After adoring The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, I was highly anticipating the release of The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy. Thankfully, my library was anticipating my need to read this book, and I got my name on the wait list for when it was finally published. I was lucky number nice on the wait, so I got the book in a hurry, and even though it took me a week to read it, I devoured it in hungry chunks when I got free time to read.
In the novel, Felicity, Monty’s fiercely independent and scholarly sister, is determined to achieve her dream of becoming a doctor despite her gender. After being proposed to, she knew that being a wife and raising children wouldn’t fulfill her the way studying human anatomy and learning about the latest in preventative care did, so she decides to follow her dream and demand her place in the doctorate field. After unsuccessfully (but hilariously) attempting to gain an apprenticeship at a hospital, she is lead on a journey to the great Dr. Alexander Platt’s home, hoping he will take her under his wing. Felicity’s only concern is the Dr. Platt’s fiance, Joanna, will not welcome her- they used to be childhood friends, but they parted ways after a large public confrontation.
Leaving England (and Monty and Percy) behind, a mysterious woman named Sim volunteers to escort Felicity on the trip to Dr. Platt’s. Cautious, Felicity strikes a deal with her- she can come, but she cannot steal from or harm anyone in the household once they’ve arrived. All seems well when they arrive, and Joanna accepts Felicity’s (sort of fake) apology, only to yet again feel betrayed when the plot thickens!
“…Women don’t have to be men’s equals to be considered contenders; they have to be better…That’s the lie of it all. You have to be better to prove yourself worthy of being equal.”
As with the first novel I read by Lee, The Lady’s Guide was just as entertaining, hilarious, and enjoyable. Felicity is feisty, strong, and an excellent role model for her fellow ladies. Lee writes with such brilliance that these characters are immediately multidimensional and realistic, highly relatable to the readers. I love her pacing, her well timed humor, and the way she can set up a scene quick and clean, immediately transporting the reader into the room with the character. This also bodes really well for all the action scenes! I hate to say that I though it packed many wonderful feminist punches, I still think it felt short of the charisma that The Gentleman’s Guide possessed. However, I still whole-hardheartedly recommend this read, and know that readers will enjoy being able to hear what becomes of Felicity and her band of tough ladies.
“Everyone has heard stories of women like us, and now we will make more of them.”