The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

Felicity Montague is through with pretending she prefers society parties to books about bone setting—or that she’s not smarter than most people she knows, or that she cares about anything more than her dream of becoming a doctor.A year after an accidentally whirlwind tour of Europe, which she spent evading highwaymen and pirates with her brother Monty, Felicity has returne...

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Title:The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy
Author:Mackenzi Lee
Edition Language:English

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy Reviews

  • Elise (TheBookishActress)

    4 1/2 stars.

    And I want to reread the whole du

    4 1/2 stars.

    And I want to reread the whole duology now.

    So, first of all,

    was one of my favorite books of last year, and I was really worried this would not live up to it. And it… was missing some of the best qualities of book one, but then had even more new stuff that was better.

    I will say I think I also was not that scared that everything would turn out all right? like, you know from the beginning that Felicity will turn out all right with her dream just in a different way than expected. and that didn’t make the journey less fun but I guess... there was a lack of tension in the narrative.

    So no, I didn’t love this on the same level as I loved

    , but they’re both very solid books in their own right, and this one does an excellent job of not being fanfiction of the previous novel, but an excellent novel in its own right. all of these new characters have solid arcs and their own personalities and it basically reads like a stand-alone with these two random side characters, not like a direct sequel, which is lovely.]

    But then there’s so,

    much to like about this book.

    Seriously, Felicity Montague’s character arc is so freaking exciting to me, on so many levels. Felicity being acearo and it not being questioned by the narrative at all!! And her having a goal and working so hard to achieve it, the whole book long, because girls can do anything. But she also gets the chance to grow and change and work through her own problematic mindsets.

    So first of all, I love the entire arc around the not-like-other-girls trope. Can I just say, it is so refreshing to see a book powered by women being friends with each other. The whole arc around Felicity getting over her not like other girls shit with Johanna is so! perfect! It is

    refreshing that we get this arc – as you start the book, you sort of think you know what you expect from Johanna, especially in a comedy like this. But no, this book is more concentrated around something far more interesting: the girl gang. The girl gang dynamic at the end is so! perfect! I honestly wish there was more.

    In general, I really liked that Mackenzi Lee doesn’t shy away from the fact that her lead characters are of a privileged viewpoint. This comes in multiple shades. First of all, there is a lot of focus on Felicity working through her internalized homophobia, which is something that was definitely present - and highly annoying - in book one. But there’s also another shade to this: the narrative around colonialism.

    So I adored how this book deals with colonialism in a historical setting. It’s great to see unveil, so I’m being vague, but I really loved all the stuff about Sim and her family. They are trying to keep the natural resources of their home safe while

    trying to be a part of a global economy that wants them to fail from the start. Sim’s character, by the way? A sapphic hijabi girl? Talented. Brilliant. Incredible. Amazing. Showstopping. Spectacular.

    In her ignorance, Johanna initially wants to take a role in the world of a colonizer. But the narrative is so quick to criticize those viewpoints, to depict them as wrong and awful [as they are]. And in the end, they have to realize that their white, European experience is not the only one in the world, and they don’t always have the answers. They are not always the saviors in their narrative, and that’s okay. Felicity and Johanna have a right to a role in the world as powerful women… but not in the capacity of colonization and appropriation. That’s Sim’s role, and she will kick ass within it.

    Listen, it’s just… so fucking good, like so fucking good. I enjoyed reading this so much. Love that “acearo medical student goes on journey with her sapphic hijabi pirate friend and her more-feminine botanist friend” is a thing that I can enjoy in current literature. And I don’t know why you guys have to ask this so much, but yes, there are liberal

    cameos. [Was that a question? That shouldn’t be a question. I love them and I would die for them.] Anyway, I absolutely adored this, and I can’t wait to read more by this author.





  • no

    . they went through so much fucking character development and absolutely refused to be broken down by men. in this essay i will

  • Em

    You know.....if there are infinite universes with infinite possibilities, then there exists a version of me that’s a part of

    , and one day, I will consume enough caffeine to vibrate my molecules at a frequency that allows me to pass between realities and retreat into that universe.

    Felicity Montague would offer up everything on the altar of sacrifice, so long as she gets to fulfill her dream of studying me

    You know.....if there are infinite universes with infinite possibilities, then there exists a version of me that’s a part of

    , and one day, I will consume enough caffeine to vibrate my molecules at a frequency that allows me to pass between realities and retreat into that universe.

