delicate eternity logo
A haven for lovers of the written word
separate post

What: The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (The Montague Siblings#2) by Mackenzi Lee

Who: Katherine Tegen Books

When: October 2nd 2018

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Harper Collins Australia for review.

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 was one of my most anticipated books of 2018. After reading and absolutely adoring The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue I was absolutely thrilled about the prospect of another book set in the same world, with the same characters. With the bonus addition of piracy.

While The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy was set in the same world with the same characters, there was absolutely no piracy. I honestly thought that this book would be set at sea, with the same pirates that readers met in Gentleman’s Guide. But that was not the case. There were pirate characters, and pirate ships, but there were no sailing the high seas and plundering merchant ships for their goods and wares. And for that, I was severely disappointed. When a book has the word piracy in the title I actually expect some, you know, piracy.

Beside the massive letdown of no piracy in The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, there was also no discernible plot in this 400-odd page novel. To be honest, most of the book was Felicity bemoaning the fact that she was a girl, and that she was denied opportunities because of this. And yes, I am on board with moaning about men and their privilege, but I also need a little more than that. Also, the vehement reinforcement of the gender binary throughout this entire novel was, quite frankly, exhausting. Even though this was an historical novel I still don’t think that all discussions regarding gender had to be so blatantly binary. This series is a queer series after all so it just seemed remiss to focus so solely on cisgender identities.

Perhaps I could have forgiven the completely lack of piracy and the absent plot if I had adored the narrator. I have fallen in love with books before simply because I love the protagonist so much that that love carries the whole novel. That was not the case for The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy. Felicity was boring. There, I said it. She was boring and she was judgemental and I am just very tired of ace characters all conforming into the ‘smart and logical and ew what is human emotion get it away from me’ character archetype. It’s so very over used and I am so very over it. I was also expecting Felicity’s asexuality and aromanticism to be an important part of the novel since that aspect had been so hyped up, but there were less than a handful of passages about either and how she felt regarding them, and for that I was severely disappointed.

The best part of The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy was the last 50 or so pages, when things actually happened and Felicity wasn’t a boring cardboard cut-out of a character. If the whole book had been as interesting as those last few chapters I think I’d be writing a very different review. But as it is, they were only the last 50 or so pages, and they couldn’t make up for the hundreds before them.

All in all, I was disappointed in The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy. I didn’t want to be. I wanted to adore this novel as much as I did its predecessor. But the things I detailed in this review were all the reasons why I didn’t and couldn’t fall in love with this book. Maybe you’ll have better luck with it, but for me it just didn’t quite hit the mark.

© 2018, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning

sexism, racism, physical assault, reference to domestic violence, reference to alcoholism, drug abuse, use of ableist language, forced marriage, abduction, hostage situation, depictions of gore (related to an animal), explosions, reference to absent parent + death of parent (friend’s situation), gun fight (friend wounded)

separate post
Posted on: October 9, 2018 • By: Chiara

11 Responses to The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee: Not About Piracy

  1. Nina says:

    Amen! I gave it the same rating. I found the story quite erratic, did not like Felicity either and yes, no pirates at all. I admit the book has good moments but yes, I found the whole thing so erratic I could not love it more.

  2. I definitely liked this one more than you, but I didn’t love it either, which is unfortunate since I LOVED Gentleman’s Guide. Honestly, some of my favorite parts were when Monty and Percy were there…I just love Monty’s personality and Felicity shines a bit brighter when he’s around, I think. I wish her asexuality had been explored a bit more too! Definitely not a book about piracy – probably better to have the title say Petticoats and Pirates. LOL


    • Chiara says:

      I’m sorry you didn’t love it, either! I agree the best parts were when Percy and Monty were around – they made it a lot better. It’s such a shame that her ace and aro-ness were so underdeveloped, I would have loved more about that, to be honest. Yeah, the lack of piracy devastated me!!

  3. Oh no, I’m sad this didn’t work for you! I’ve just started it today, and I’m not going to lie, I’m not exactly feeling it yet, but I’m hoping it will get better haha. I heard from various people that there is not really any piracy which is DISAPPOINTING – they shouldn’t have put it into the title then smh. Great review!

    Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

    • Chiara says:

      I’m so sad, as well! To be honest I knew from the first few pages that it just wasn’t going to click with me :( I hope it gets better for you, though! I have no idea why piracy is in the title but not in the book >.> Thanks, Veronika!

  4. Omggg noooo. I’m so sad it disappointed you! I’m reading it right now but I’m enjoying it. ?Although it’s not really rating anywhere near to Monty’s level of fantasticness. Eep. I’m actually struggling with the audiobook narrator though, because she makes Felicity sound much more vibrant whereas I LOVED how factually flat she was in Monty’s audiobook.?Like all her “no you’re not dying” cue eyeroll every time Monty freaked out, were all delivered so stolidly haha. I loved that. But yeah. I was wondering when the pirates would start but gah, I’m sad they won’t.

    (Also I honestly am a bit disappointed that Felicity’s reaction to Monty/Percy was STILL very firmly “I’ll never understand them”…??Like she doesn’t actively oppose them or their happiness, but she was pretty forthright that she didn’t get it. I am sad. Even if you’ve grown up being told something is a sin, there is no reason you can’t change??)

    • Chiara says:

      At least you are liking it! It’s a bit weird that the narrator is vibrant when Felicity is the exact opposite, haha. Hopefully that doesn’t dampen your enjoyment too much! And yes, I was incredibly sad about the lack of piracy :(

      Yeah I have to agree with you. I was just like… okay, that’s completely unnecessary :/

  5. How disappointing! I haven’t read A Gentleman’s Guide yet, as I knew it was part of a series. I didn’t want to have to wait forever for the rest of the story!

    Sigh. I agree with you – ace and aromantic characters should have more than a complete lack of emotion. I’m ace and I am not a robot! Show some feelings, people!

    I’m sorry this disappointed you so much. Are there more books expected in this series? Perhaps you’ll find joy in further books?

    • Chiara says:

      The two stories are almost completely separate! Monty’s story in Gentleman’s Guide is wrapped up in his book, and this one is a story about Felicity :)

      I feel like every YA book I read with an ace character is like this. It really upsets me because it’s setting up a trope of the unfeeling, smart ace person. I actually read a book not long after this that had the exact same thing :/

      I don’t think there are any more! There’s just the two siblings and so just two books I think.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *