Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Book Review: The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

Title: The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Montague Siblings #2)
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 450
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Review for book 1

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 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.

Last year I read The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue and absolutely fell in love! I loved Monty and Percy and their romance together. I loved Felicity and the adventures the trio went on. Every single thing about Gentleman's Guide was amazing and I was over the moon when I found out there would be a second book! I was so thrilled to get my hands on an ARC and immediately dug in... then found myself putting it down until the audiobook was available.

As everything about this book suggests, this time we get to follow Felicity's story. Felicity dreams of being a doctor but finds herself thwarted at every opportunity. Men laugh at her and her friends act as if they're indulging a fantasy. When she's given the chance to meet and possibly work with her favorite doctor, she immediately boards a ship with some questionable people in order to make her dreams come true.

Sadly, Felicity just couldn't quite win me over. She is okay as a character and I appreciated the asexuality rep, but in the end I found her a bit boring. Felicity spent the entire book lamenting how she would never be a doctor, but beyond talking to one group of men and chasing around one other man, not much happened in the way of pursuing that particular dreams. Instead, Lady's Guide is mostly Felicity running around after other people. In a way, this really didn't feel like Felicity's story at all.

The other two main characters in this book are Johanna and Sim and they were both fantastic! This book is really all about girl power and these two really helped drive the point home. All three women have distinct aspirations, but all three go about getting them in different ways. While I loved the feminist tone of the book, it was also a bit exhausting after awhile. Lady's Guide really is just a book about three women doing women things and damn the men. Which is mostly fun, but seems a bit heavy handed.

There were many parts of this I enjoyed, of course! My favorite bits were the ones with Monty and Percy and sadly there weren't many of them. I loved their banter and humor and romance and kind of wish we could have a second book of their adventures together. I also loved the pirate parts when they actually did come up, which didn't happen until nearly the end of the book. I will say that the fantasy elements of this book was weird and didn't really work for me. I'm not sure why it needed to be included and I don't think it added anything.

I thought that Lady's Guide was an okay second book, but frankly it paled in comparison to Gentleman's Guide and that's a shame. The plot dragged a bit and I do wish Felicity had been a bit more engaging, but I loved all the other characters and the piracy! If you enjoyed The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, you'll probably enjoy this one as well.