The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee was the first book I reviewed on Books and Waffles. While I enjoyed that story, all I cared about was Felicity. So I’ve been eagerly awaiting her story, The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, and it did not disappoint.
All of Felicity’s attempts to enroll in medical school have failed due to one fact: she is a woman. She soon learns her former best friend is marrying a doctor that she idolizes, who may just have a position open. Filled with the daydreaming prospect of learning from the best doctor ever, Felicity enlists help from a mysterious woman who agrees to pay their way to Germany. Despite her suspicions, Felicity agrees and thus begins her whirlwind journey across the continent toward something bigger than Felicity ever could imagine.
Where do I being? The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy is basically the feminist book I’ve been waiting for. Not only does it discuss how women don’t have to fit into one single mold, but it encourages women to be who they want to be. If that means being a kickass pirate who is grubby all the time and wears tattoos like they are jewelry: do it. If that means being a social butterfly that likes to wear pretty dresses and eat cake: do it. If that means being a doctor, no matter what all the hospitals and institutes and old white men say: do it. I liked that even Felicity learns during the book that her way of life is not necessarily every woman’s path. It was refreshing to see that perspective in a story.
But beyond that, The Lady’s Guide is another fun, historical romp across Europe as Felicity encounters pirates, rude white men who run hospitals, a gigantic slobbering dog, sea dragons (yes, that’s right—I said, sea dragons!), and more. Seriously, this book is so fun. There’s tons of piracy and thievery, there are medical descriptions that left me squeamish, and there is a lot of kick-butt female characters that literally steal the story right out from Monty and Percy’s spotlight. Did I mention that Felicity’s perspective is not only hilarious but totally relatable on so many levels? Like I can’t even. She’s way more fun that Monty. (Sorry, bub.)
In addition, the historical details are phenomenal. I love how Mackenzi Lee shaped the story not only to focus on the lesser known people groups of history but gave it this mythological tone that totally worked despite being a historical novel. The whole sea dragons thing did not feel out of place.
Also, 10/10 would agree that sacrificing your entire life and future in exchange for your dog’s life is a definite must. So relatable.
I could go on for ages about every little thing I loved about this story, but I think I’ve rambled enough. Basically, stop what you are doing and go read this book. I don’t think I’ve had so much fun reading a book in a long, long time.