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A Tyranny of Petticoats

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From an impressive sisterhood of YA writers comes an edge-of-your-seat anthology of historical fiction and fantasy featuring a diverse array of daring heroines.

Criss-cross America — on dogsleds and ships, stagecoaches and trains — from pirate ships off the coast of the Carolinas to the peace, love, and protests of 1960s Chicago. Join fifteen of today’s most talented writers of young adult literature on a thrill ride through history with American girls charting their own course. They are monsters and mediums, bodyguards and barkeeps, screenwriters and schoolteachers, heiresses and hobos. They're making their own way in often-hostile lands, using every weapon in their arsenals, facing down murderers and marriage proposals. And they all have a story to tell.

With stories by:
J. Anderson Coats
Andrea Cremer
Y. S. Lee
Katherine Longshore
Marie Lu
Kekla Magoon
Marissa Meyer
Saundra Mitchell
Beth Revis
Caroline Tung Richmond
Lindsay Smith
Jessica Spotswood
Robin Talley
Leslye Walton
Elizabeth Wein

354 pages, Hardcover

First published March 8, 2016

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About the author

Jessica Spotswood

13 books1,656 followers
Jess is the author of the historical fantasy trilogy The Cahill Witch Chronicles and the contemporary novels Wild Swans and The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls. She is the editor of the anthologies A Tyranny of Petticoats and The Radical Element, and co-editor (with Tess Sharpe) of Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft. Jess lives in Washington, DC, where she works for the DC Public Library as a children’s library associate. Her newest book is Great or Nothing, a World War II-era retelling of Little Women in which each March sister is written by a different author.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 924 reviews
Profile Image for Nat.
553 reviews3,176 followers
June 5, 2020

I was so excited when I found about this anthology because some of my all-time favorite authors were included and I got to visit Leslye Walton’s beautiful writing again (I really really really love The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender).
As a result, I’ve been hyping this book up in my head for months, which usually spells disaster, but this did not disappoint.

I personally really enjoy reading anthologies.
I read My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories earlier this year and came realize that short stories are one of my favorite types of storytelling. They stay with me for a long time because of their ability to pack a short, emotional punch that leaves me thinking about it for a long time to come.

In this particular anthology there were some incredibly beautiful stories.
It includes 15 original short stories, written by a mix of authors both well-known and relatively new, places young women of racially diverse backgrounds at the centers of fictional narratives throughout American history.
Including heroines that are monsters and pirates and screenwriters and schoolteachers. They are brave and scared, uncertain and sure. But they carry on through their hardships because there is a spark inside them that refuses to be extinguished.
I really enjoyed this book, it opened my eyes to a new side of history.
It was creative, engrossing, and well-crafted.

Rating for each of the stories:
(From here on this review will contain spoilers.)

“Mother’s Carey’s Table” J. Anderson Coats (1710: British North America)-3/5 stars

This tells the story of a runaway slave girl posing as Joe, a sailor boy – but the truth is exposed, with devastating consequences, when she tries to sink the Spanish warship threatening her crew.
A strong opening to the anthology with interesting writing, but I felt no real connection to the main character.
I did, however, enjoy the aspect of magical realism in this story, it intrigues me to no end.

“I learned to stop asking about Mama. Pop said it was easier that way. That we love people when they’re here, but when they go, they’re gone.”

“The Journey” Marie Lu (1723: The Great Land)-4/5 stars

This follows the journey of Yakone, a young Inuit girl, that flees across the frozen tundra after white traders destroy her family’s village and murder the innocent people within, her parents included, in cold blood.
I had no idea about the history surrounding Inuit folklore, so this storyline definitely intrigued me.
I’ve read and enjoyed several of Marie Lu’s books, but I must say that this short story was definitely my favorite piece of writing of hers.

“The spirits will guide you,” he said, “if you take only what you need and respect them in their domain. Even in the darkest night. Remember that, Yakone, and you will never be lost.”
“I’ll remember,” I replied.”

“Madeleine’s Choice” Jessica Spotswood (1826: New Orleans)- 3/5 stars

In Jessica Spotswood’s story the main focus is on the romance and the choice a free girl of color has to make between the longtime family friend that’s a respectable middle class man of color, who has offered her marriage — or the romantic, wealthy white planter who cannot and whom the mother does not approve of.
The narrative’s voice in this story didn’t really draw me in and her friendship with Eugenie rubbed me the wrong way. It felt like an unhealthy friendship that made me feel really sad for the main character, Maddie:

“You expect a man like that to wait for you?” Eugenie shakes her head. By this time we’re sitting together on the cream-colored silk settee in the parlor. “I thought you had more sense than that, Maddie, I really did.”
“She’s my mother,” I protest. “Even if I don’t agree with her, I have to respect —”
“Do you? I thought you were in love — like something out of one of your novels, you said!” Eugenie’s voice is laced with lemons. “And now you’re willing to give him up to please your mother? I thought you had more spine than that too.”

