"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

06 August 2018

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

"It is not a failure to readjust my sails to fit the waters I find myself in."

Lee, Mackenzi. The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy. Katherine Tegen Books, 2018.

Felicity Montague wants to become a doctor. Unfortunately, no one will take her seriously because she's a woman. When she discovers a childhood friend is marrying her idol, she travels to the wedding so she can beg to become a student of the famous doctor. But all is not as it seems, and soon Felicity is traveling across the continent and into Africa in pursuit of a mysterious curative substance. But will the pirates keep their word, or will pirates be pirates?

Wow, there's so much in this book that I liked; I barely know where to start. Felicity is a serious-minded girl who enjoys science and medicine and studying. She doesn't have the best social skills, despises frilly things, and isn't really interested in marrying anyone. She turns down a proposal from a man and mostly turns down another one from a woman. From the discussion in the book, I would tag Felicity as either ace or graysexual. Felicity's brother is married (of a sort, of course that wasn't legal then) to his boyfriend from the previous book in this series. So, lots of exciting queer rep.

There's also a great discussion about Felicity's childhood friend, who adores frilly dresses and is the life of the party, but who also enjoys science and spends lots of time in the company of her pet dog. Felicity scoffs at her friend's enjoyment of pink and frills, but her friend insists that it's okay to like both, and indeed it is. There's a minor discussion of religious and cultural differences as Felicity finds herself, for the first time in her life, to be the minority both in gender and in ethnicity.

All in all, this is a fantastic adventure tale featuring strong female characters (not all of them cishet white women, either), and there's plenty to be enjoyed by any reader who likes adventure stories, pirates, or dragons. Highly recommended.

Recommended for: teens
Red Flags: Some discussion of addiction to an illicit substance; mild piratical violence; character uses "zounds" as a cuss word, so no real offensive language
Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

Read-Alikes: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, Etiquette & Espionage

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Edelweiss for the purpose of review.

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