I finally got around to reading The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee so that I can dive into The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy during ARC August, and wow I am glad I did. I listened to the audiobook and enjoyed exploring Europe with Monty, Percy, Felicity and a motley crew of dukes, wannabe pirates, mistresses, and alchemists. It’s part My Lady Jane, part the Immortal Life of Nicholas Flammel, and part Simon vs the Homo Sapiens.
Henry Montague, known as Monty, really got the whipping from his dad when he was expelled from Eton, but now he’s convinced his parents to let him do his “tour” of the continent (Europe) before he settles down to run his father’s estate and he’s taking his best mate Percy and his sister Felicity along for the ride. But things get out of hand quite quickly. His father hires a culture guide for them who inhibits their plans for debauchery but in the palace of Versailles, Monty meets a woman who takes him back to her apartments. Shortly before being chased out by a high-ranking French politician, Monty knicks a trinket from his desk, and now they’re on the run. There’s highwaymen, wannabe pirates, a strange set of siblings and an alchemist father, a dead but not dead mother, a rogue Duke who really wants his trinket back, and two boys realizing their absolutely in love with each other. It’s pretty much got everything you could ever want.
One of things I enjoyed most about this book was Monty’s voice. It fit his situation exquisitely and the narrator of the audiobook did a great job with it. This book isn’t quite as purposefully funny as My Lady Jane, but it has similar moments of humor woven into it. Monty’s observations about the world and the people around him are witty and he has some great retorts. The other main characters of Percy and Felicity are also interesting and though we don’t hear their voices exactly, I did feel like I really got to know them as characters so that by the end I could understand their actions more fully and almost predict how they would handle a situation.
I first heard about this book when it was featured in the Owlcrate box last fall and it’s always been on my radar, but I’m glad I finally dove into it. It was fun and a really intriguing love story and I was so invested in the story even if the more “alchemical” elements didn’t intrigue me as much.