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

This Stonewall Book Award winning novel by Mackenzi Lee is part of a trilogy featuring the stubborn Montague siblings. This is the first book in the series and it takes place during an “educational” jaunt around Europe. Lee infuses heart, humor, and adventure into this orginal historical fiction and fantasy story. There is a plot point in this book that takes the story to a crazy new level, but I don’t want to ruin the joy in letting you find out what it is.

It’s a Venetian name—Baseggio. A patronymic from a Venetian diminutive of the surname Basile. Perhaps you may begin your search there.

“A patronymic diminutive of…that, yes.” I understand less than half of those words in that sentence but God bless the book people for their boundless knowledge absorbed from having words instead of friends. “Yes thank you, I’ll try that.”

Before I get into my feelings about this book, I wanted to mention something: I am embarrassed to say that I don’t read much LGBT literature. You would think that after the hundreds of books I’ve read I could think of some that have stood out to me, and unfortunately I can’t think of many. I felt the need to write about this for two reasons: because it’s important to go beyond what you’re used to, and simply because it was so darn funny.

The diversity is wonderful; not only is the main character Monty bisexual and in love with his best friend Percy (a guy to be exact), but also because that friend is half black. The main character Monty and his sister Felicity are a sweet, albeit slightly dysfunctional duo, and in my opinion Percy is the best out of all three because he’s the glue that holds everything together. This book will definitely make you laugh and is easy to finish in a few days. Make sure to read the author’s note on the history that she uses as inspiration for the story.

“Under my watch,” Lockwood says, “there will be no gambling, limited tobacco, and absolutely no cigars.”

“No visitation to any dens of antiquity”, he goes on, “or sordid establishments of any kind. No caterwauling, no inappropriate relations with members of the opposite sex. No fortification. No slothfulness or excessive sleeping late.”

It’s beginning to feel like he’s making his way through the seven deadly sins, in ascending order of my favorites.

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