    Felicity Montague would offer up everything on the altar of sacrifice, so long as she gets to fulfill her dream of studying medicine. Her ambition had a stronger pull than all the administrators who talked about her own heart, and how it desired in a way they would judge without learning the shape of it,

    , and they were men—and

    ones—and these together made them believe the planets and moons orbited around the single point of their desires. But if being siphoned off once a ring is placed on her finger was Felicity's preordained role on this earth, then she was determined to rewrite it. Felicity Montague intends to make the world shuffle apart to yield more room for her.

    Enter Simmaa "

    " Aldajah, a black Muslim Hijabi pirate, who becomes the linchpin in Felicity's plan to sail to Germany and argue her case for a position on an expedition Doctor Platt is undertaking—an eccentric physician who happens to be engaged to Felicity’s estranged childhood friend, Johanna.

    As Sim’s hidden intentions clamor for air and Johanna’s guarded secrets spill out, the three women are thrust into a whirlwind of a quest—as unexpected as it was dangerous—that spans all the way to the Northern coast of Africa and leads them to the unseen secrets of the Atlantic.

    This book healed the worn-down places around my heart and I love it so much that I'm considering the possibility of giving up personhood to become a full-time abstract concept of


    Much like the first book,

    's careful exploration of class, intersectional privilege, misogyny, colonialism and racism astonishes with its sensitivity and sophistication. The pace is electric, expertly entwining multiple threads until every character is enmeshed in the denouement. The prose is marvelously wrought, strong, and sure-footed, but

    Most incredible and moving are their slow maturations: the author allows her characters so much multidimensionality by giving them room to make mistakes and unlearn past prejudices and assumptions and showing growth and change with brilliant and subtle writing, an impressive attention to detail and witty dialogue.

    Felicity, Sim and Johanna give off enough energy to power an entire room. Individually, their sparks might have flared and faded; collectively, they

    . They had so much shared gravity they pulled toward them anything they wanted. Together, they survived capture and imprisonment and extortion, and they broke free of every feeling of constraint and stultification before it wore them into dust. They didn’t apologize for their hearts, they didn’t make them tame, and small, but left them wild, spare and limitless. They wanted this painted world that thrilled them even as it frightened them. They wanted to understand the language of the women before them—the women who were denied the means to take up space in the world so they worked new angles for power—even if they would never speak it. And I can already feel the powerful psychic energies of thousands of my fellow sapphic readers collectively swooning at the sight. I’m so happy I can’t wait for you all to drink in that raw sapphic beauty!

    was both unapologetic and soft, openhearted and fierce and I was in awe of how she remembered to be all these things at once. She’s one of those watery people whose compassion, emotions, and ability to break down the barriers of the people around them are a remedy to this world’s problems, the ones with the beautiful eyes through which everything sparkles, and nothing goes unnoticed. And like Felicity at first, many have inaccurately been led to believe that softness translates to pliancy and docility.

    Softness is not weakness, it was only the way Johanna’s heart showed itself. It takes great courage to stay delicate in a world this cruel, just as there’s great strength in the gentleness of femininity. I love her and her fondness for pretty dresses and her wanting to pet every dog she passes and how she took by a storm all the men who misguidedly thought they could not have designed a better avenue to power for themselves than a gentle woman.

    . My favorite thing about Sim is all of her. Being the daughter of one of the most fearful pirate commodores had left her ready for whatever the world dishes out her way. No matter how many obstacles were put between her and that moment of attaining her dreams, it stayed. She was stubborn that way, always claiming space that they wouldn’t surrender her, never bowing to the way other people saw her and especially not to the misplaced notion of a woman’s primary role being entirely divorced from her intellect and strength, much less the possibility of taking on a pirate lord’s legacy. And honestly? There are so many people out there who have the potential to love and could love me back and none of them are Sim? I am genuinely so upset?

    . I need an extra heart to love Felicity with. She grows so much over the course of this book, from the off-putting, judgmental and slightly haughty girl we met in the first book (though it was more aptly termed "

    " by Sim).

    and serves as the foundation of her growing ability to realize that you can’t advocate for women and still tear women down for being women or hold other women to the arbitrary and restrictive gender roles you’ve been socialized into and further the ingrained sexist stereotype of not being "

    ". She eventually openly admits that she “

    ” in the stories she told of herself and forgot that outside the mighty walls and wide ramp she’s built around herself, other people exist beyond her impression of them and they were not merely minor players in the drama of her life. And I really loved that.

