Buy The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Montague Siblings, #2)
Regular price $13.51
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Format: Paperback / eBook
Reviewer: Melissa on May 28, 2020
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
After finishing The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, I picked up Mackenzi Lee‘s The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy in part because I wanted to be ready for the original pub date for The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks. Of course, this was before I realized the third Montague Siblings book would be pushed back to December—disappointing to say the least.
Set a year after the accidentally whirlwind grand tour with her brother Monty and his friend Percy, Felicity Montague has returned to England with two goals—to avoid the marriage proposal of a lovestruck suitor from Edinburgh and enroll in medical school. Unfortunately, her intelligence and passion may not be enough for the administrators who believe that only men are capable of studying medicine. Suddenly, an opportunity arises—a doctor she idolizes is marrying one of her childhood friends in Germany. Felicity is sure that meeting this man could change her life, but she has no money to make the trip. When a mysterious young woman agrees to pay her way, so long as she’s allowed to travel with Felicity disguised as her maid. Despite her suspicions, Felicity agrees, but when the girl’s true motives are revealed, Felicity becomes part of a perilous quest that takes them from the German countryside to the promenades of Zurich to secrets lurking beneath the Atlantic.
Seeing the world through Felicity’s perspective is much different from that of Monty’s. He may be bisexual, but as a white, cisgender male who was expected to run an estate, Monty has lived a life of privilege that wasn’t afforded to his bookish sister in the same way. Felicity was never give a formal education even though all she ever dreamed about was becoming a doctor licensed to practice medicine. No one took her seriously in this regard, and no one in England would ever allow her to pursue her dreams during the 18th century. Moreover, unlike everyone she’s ever known, she has never experienced sexual attraction. Yay for ace representation! As an asexual woman with, possibly, a romantic interest in women who is prohibited from pursuing her dreams because she was born a woman, she is doubly oppressed—something Monty never has been—and thus, doubly worth a voice in this series.
If you loved Monty’s story, you can rest assured that this companion features both him and Percy in equal measure. That said, there are great passages of time where they’re locked out of the story in favour of Felicity, Sim, the Muslim-woman who agrees to pay Felicity’s way to Germany, and Johanna, Felicity’s childhood friend from whom she’d distanced herself for the past few years after a difference of opinion. This novel is primarily an exploration about the different places available for women at the time because just like Felicity, both Johanna and Sim find themselves unable to pursue the roles that they wanted for themselves just because of the gender they were assigned at birth, and Sim is further oppressed at times because of her race and sexual orientation.
Female readers who are interested in medicine, natural science, or either sailing or the pirates life, especially those who are doubly or triply oppressed by their races, religions, or sexual orientations, will get a lot to throw their ire up in this regard. Justifiably so. More than this, it also explores the idea that there can be more than one type of woman, that some women can love fashion, makeup, and aspire to the appearance of the feminine ideal, and still be strong and feminist leaning. Even if their friends criticize them.
Despite the focus on realistic situations, I thoroughly enjoyed the way fantastical creatures are incorporated into this diverse world to make a point about the over exploitation of finite resources and the risk of colonization in quickly destroying the sense of land and the animals that subsist on it. The author doesn’t shy away from presenting the inhumanity of man, animal, and the earth alike is very much appreciated. In addition, she settles her female characters into a deep type of camaraderie that I’d love to see more of in YA fiction. It’s no longer about competition, but rather growing closer and lifting each other up.
You seriously don’t want to miss Felicity’s POV in the Montague Siblings’ series, The Lady’s Guide of Petticoats and Piracy!
Buy The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy today for a great price!