But in order to decide which man she wants in her future, she seeks advice from voodoo queen, Marie Laveau.
I personally found this to be the highlight of the storyline because.

“El Destinos” Leslye Walton (1848: Southwest Texas)-5/5 stars

Leslye Walton’s story was one of my most anticipated stories in this anthology and it was, simply put, beautiful and heart-wrenching.
I read her debut novel, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, a few months back and I have not stopped raving about it.
So when I found out that she was featured in this anthology, I started counting down the days to when I could finally read more of her writing.

“El Destinos” follows three sisters that are based on The Three Fates — immortal goddesses that appear in Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology — who were once believed to control the destiny of each mortal from birth to death.

Valeria, Rosa, and Maria Elena, the three immortals are sent down to live as Mexican American sisters during the years after the Texas annexation. And their responsibility is to control the threads of life and death.
As always, Leslye Walton did not disappoint when it came to family relationships. I simply cannot put into well enough deserving words how well-written and developed her characters are, especially considering the length of this story.
I’m so glad that Leslye was featured in this book.

“Folks around here call us el destinos. They like to say we came from the stars. And when I stare up at the infinite heavens stretched out above us like a shroud, it’s hard to imagine we came from anywhere else.”


“High Stakes” Andrea Cremer (1861: Boston, Massachusetts, and Natchez, Mississippi)-3/5 stars

“High Stakes” is a short historical fantasy story that had me confused a lot of the times, but I am glad that I took the time to read it.
This follows Klio, a supernatural assassin hired to protect the powerful player, Hamilton Stuart, in the poker game that will determine which faction the supernatural world will take in the Civil War.

“The Red Raven Ball” Caroline Tung Richmond (1862: Washington, DC)-3.5/5 stars

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Van Persie is tasked with finding the Confederate spy at her formidable grandmama’s annual ball – with surprising results.
There were parts that I enjoyed, especially the ballroom scenes— it had a very Downton Abbey feel to it that I liked.
Yet the whole revelations felt a bit dramatic, which I can enjoy on Downton Abbey, but in this story I felt no real emotions during those sections.

“Pearls” Beth Revis (1876: Chicago, Illinois, and Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory)-5/5 stars

“I never knew how easy it is to escape if you don’t mind leaving nearly everything behind.”

This story truly surprised me with how much I liked the main character, Helen. She is a well-rounded and developed character, I really enjoyed reading about her.

Helen's a young woman forced into marriage with a cruel man, but bravely decides to flee in order to become a schoolteacher in the rough Wyoming Territory.
The group of students she taught were both heartbreaking and heartwarming to read about and even more so towards the end.
I was really invested in this story and in the short time it took me to finish it, I’d grown really attached to Helen and all the students.
Also, the story about ‘the snake asks the possum’ that Annie told the class is still on my mind. So good.

“Gold in the Roots of the Grass” Marissa Meyer (1877: Deadwood, Dakota Territory)- 5/5 stars

Visiting Marissa Meyer’s writing is such a comforting thing because I know it will always keep me engrossed, flipping the pages, and engaged. And I’m glad this story holds no exception to that rule.

“Gold in the Roots of the Grass” follows Fei-Yen, a Chinese American spirit medium, helping a young prospector’s spirit find justice for his murder.
Marissa Meyer’s writing combined with one my favorite things in books (mediums) was going to be an all time favorite story of mine right from page 1. The whole prospect of spirits and ghosts intrigues and scares me to no end.
And Marissa did an exceptional job with capturing both feelings in this story.

“It was amazing to me how easily their suspicions came and went. How strongly they wished to believe, despite how they scoffed at our ways and traditions.”

“The Legendary Garrett Girls” Y.S. Lee (1898: Skaguay, Alaska)-3/5 stars

This story involves the Garrett sisters, Clara and Lily, who have a prosperous frontier saloon that Soapy Smith, a corrupt con man, is interested in overtaking. They have to cleverly fight back against him and his henchman, so that they can get safely out of town.
I enjoyed reading about the friendship between the sisters and how they had each other’s backs, but the rest of the storyline didn’t really hold my interest.

“The Color of the Sky” Elizabeth Wein (1926: Jacksonville, FL & Dallas, TX)-4.5/5 stars

This story is based on the true events surrounding the death of the pilot Bessie Coleman, the first black woman to gain a pilot’s license and the first American, black or white, male or female, to earn an international pilot’s license.

“The Color of the Sky” opened up my eyes and heart with its incredibly written storyline.
Antonia “Tony” meets her hero, aviatrix Bessie Coleman and bears witness to the tragic events that led to Bessie’s death in a flying accident.

I’m glad Tony got to meet and talk to Bessie Coleman in person, their exchange made me smile and even tear up when I thought about it afterwards.

‘To My Dear Admirer Antonia. Only you can make your dreams come true. Always reach for the sky and soon it’ll be time for you to take flight. Your friend, Bessie Coleman.’

