In July, I was reading a super secret proof. It was so secret that I was asked by the publisher to keep it a secret until they were offering the proof out for their blogging mailing list. I was thrilled and honoured to receive this book, especially as I loved the first one. Any idea as to what it is yet? Oh, alright I’ll tell you! It was…….
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy!
I want to give a huge shout out to Shrina at Harper 360 who very kindly sent me this proof! I still can’t get over it, and I also can’t get over how good this book was!
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 idolises, 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.
“Your beauty is not a tax you are required to pay in oder to take up space in this world. You deserve to be here.”
That’s one of the many lines I’d marked as really good while reading this book. As the synopsis supplies, Felicity is off on an adventure of her own without having to worry about her brother or his boyfriend. What speaks volumes in this book is Felicity’s determination. She is forever determined to prove herself worthy of becoming a doctor, and no man, obstacle, pirate or mythical creature will get in her way. Yep, you read that right.
Like the first book, The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats & Piracy weaves in mythical elements with historical fiction, but does it in a way that perfectly pairs up with the setting without jarring the flow of the book. The mythical creatures in this book match so well to their surroundings and the events of the book that it’s a wonder they didn’t actually exist in the first place. They are woven in so cleverly, and it’s a delight to be able to read such a nice merging of two genres effortlessly.
Felicity is a wonderful character; hard, determined, focused. She is not shy to speak her mind and to let others know what she thinks is foolish. I still love her, even with her flaws too. Like Monty, she doesn’t seem to realise the effect her words have on others, especially when it comes to her once best friend Johanna. The pair have drifted apart after many years and differences, yet Johanna is still the person she was as a child deep down. Where Felicity doesn’t mind a bit of dirt on her dresses and prefers sturdy boots to pretty shoes, Johanna would rather be seen in huge frills and drinking tea with her friends. The growth of these characters’ acceptance towards each other is a beautiful display. What starts out as coldness between the two blossoms into understanding that they can like their different things and still both be strong, independent and bold young women.
Sim is another brilliant character, introduced as a newcomer to Scipio’s pirate crew. Without spoiling too much, she is a vital character linked to the mythical creatures we meet further along in the book. Sim is also determined like Felicity, but is far more ruthless and cunning. She’s a great balance of moral darkness for Felicity, and every move she makes gets questioned. Felicity also has discussions with Sim about having no interest in kissing, marriage or anything else related to those activities, and it’s nice to read about a YA character like this! Felicity’s asexuality was hinted at in the first novel, so it’s great to get some clarification on it in her own book.
This book and the first in the series does make me love a bit of historical fiction, and I love the setting and language, which was done so well. As I read I could feel the cold snow make me shiver, or the uncomfortable travelling Felicity did. It was great to be so sucked into this book world, so I’d definitely be up for hearing some more recommendations of something similar!
Final thoughts: A thrilling and deeply personal quest for Felicity and co. 5/5
P.S. Monty and Percy are back in this one, and Monty is just as excellent as before! Don’t say you haven’t been warned…