Henry Montague’s guide to getting drunk and causing mischief


The Rake himself: Henry (Monty) Montague.

By Savannah Epperson, News Editor



It is November, and time to move indoors for hot cocoa, fireside reading, and serious hibernation.  To kick off the month right, choose a good book. That book is “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue”

Enter the world of Henry Montague (Monty) and his witty sister Felicity. What starts off as a tour of Europe before Monty is shackled to the life of a lord becomes a grand adventure, returning a man to his family and giving freedom to those previously enslaved. Monty is a rake, who is in love with his best friend Percy, the sweet man who keeps Monty in line, mostly.

When Percy falls unexpectedly ill, Monty becomes frantic: the man he loves is in danger. Monty causes trouble everywhere he goes, leading to a chase from a French Baron and an exciting adventure to Spain.

The heart wants what it wants. In Victorian England being gay is a crime, but two young men find themselves drawn together, learning to love one another over time. (Photo illustration created by Savannah Epperson)

“The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” is a breath of fresh air. Monty is a hilarious character who brings spice to the lives of those close to him. He plays the flippant party boy well, but in truth, he is broken by the society he lives in and the abuse his father puts him through. It makes him a well-rounded character and creates depth in the story.

Percy is also a very well-rounded character. He stays by Monty’s side even when it hurts. He chooses Monty’s feelings over himself many times, but eventually, becomes fed up with Monty’s attitude.

Felicity is largely a tag-along in this book; however, she still presents a formidable character. She helps her brother and often solves the problems that they find themselves in. She is well-read and profoundly serious, while also holding on to a sense of humor and lacks an imperious air.

The story itself is a breath of fresh air for the reader. It is an escape from the world. Although the story is set in the Victorian era, the characters are not stiff, they are people all on their own. There is an adventure that does not just mean marriage and children. There is a mystery. The author keeps a fast pace throughout the whole story and reveals bits and pieces of each character throughout.

Finally, the boys can be happy. Away from a society that tells them they are broken, when in fact they are not. (Photo illustration created by Savannah Epperson)

Monty is a well-rounded, hilarious main character. Although he seems to be a pretty boy with no brain at first, the snippets of his past reveal that the party animal is just a mask that he uses to keep others away. People believe him to be a troublemaker, which at times is true, but he is also incredibly sweet and selfless when it’s called for. He gives up his estate for a chance at love with his best friend, and that is a beautiful compromise.

Percy and Felicity both add life to the story. Felicity is the foundation, the ground upon which they stand. She is level-headed and intelligent. She thinks quickly on her feet and spends the whole story trading barbs with her brother. When her brother reveals that he is not the brainless pretty boy she believed him to be, she accepts him. Percy is the glue that holds them together. He knows that the party animal is a mask. He understands Monty in ways that no one else can. He shoulders their burdens whilst dealing with his own. He educates Monty on his treatment in the world and that of the Privateers they encounter. He also sacrifices the potential chance of freedom from his illness for the dignity of a dead woman. 

The story is refreshing. It breathes on its own and keeps the reader guessing where it is going next. Reading the next book in the series is a must. The author’s writing style allows one to take a break from the pressures of the real world and just fall into the stories of the Montague siblings.

As Monty would say, “Let the party begin!”