Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Me on The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

Title: The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Release Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins imprint)

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.

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy is another race across Europe in search of adventure, intrigue, and some unexpected personal growth along with some thievery and piracy. Because what else do you do on a trip across Europe with a Montague sibling?

Felicity is back, practical and head-strong as ever, still waiting for the men who control every teaching hospital and medical school she applies to to actually listen to her when she says she wants to be a doctor. She's intelligent, she's calm, and she's widely read on the subject. But reading books only gets her so far. She has no practical experience, which is what she would get learning medicine from other doctors. But all other doctors are male and are too stupid to realize, according to Felicity, that admitting her would actually teach them something about women's health and women in general. That they don't all faint at the sight of blood or a man's private parts. When Felicity hears of a chance to possibly meet a doctor who don't flinch at the thought of working with a woman, when she starts hoping of a chance to one day be taken seriously as a doctor, she's off.

I knew what to expect this time around, having read the first, but I didn't expect how it would all unfold. Considering Felicity is the calm and the practical to Monty's hedonism and hilarity, I knew there would be a lot of sense and reason. And there is. But there's also a lot of Felicity learning how to be herself without being sharp and dismissive. She knows that she's not one of those girls interested in frippery and frivolity, in dresses and jewels and weddings, but that doesn't mean that the girls that are are clueless and foolish. It's okay for Felicity to want to be a doctor, just as it's okay for other girls to want to get married and throw parties. This book speaks to the determination and the strength of girls and women, how they continue to push back against gender stereotypes, how they carve out places for themselves to learn and teach and exist in a world that would have them stand back in the shadows. I enjoyed this book more than the first, which I imagine says something about me and how often I agreed with Felicity over the course of reading this book, but if you enjoyed the first you're sure to love this return to the Montagues and their inability to live quiet, boring lives.

(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.)

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