So ordinarily I save book recs for the newsletter, but I can’t stop myself. Last week I read one that was just SO IMPOSSIBLY GOOD, I had to share. Mackenzi Lee’s THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE is unspeakably delicious. I’ve seen it termed a YA historical, but if you’re not a usual YA reader or into historicals, don’t let either of those put you off from this book. It is complex but thoroughly accessible and rollicking good fun. I haven’t enjoyed a novel this much in years! (You might know Mackenzi from her stupendously fabulous #bygonebadassbroads hashtag on Twitter. If you haven’t checked out those threads, DO. Mackenzi tweets out the facts on women who were making the history you weren’t taught in school. There’s a book based upon the tweets coming next year and I cannot WAIT.)
Have I sold you on this book yet? Hope so! And if you are a writer, it’s doubly wonderful because I have never seen such a skillful job of handling characters who are gay, of color, or struggling with issues like feminism or disability in a historical setting. (And if you think that there weren’t gay people or people of color or feminists or disabled people in 18th-century Europe, then you NEED this book because I guarantee you there were all of those and more.) So, go and read and I’m not even going to say that I hope you love this book as much as I did because I’m convinced you will.
Now, for fans of Elizabeth Peters, THE PAINTED QUEEN just pubbed–the last Amelia Peabody adventure following Peters’ death. This one was technically written by Joan Hess from extensive notes and outlines left by Peters. (That’s my understanding, but I can’t swear to it…) I haven’t read RIVER IN THE SKY because that was the last book Peters wrote and I didn’t want the series to end. But with THE PAINTED QUEEN making her debut, I think it’s time to read to the end and bid a fond farewell to Amelia, Emerson, Ramses, and the gang who have provided me with so much pleasure during the last few decades.