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)
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)