    Felicity is also on the aro-ace spectrum and this book has brought into center stage so many important discussions that made my ace heart feel so incredibly validated! 

    challenges the notion that romantic love is the end goal of all forms of love, highlighting the fact that other forms of love can be just as fulfilling. Platonic love and romantic love are not ranks, tiers, or levels. They are not above or below each other. Romance is not a promotion and being content with friendship is not a demotion. Romance is not “

    ” a purely platonic relationship. Platonic love and romantic love are concepts that exist on equal terms, side by side. Sometimes, they happen to coincide. Other times, they don’t intersect at all. It’s important to understand that neither is inherently more or less valuable than the other and it's solely up to each and every individual!

    Lastly, I have to talk about

    . They took a layer of ice off my heart. Seeing them again was like picking up midsentence as if I’d been there with them the whole time. I love them so much they’re so cute I want to make a playlist about them. I WANT TO BREAK THEIR DOOR DOWN, STOMP INTO THEIR HOUSE AND give them lots of self-validation and love for their kind souls. I’m still in ruins over the fact that at this very moment—this

    moment—Percy is alive and smiling and spending some quality time wrapped up in his boyfriend in the home they made together. There were so many instances where I had to stop and squeal or sigh or close my eyes and wrinkle my nose and forehead because they cherish each other so much and they care about Felicity SO MUCH (I swear Percy prematurely ages at least ten years every day just worrying about Felicity's general wellbeing and Felicity referring to him as her

    " filled the cold hollow inside me!!)

    The women who were told not to wander, not to stray, because for women like them—with voyager hearts and roots splat across the earth—the world offers only misery. The women who did not give up their aspirations, who did not lower their eyes and duck their chins, who did not let men’s arrogance drive them away from their ambitions. The women whose hearts did not shrink away from their own desires and whose weathered hands held onto their dreams.




  • Emma

    this was everything my ace heart wanted it to be and I swear I’m actually gonna write a review sometime soon


    I woke up this morning to an email approving me for this ARC and I had to blink at least ten times before I realized I wasn’t dreaming


    so ready for Felicity to fuck shit up and become a doctor and be the historical aroace icon we deserve!!!!!

  • Emily May

    I must confess that I wasn't looking forw

    I must confess that I wasn't looking forward to this book as much as

    for the simple reason that a historical romantic comedy with boys getting drunk and falling for each other seems a hard premise to top. But this hilarious feminist book about the power of friendship may actually have done just that.

    Felicity Montague wants to be allowed to study medicine and become a physician, but this seems an impossible feat for an 18th-century woman. A unique opportunity arises in the form of Dr Alexander Platt, a pioneer of preventative medicine. She goes to Stuttgart where Platt is all set to marry Johanna-- an old childhood friend of Felicity's before their relationship turned sour.

    What happens next is unexpected. Felicity finds herself on a journey - not with the esteemed doctor - but with Johanna and Sim, who is Algerian, Muslim, and quite possibly a swashbuckling pirate.

    Lee explores important themes like racism, internalized misogyny, and colonization, but she wraps it all up in a delightful historical comedy. Felicity is somewhere between a smart badass and a socially awkward klutz, which makes her an ideal heroine to root for and relate to. Along with the two other women, she refuses to play by the rules of the man's world she lives in.

    Arguably the most interesting part of the novel, which constantly lurks behind all the fun and frivolity, is the challenge to the idea of there being a "right" way to be a woman. Of course, Felicity overtly challenges this by wanting to be a doctor, but Felicity's own prejudice against "feminine" women who like dresses and make-up is also challenged. A woman can be a doctor, a woman can be a wife, a woman can like dresses, a woman can be straight, queer or asexual (as it seems Felicity is) and a woman can be a pirate... and all those are valid expressions of womanhood.

    There are many

    , usually at the expense of old white stuffy men. And there are also many heartwarming "hell yeah" moments between Felicity, Johanna and Sim-- moments that emphasize the power of women who stick together. It's easy to spend so much time laughing and enjoying the story that you don't immediately notice they've been brutally smashing the patriarchy along the way.

    More, please.





  • ✨    jamieson   ✨




  • destini mia

    me: this is going to be the best book of 2018

    a party pooper: how do you know it's not even out

    me, feeling so attacked right now:

  • Mackenzi

    Release date is officially October 2, 2018!

  •  ✨ Dianna ✨ (mylifeasannaidreading)


    *you're doing amazing, sweetie*

  • Sabrina The Trash Queen


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