To be honest, I hesitated about reading this book. I enjoyed The Gentleman’s Guide overall but I wasn’t blown away by it. However Beth’s review won me over, so I decided to give this a try. This book surprised me in a good way, and I am so glad to have read it! I’m excited to share my review with you guys today.
Note: Although this is a spoiler-free review for The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats & Piracy, it is possible that there are spoilers for The Gentleman’s Guide here. Please check out my previous review for The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue!
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.
Felicity Montague was had always dreamed to be a physician, and despite her many petitions to medical schools, she was not accepted due to her being a woman. Rejecting the standard expectation to be a housewife, Felicity traveled to her estranged friend Johanna’s wedding to meet a doctor who could change her life. Felicity was strong-willed and determined, and she was not afraid to fight for what she believed in.
I also loved the secondary characters in this novel as well. Having lost her mother at a young age, Johanna was now stuck in a marriage that she rather not be in. Sim was a mysterious young woman who wore the tattoo of a pirate ship, who agreed to help Felicity get to her destination though her motives were questionable.
I loved the strong, motivated women in this novel and the relationships between them. It was inspiring and empowering to read about their journey and the hardships they’d overcome.
I was also happy to see Monty and Percy make occasional appearances in this book!
During Felicity’s search for a medical career, she stumbled upon medical and fantastical issues that were bigger than herself. This led to a change in her perspective on medical care and the men in the existing medical system. I loved that historical and imaginary elements were combined to create an engaging story.
Although pacing was slow to begin with, once I had gotten to the second half of the story, I was hooked by the characters and the plot. Some plot elements took me by surprise in a good way.
While Monty’s voice in The Gentleman’s Guide was light and humorous, Felicity’s voice had a more serious tone, showcasing her strength and resilience. I was actually annoyed by Monty’s jovial voice in the first book (because at times he seemed inappropriately jovial) however I loved Felicity’s voice in this novel. I grew to love the prose in this novel, especially setting descriptions and Felicity’s own introspection.
I am often intimidated by historical fiction, however this novel incorporated historical elements in a way that was easy to understand and meshed well with the story and the characters. I also loved the sprinkle of fantasy elements which made this a delightful read.
The Bottom Line: 4/5 stars!
The ladies guide was a well-written, engaging and empowering novel featuring strong female MCs. Whether or not you enjoyed the first book in this series, I recommend you give this a try!