The boys are back at the start of Felicity’s story and are as lovable as ever. Clearly, it’s still the 1700’s and part of what makes these I completely adored The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and was over the moon excited for this sequel. This review is nearly all me fangirling and a half reviewing.
Felicity is smart, sarcastic (a winning combo for me) and driven to become a medical doctor when that was just crazy talk. She doesn’t want to be a midwife or herbalist as is suggested to her, and she definitely doesn’t want to marry the baker who asked her. Felicity is asexual in the most normal outspoken way.
“And you don’t want anyone with you?” Sim asks, raising her head. “No family?” “I want friends. Good friends, that make up a different kind of family.” “That sounds lonely.” “It wouldn’t be lonely,” I say. “I’d like to be on my own, but not alone.” “That’s not the sort of lonely I meant.” “Oh.” I’m not sure why I’m blushing, but I feel it swell in my cheeks. “Well, that sort of aloneness doesn’t feel lonely to me.”
But, what is it about you may be asking?
The story is of an active, diverse, scientific girl gang on a Pirate Ship!
So there is all that, plus at its heart, this is a “quest.” The girls head off from Germany to the depths of the Atlantic chasing a secret that has been guarded for generations.
Her dark eyes meet mine, and I look between her and Johanna. In the company of women like this—sharp-edged as raw diamonds but with soft hands and hearts, not strong in spite of anything but powerful because of everything—I feel invincible. Every chink and rut and battering wind has made us tough and brave and impossible to strike down. We are made of mountains—or perhaps temples, with foundations that could outlast time itself.
If you aren’t sold based on that passage, I’m not sure how else to convince you. If you have a teenager in your life, who enjoys historical fiction they need this book. Possibly you as the adult do too!
The message of being your own self, unapologetically, shines throughout the plot. It's okay to love wearing makeup and pretty dresses. It's also okay to not like those things. It's okay if you like girls, boys or nobody at all. Our diversity is what makes as strong and I really loved that message.
The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee
October 2, 2018