Title: The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Series: Montague Siblings, #2
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: October 2nd 2018
In this highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, Felicity Montague must use all her womanly wits and wiles to achieve her dreams of becoming a doctor—even if she has to scheme her way across Europe to do it. A must-have for fans of Mackenzi Lee’s extraordinary and Stonewall Honor-winning novel.
A year after an accidentally whirlwind grand tour with her brother Monty, Felicity Montague has returned to England with two goals in mind—avoid the marriage proposal of a lovestruck suitor from Edinburgh and enrol 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 window of opportunity opens—a doctor she idolises is marrying an old friend of hers in Germany. Felicity believes if she could meet this man he could change her future, but she has no money of her own 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 leads them from the German countryside to the promenades of Zurich to secrets lurking beneath the Atlantic.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.
My Thoughts On…
When her luck trying to enrol in medical school in Edinburgh runs out Felicity returns to London to plead with the schools there and avoid a marriage proposal she doesn’t know how to answer. But when faced once more with failure and with no more plans Felicity is thrown a lifeline; with a direction once again Felicity heads to Germany to crash the wedding of her once-friend in the hopes of earning a place on Dr Alexander Pratt’s research expedition.
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy was one of my most anticipated releases of 2018, and Mackenzi Lee did not disappoint. Felicity was one of my favourite characters in The Gentleman’s Guide and while there were some short cameos featuring Monty and Percy, and still a very close bond between the three of them, this was very much focuses on Felicity’s story and there is a lot of focus on the female characters and their development throughout.
Travelling to Germany chasing after her dreams, a strange girl with motives of her own offering to pay Felicity’s way in exchange for access to the brides home, Felicity is close to having everything she’s ever wanted. However when Sim reveals the real reason she was set on accompanying Felicity to the wedding and Johanna flees the night before she exchanges vows with Dr Pratt, Felicity finds herself on another quest; a journey just as perilous and magical as her brother’s grand tour.
Despite having a similar concept to The Gentleman’s Guide, an adventure which takes our main characters halfway across the world chasing after magic and trying to right their inadvertent wrongs, The Lady’s Guide still feels ‘new’. While the concept was similar there were new characters to learn about and new villains to unmask, there was a new magic system to discover and in some ways a new world to explore alongside Felicity.
Felicity definitely grew a lot in this book. In The Gentleman’s Guide she seemed confident where Monty was not, she was sure of what she wanted to do and where she wanted her life to go, but in this one she’s hit multiple walls and it’s starting to knock her down. Still she doesn’t let her downfalls hold her back for long. Her ambitions can cause her to be a little blinkered though, she’s very focused on her end goal that she doesn’t see other people’s.
Johanna used to be Felicity’s best friend, until she started taking an interest in ‘girly’ things and they each fell away from one another. Johanna is probably my favourite character in The Lady’s Guide; she is aware of her place in society, what is expected of her, but she won’t let herself be ruled by Dr Pratt. Johanna is just as smart as Felicity, her mind open to scientific discovery, and she refuses to let Felicity put her down because she enjoys looking pretty as well as being smart.
Sim is a mysterious character, she allies herself with Felicity in order to gain access to Johanna’s house but there is a lot she keeps from Felicity, and seems to keep keeping from her and Johanna. All three girls’ actions are driven by the men; at first for Felicity it’s impressing her idol, while for Johanna it’s escaping from the same man and keeping something Dr Pratt covets that rightfully belongs to her, and for Sim it’s protecting her families legacy and secrets.
I loved seeing little snippets of Monty and Percy in this book. They don’t play a large part in Felicity’s story but you can see how their adventures a year ago bonded the three of them. Monty is still an overprotective older brother but Percy understands it’s best to let the Montague siblings forge their own path and offer support when needed which is what Felicity wants.
There was a lot of representation in this book; of the three main characters Sim is a Muslim black pirate and Felicity is asexual/aromantic, and then we have Monty and Percy who are content and still in a happy loving relationship.
One of my favourite parts of The Gentleman’s Guide were all the places Monty, Percy and Felicity travelled to and that we travelled to with them, and The Lady’s Guide continues that trend. The story opens in Edinburgh and we follow Felicity to London and Germany as she chases her dream, before moving onto Zurich and the Atlantic Ocean as she chases something more important than recognition from the stuffy old men standing guard in the doorways of the medical schools Felicity tried to enrol herself in.
This book was just as fast-paced and fun as The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue; from the beginning I was invested in Felicity’s journey and growth, and curious as to what was driving both Johanna and Sim and what secrets each girl was hiding. This felt like a feminist story, all about the different ways women can be strong, and there was plenty of diversity and representation as well.
What did you think of The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.