The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue Book Review

Julianne Chen


Let me just be completely honest, I am literally starved of aromantic and asexual representation. So when a friend on the internet recommended The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee, I went to go check it out at the library. It was then when I realized that it was part of a series. The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy is actually the second book in The Montague Sibling series. And me being me, I couldn’t read the second book in a series without reading the first. I just can’t do that. It’s wrong on so many levels. So, that was the completely unnecessary story of how I decided to pick up this book.

Firstly, the things I enjoyed about this book. This was a very fun historical read. I inevitably read Monty’s entire narration in the voice of an English gentleman. It showed just how much research that Mackenzi Lee did in order to write this book. There was also an author’s note about all of the historical topics that were used in the book. I found that section very interesting and educational. And the diversity is much better than most historical fiction novels that feature a solely straight white male cast. Monty, the main character, is bi. Felicity, Monty’s younger sister, is aromantic and asexual (and no one can tell me otherwise, she literally sites the fact that she never felt attraction!). And Percy, Monty’s love interest is a queer POC.

However, that is not to say that this book is without its faults. I oftentimes found some of Monty’s behaviors irrational at best, and downright stupid at worst. While I did appreciate his development arc, I still just can’t believe some of the things that he says and does. But I do know enough to say that Felicity and Monty fell prey to some weird LGBT stereotypes. Monty fell into the stereotype of the promiscuous bisexual. But he does grow out of it and develops into a more full fledged character and individual. Felicity was shown to be prude, introverted and standoffish aromantic. However, after seeing how Monty was developed, I still believe that Felicity can have the same treatment in her own novel.

You know, this is one of those kinds of books that are a fun and lively read, but then you just forget about them in about a week. I wanted to do this book justice after reading it, but I felt as if this was just another tropey adventure novel. Not to say that I don’t love tropey adventure novels, but I read so many of those books, that they all seemed to have merged together. Will I recommend this book to someone who reads a lot of adventure novels and wants something different? Not particularly. Would I recommend this to someone new to the genre? Yes, definitely. Will I read the sequel? Yes, I absolutely will. You and I both know that I am completely and utterly desperate for aromantic and asexual representation.