Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
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.
Through my reading group over at Caravan, we dove headfirst into The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy after we finished The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, and I had even more fun with the sequel, to be honest.
Between Monty and Felicity, I enjoyed reading about Felicity a lot more. Where Monty wished to drink, smoke, and fornicate, Felicity has goals she’s working hard to achieve. I felt as if the plot in The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy was driven towards something specific, so it was fun to tag along on Felicity’s journey. I wanted her to succeed!
Felicity must navigate through a time where the world was dominated by men, and where women had no voice. She tries to carve her own path, and she truly fights for what she wants to get herself heard. I think Mackenzi tackled this issue spectacularly, although Felicity’s thoughts on the matter became quite redundant after a while.
Character development-wise, I must say there’s a lot more of it in this book. At the end of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, I felt as if there lacked development for the characters. We were told Monty had changed, but we didn’t get to see it before the ending.
Upon Felicity’s meeting with Monty in The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, we do get to see how much Monty has changed. It came as a pleasant surprise, even though he was not the main character.
Felicity also shows a lot of development throughout the story. When confronted about her attitude toward women who don’t have the same view as her, she realizes she’s part of the problem as well. It’s not just men against women, but women can be against women too. Upon learning this, her attitude and thought process change for the better, and she learn to see how women can be strong in different manners.
Quite a few new characters were introduced, and it was fun to explore how Felicity’s friendship with Johanna and Sim developed through the story. I’m also fairly certain Felicity is asexual, and that was such a nice touch regarding her interactions with some of the characters. Her sexuality has never been in the center of attention, and I think it was woven in quite well.
I wish we had seen more of Sim, though, she was interesting from the very beginning, but she didn’t take up as much page time as Johanna.
The dialogue is as witty and fun as always! The interactions between the characters made me laugh out loud quite a few times, and even do that laugh where you snort out of your nose. Ah, fun times.
All in all, I must say I think The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy was a better story than The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. I am giving it the same number of stars, though. While I enjoy Mackenzie’s writing, I find it lacking without being able to put my finger on it. It doesn’t go that extra mile that makes me want to rate it five stars.
Have you read this series yet? What’s your thoughts and opinions of it?