The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzie Lee
Also by this author: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
Series: Montague Siblings #2
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
Genres: Historical, Young Adult
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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.
Last year I read and loved reading Monty’s story in The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. There was romance, adventure, intrigue, and a great historical setting. It was cheeky and the audiobook was especially special to listen to. So having loved Monty’s book I was dying to get my hands on his sister’s story.
This book throws you in with the knowledge from the first book and seeing where all of the characters ended up. Which has Percy and Monty living together under less glamorous circumstances and Felicity trying hard to get accepted into medical school. I have to say I liked Felicity’s drive and ambition right from the start of the novel. She knew exactly what she wanted to do with her life and how many people can say that when they are her age. Felicity reminds me a lot of myself in the fact that she knew she wanted to study medicine and that she as the drive to get that process done against a society of all male colleagues of the time period. Even today many jobs are considered to be better when there is a man working them.
I do have to say that I did get a bit bored at the half way point of the novel because not much was advancing. It also felt as though Felicity’s personality was a bit plain and boring, she was only focused in on medicine and nothing else. The book was sprinkled with all of these great quotes about women trying to find their place in a man’s world. I did love all of these feminist moments but when they are repeated over and over it did get a little old even being a feminist myself. It just felt like it was missing that comic relief or that spark. There were no real moments that were funny during this time of the book and everything sort of stalled out.
The book did pick back up once Felicity started on an adventure story pathway. She started to decide for herself what she wanted with her life and some of that spark seemed to come back into her character. I really liked seeing where the story wrapped up and I’m happy with the way Felicity plans to live her life, I think it works best for her and is true to what her character would do.
Overall, while I did have times where I saw a little of myself in Felicity I also found times were the book was a bit heavy handed with the feminism quotes. We know what was going on at the time and Lee did not really need to express this one opinion so much that it distracted from the story in places. So was this my favorite, no, I still like the first one more but I do appreciate the story and some of the quotes and story themes had me nodding along saying YES!