your teen, be sure they're ready for some of the heftier issues.

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