Readers of LGBT fiction rejoice! A wonderful new author has been discovered! Mackenzi Lee is the author of teen historical fantasy and LGBT romance with sarcastic and witty characters. She’s a relatively new author, having written only two books and a couple of short stories, but they are all so good! I finished the audiobook of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (TN LEE) in about three days - it’s verging on being a doorstop-sized book, but it’s a fast-paced enough read that once you get started, you won’t want to put it down. If you’re a fan of Frankenstein, check out her steampunk retelling, which was her debut, This Monstrous Thing (TN LEE). That one was also good, though it took me a bit longer to get through because it’s more world building and plot-heavy. She’s also just published a short story in All Out (TN ALL), a collection of LGBTQ short stories, which was a great read.
Set in an alternate Geneva in 1818, This Monstrous Thing centers around a group of clockwork mechanics that call themselves Shadow Boys and care for men with clockwork body parts who live hidden away from society. One of the mechanics, Alasdair Finch, does the unimaginable and brings his brother, Oliver, back from the dead with clockwork pieces. Though he is alive, Oliver isn’t quite a man anymore, but something else entirely. Soon after he is resurrected, the publication of the book Frankenstein sends the city into a frenzied search for the Shadow Boys with the aim of discovering the men behind the monsters, and Alasdair and his brother must find a way to escape before being discovered. If you’re a fan of Frankenstein, gothic stories, or steampunk, it’s a bit of everything and is definitely worth reading!
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue is a fast-paced, entertaining, and romantic story about Henry Montague, or Monty, who is the son of a lord, and is involved in just about every kind of scandal under the sun, from drinking to soliciting the attentions of both men and women alike, despite his father’s disapproval. When he embarks upon his year-long Grand Tour of the continent with Felicity, his sister, and Percy, his friend on whom he has a huge crush, he knows it’s his last chance to live his life of debauchery before being forced to settle down and learn his father’s trade or risk losing everything. Though things were supposed to run smoothly, Monty’s predisposition for trouble sends the trio on the run from a manhunt across Europe. From relationships to pirate ships, this book has just about everything you could want from an LGBTQ historical romance.
If you’re a fan of short stories, All Out is a collection of fiction by various authors encompassing several genres to reimagine the past, where LGBTQ figures take center stage and shape the world. This diverse group of stories ranges across time, identities, and cultures from Little Red Riding Hood set in 1870’s Mexico about a transgender soldier to an asexual roller-disco girl in the 1970’s and everything in between. It’s off the beaten track, but these are by far some of the best short stories I’ve read in a while!
Need something to tide you over while you wait for Mackenzi Lee’s next book? Try these books! The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp (Jh TRI), Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (Jh GN STE), A Tyranny of Petticoats (TN TYR), Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein by Gris Grimly with the original text by Mary Shelley (Jh GN SHE), and Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco (OverDrive eBook). Looking for more about Mackenzi Lee? Find her at her website, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube.