The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
Roguish Henry Montague; his younger sister, Felicity; and his biracial, very sensible best friend and secret crush, Percy Newton (who suffers from epilepsy), are off on their European Grand Tour, a common event among the upper classes in 1720s Europe. Monty has his mind more on vice than virtue: sex (with both men and women), drinking, smoking and gambling are his proclivities and constant subjects of banter. But his interest in Percy--who Monty is not even sure is attracted to men--is something much deeper than lust.
After being beset by highwaymen, the trio is forced to continue on without funds. The undaunted teens travel through France to Spain, where they hear about a panacea. Monty desperately wants this cure-all for Percy but the Duke of Bourbon ("advisor" to the unhealthy king Louis XV) wants it just as badly. Who will be the first to reach the tomb where the alchemical miracle can be found?
In The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, Mackenzi Lee (This Monstrous Thing) combines her knowledge of European history with a contemporary, comic sensibility to create an over-the-top romantic adventure complete with cliff-hanging chapter endings and sometimes outrageous narration. Monty is a licentious, flawed and engaging 18th-century hero. --Melinda Greenblatt, freelance book reviewer