The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy
by Mackenzi Lee
Synopsis: 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 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 window of opportunity opens—a doctor she idolizes 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.
I don’t want to be overdramatic but this book might be the most extraordinary, realistic, inspirational young adult book I’ve ever read. I really felt every character’s emotions and loved basically everything about the book.
The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue was one of my best reads of 2017 but this-this is something that we need more in YA literature.
Felicity is the newest addition to my all time favorite heroines list. She felt so real; she had goals, flaws, doubts, struggles, resolve, friendship, growth, and ingenuity that made her whole. I enjoyed her adventure, both her internal and actual continent-crossing seafaring ones. Felicity Montague is sick and tired of having to fight for her right to simply exist. As a young lady intent on becoming a physician, every door open to education is slammed in her face simply because she isn’t a man. Men either refuse to listen to her or worse, mock her dreams. Without a penny to her name, Felicity has no hope of making it to Germany until the mysterious Sim offers to pay if she can travel with her disguised as Felicity’s maid. Suspicious of the pirate’s intentions, Felicity still agrees because she believes her only hope of becoming a doctor is by learning from Dr. Platt. One thing I really admired about Felicity’s character is her recurring mantra — “You deserve to be here.” She gives herself pep talks throughout the book, and it might be beneficial for me to take a page from her self-care book. It’s a good tool for dealing with being “raised in a world where you’re taught to always believe what men say” and “doubting yourself at every step.” Misogyny aside, she’s also dealing with a medical community that wants to treat people instead of preventing disease, because treating people makes more money. Another theme sadly still relevant today.
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy is such a wild ride of a novel. Starting it, I didn’t much know where it would go, but as the story developed, I was beaming the whole way through. In between the growing friendship between the girls, the cameos from Monty and Percy, and the fierce intersectional feminist message, I was completely in my element. Read this book when it comes out! You won’t regret it!
A big thank you to Harper360 UK for sending me a copy.