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The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

Review

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

Mackenzi Lee is an author of books for children and young adults. She currently lives in Boston and manages an independent bookstore. THIS MONSTROUS THING, Mackenzi’s debut novel, won the PEN-New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award. Her newest works, THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE and THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY, put a modern spin on the typical historical fiction adventure story. THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY follows Monty’s sister Felicity and her journey after Monty’s.

It’s been a year since Felicity Montague traveled with Monty and Percy in THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE. Felicity is now back in England to pursue her dream of training and being recognized as a lady doctor. She shocked when her boss in the pastry shop where she works in Edinburgh proposes to her, and she quickly flees to London. In London, some family members take her in as she makes another effort in pleading with the doctors in London to let her study with them. But when the men shut her down once again, Felicity finds out that the doctor she looks up to most, Alexander Platt, is looking for new assistants. She decides to track down Platt and fight for a position with him.

"THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY will not be like anything you have read before. Historical, fantastical, adventure-filled and much more, Lee’s sequel will not disappoint fans of the first novel."

THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE was one of my favorite reads of 2017. As soon as I learned its premise, I knew I needed to read it. When I did, I loved it way more than I ever expected. THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY was a little different because I knew I would relish it from the start, but it exceeded that as well. Felicity was not a character who I loved in Monty’s story --- she definitely grew on me in that book --- but after reading her story, I admire her even more than I do Monty. Independent, strong-willed and refusing to give up, Felicity is everything I want in a female lead character. She just so happens to live in the 18th century where there are quite a few social differences from today, and that gets her into much trouble.

My least favorite part of THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE was the fantastical element, and I very much appreciated that there was less of a focus on that in Felicity’s story. As someone who hardly reads historical fiction, I can be picky about it. I am happy to say that Mackenzi Lee is one of my favorite historical fiction writers, and all of her books are historical with some kind of twist. From reading her nonfiction book, BYGONE BADASS BROADS, I have come to even more greatly enjoy her approach to portraying historical women. Lee’s writing has only become better with each book, and I like each one slightly more than the last. I also am thrilled by the lengths of her books: long (about 500 pages) but not wasting any space on scenes that do not help the story. I initially was a little skeptical of whether Felicity would be as appealing a main character as Monty, but she genuinely unique and refreshing even if she lived in the 1700s.

Her story is not focused on any romance but on strong female friendships and familial relationships. A contrast from Monty’s romantic monologues, Felicity only has one track on her mind: becoming a doctor. While I adored the romance in Monty’s story, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY was marvelous without it. It featured the same antics readers came to expect from the first book (with a little bit more piracy), and it is precisely the book I hoped it would be. Felicity and her friend Johanna are only one example of the friendships that made this book great, and I could not help but root for them both. I was not expecting Johanna or even other characters like Sim to be such integral parts of Felicity’s story, but they also grew on me.

I will continue to read anything Mackenzi Lee writes and highly recommend them to readers of all genres. Featuring history, but in no way feeling like a dense read, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY will not be like anything you have read before. Historical, fantastical, adventure-filled and much more, Lee’s sequel will not disappoint fans of the first novel. I highly recommend Mackenzi Lee’s books and believe it best to read these books in order.

Reviewed by on October 16, 2018

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