Oct 2, 2018 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Book Review: THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY by Mackenzie Lee

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.

 

Lady’s Guide picks up where The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue leaves off, this time following the absolutely delightful Felicity instead. As much as I enjoyed the first book, this did like this one quite a bit more. 

Felicity is a really interesting character, and one I found it quite easy to relate to throughout the story. There were a few moments when I found her to be a little irritating, but that was more because it’s not how I would have approached the situation than anything else. The supporting cast were also intriguing, and despite the amount of page time they had, I still wish they had more. Sim in particular deserves her very own book, she was fun and interesting and challenging and I would absolutely love to see the world from her perspective.

The plot was fun, and followed the same journey format as the first book. I really enjoyed getting to see more of the worldbuilding, and quite a lot of the challenges Felicity faced as a woman in that era resonated quite deeply. I also appreciated the continued exploration of queer characters, as Monty and Percy continued their relationship and Felicity worked through her feelings towards relationships and other people in general. While it’s not going to be indicative of everyone’s experience, it’s definitely a good introduction to asexuality.

Overall, it’s a fun romp with lots of laugh out loud moments (although it has to be said, some of them are funny because otherwise it hurts too much), and a very solid follow up to Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue.

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