I adore Mackenzi Lee. Okay, I’ll read ALL her books. I first discovered Lee’s wit and fun characters in Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. Who didn’t fall in love with Percy & Monty & Felicity? Then Lee did this wonderful thing and wrote a book just for Felicity!!!
Ah, just look at the Montague siblings together. *heart stutters joyfully*
I was blessed beyond words to receive an ARC of The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy. Yes, I could not put it down and read it completely all in one day. Felicity is my queen. And her story is incredible.
Lady’s Guide picks up pretty quickly where Gentleman’s Guide left off. Yes, this review will have slight spoilers for Gentleman’s Guide but NOT for Lady’s Guide.
Felicity returned to England and is looking for someone, anyone, to let her into college for doctors. This might not be working out as Felicity was born 300 years ago and men in wigs pretty much decided woman were useless for all things medical.
How all the men react to Felicity, basically.
Especially when a feisty woman talks about woman’s issues, i.e, menstruation. That does not go so well for Felicity.
Felicity is not daunted by this sexism, well, not that much. She’s still very determined to be a doctor. And when she hears that her childhood best friend is marrying her childhood medical hero, Felicity decides to crash the wedding. Along with her new friend, Sim, a mysterious pirate. Because childhood medical hero is going to be openminded and totally willing to take Felicity as an apprentice, right???
All my Favorite Characters
Felicity Montague is brave. Relentless. Determined. And has a ton of growing to do. I love that about her character. In the first book, we’re introduced to Felicity but it’s not super clear regarding her sexuality. In this book, we learn form the beginning – Felicity is asexual and aromantic.
Now, in the 18th century, people might not have had technical terms to name their feelings and desires. But Felicity isn’t weighed down to describe her desires – she doesn’t want marriage, or romance or sex. And she’s pretty adamant about it. She doesn’t enjoy kissing, and she doesn’t feel romantically.
Can I say how refreshing this was to read? It was genuine and felt real, and not forced or messy. You don’t often see female characters who aren’t romance dependent and I just absolutely loved Felicity’s independence.
And I have never read such strong aromatic and asexual representation before, and I really, really appreciated the rep. Books don’t need romance to be perfectly complete. Aro and Ace people need representation, and I do hope more non-romantic centric YA books hit the market.
And then there are TWO NEW CHARACTERS!!!
Joanna and Sim. Both are so unique and individual and I could have a whole series of books with just these two.
Dealing with Colonialism
Ahem, Felicity and Joanna both are prejudiced Europeans. Their prejudices are NOT RIGHT. Which is a major crisis of the story – taking two very strong headed woman, and showing them that they way they view other cultures is wrong. Plain wrong.
And Sim, our hijabi wearing, sapphic heroine, plays the leading role in defending her people and her country’s autonomy. Sim is passionate and I loved her for it. She doesn’t hesitate to call out Felicity and Joanna for their imperialism.
Coolest of all… Sim is a PIRATE. So, yes, Mackenzi Lee likes throwing in Pirates into her books. But sapphic, hijabi pirates are the BEST.
Gah, I love a friendship centered book. And at it’s heart, Felicity’s story is all about friendship. Felicity has to come to terms with her prejudices towards her friends, especially her attitude towards Joanna for being too ladylike.
As a lady like gal like Joanna, I was mortified by Felicity’s attitude. You can wear dresses and save the world all at once. I mean, look at Wonder Woman and her keen sense of style.
Now, sadly, Mackenzi Lee’s books are not the best regarding plot. *cries* For real, this book is 500 pages long or so. And the story could be told in less than 300 pages, I think? The pacing just seems to draaaggggg. If it weren’t for the vibrancy of the characters, I wouldn’t have kept reading.
Also, I felt like some parts of the plot were muddled? And <spoiler (highlight to read)> dragon eggs + drugs and all that part fo the plot were not my cup of tea. It just didn’t feel realistic <spoiler>
If you’re wondering if Percy & Monty play a part, yes, there are cute fully Percy & Monty moments. I mean, Felicity’s story wouldn’t be really complete without them, right? though Monty is mostly just an annoying older brother 98% of the time. Percy is always the sweetest.
So, finally in conclusion, I loved this book. Not only for the incredibly strong characters, but their humanity. How much Felicity and Joanna grow, the way Sim stands for her people, and the focus on friendship.
Felicity Montague is through with pretending she prefers society parties to books about bone setting—or that she’s not smarter than most people she knows, or that she cares about anything more than her dream of becoming a doctor.
A year after an accidentally whirlwind tour of Europe, which she spent evading highwaymen and pirates with her brother Monty, Felicity has returned to England with two goals in mind—avoid the marriage proposal of Callum Doyle, a lovestruck suitor from Edinburgh; and enroll in medical school. However, her intellect and passion will never be enough in the eyes of the administrators, who see men as the sole guardians of science.
But then a small window of hope opens. Doctor Alexander Platt, an eccentric physician that Felicity idolizes, is looking for research assistants, and Felicity is sure that someone as forward thinking as her hero would be willing to take her on. However, Platt is in Germany, preparing to wed Felicity’s estranged childhood friend Johanna. Not only is Felicity reluctant to opening old wounds, she also has no money to make the trip.
Luckily, a mysterious young woman is willing to pay Felicity’s way, so long as she’s allowed to travel with Felicity disguised as her maid. In spite of her suspicions, Felicity agrees, but once the girl’s true motives are revealed, Felicity becomes part of a perilous quest that will lead her from the German countryside to the promenades of Zurich to secrets lurking beneath the Atlantic.
Have you read Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue? Are you excited for Felicity’s book? What books with Aro and/or Ace rep do you recommend? Have you read any books featuring pirates or cross country adventures recently?