“Bonnie and Clyde” Saundra Mitchell (1934: Indiana)-3/5 stars

“Here’s the thing: I didn’t want to be famous. I just wanted to take care of my folks.”

Marjorie May Johnson a cross-dressing, bank-robbing teen bandit, more commonly known as ‘Baby Boy Wabash’, is continuously on the run from lawmen, one specifically being her beau.

It was a quick and interesting read with a compelling narrative, but because of the short length not much happened that had me on the edge of my seat.

“Hard Times” Katherine Longshore (1934: Washington State)-3.5/5 stars

Rosie “Curls” Marie Weaver is a girl from Nebraska that’s been living on the rails for 8 weeks and been accompanied by 12-year-old Billy for 7 of them.
On their way to hop a train towards the coast in search of a better opportunity they meet Lloyd, who may just help them with their luck.

I definitely enjoyed reading about Billy and Rosie together, he even made me tear up at one point. But Lloyd’s character I could have done without.

“City of Angels” Lindsay Smith (1945: Los Angeles, CA)- 3.5/5 stars

This follows two factory workers, Evie and Frankie, both aspiring to be in the movie industry. The former to be a screenwriter and the latter an aspiring actress.
They begin to fall for one another— but soon things begin to change when the men return from war.

“Pulse of the Panthers” Kekla Magoon (1967: California)-4/5 stars

“It’s been a good life. Quiet. So quiet.”
“Not so quiet now,” I said. “But it’s only one more day.”
“And the day after that, and the day after that,” Granny said. “The tomorrows keep on coming.”

This follows Sandy and her journey towards unraveling her own family’s history when the Black Panthers hold a meeting on their farm.

Along the way she meets Bobby, a member of the Black Panthers, that opens up her eyes by openly talking about his worldview.
I really really loved reading the interactions between Sandy and Bobby.

“He peered into my bowl and frowned. The batter looked, at the moment, like a lumpy white soup. “That’s gonna be a thing?” he asked.
I gave him the look he deserved for that comment. “Haven’t you ever been in a kitchen before?”
He scratched his head. “I brung in some groceries for a girl one time.”
I couldn’t help but smile at that one.”

Me too.

“The Whole World Is Watching” Robin Talley (1968: Chicago, IL)-3.5/5 stars

“PEACE NOW!” The shouting from the crowd has changed back. “PEACE NOW! PEACE NOW!”
I nod along with them. There’s something hypnotic about a good protest. Standing with dozens or hundreds or thousands of people who all want the same thing you do. Calling out for it together from the depths of your soul.”

This follows Jill’s journey with her girlfriend and friends caught up in the riots and police brutality of the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
The horrors that happened during it were extremely hard to read about. But definitely a strong end to the anthology.
All in all, I’m really glad I picked this one up because the women featured in this anthology are incredible storytellers and exceptional writers.

*Note: I'm an Amazon Affiliate. If you're interested in buying A Tyranny of Petticoats, just click on the image below to go through my link. I'll make a small commission!*

This review and more can be found on my blog.
Profile Image for Shannon A.
674 reviews530 followers
March 21, 2016
The idea of the book is awesome and kick butt. The writing is strong throughout and the MCs we meet are incredible. BUT. This felt like a chapter sampler for 15 awesome books that are never going to be finished. Some were more effective than others but many felt rushed and incomplete. I would have preferred a few less stories and have had them a bit more flushed out. But overall, it was a compelling read and I recommend!

Detailed Ratings:

Mother Carey's Table by J. Anderson Coats - 3 stars
The Journey by Marie Lu - 3.5 stars
Madeleine's Choice by Jessica Spotswood - 4.5 stars
El Destinos by Leslye Walton - 4.5 stars
High Stakes by Andrea Cremer - 4 stars
The Red Raven Ball by Caroline Tung Richmond - 5 stars
Pearls by Beth Revis - 4.5 stars
Gold in the Roots of the Grass by Marissa Meyer - 4 stars
The Legendary Garrett Girls by Y. S. Lee - 3.5 stars
The Color of the Sky by Elizabeth Wein - 4.5 stars
Bonnie and Clyde by Saundra Mitchell - 3.5 stars
Hard Times by Katherine Longshore - 3 stars
City of Angels by Lindsay Smith - 4 stars
Pulse of Panthers by Kekla Magoon - 3 stars
The Whole World is Watching by Robin Talley - 4 stars

*PS - I really enjoyed the authors notes at the end of each short story! It really added a lot of background and depth to the stories!
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,084 reviews17.5k followers
December 14, 2017
Average Rating: 3.43 Stars.
Historical fiction feminist anthology sounds amazing, and it's certainly not bad, but as a whole this was sort of disappointing. Funny story: my cousin owned a copy of this ages ago and at the time I was desperate to know all the dates, which I'm still desperate to do. I think we had some kind of Google doc? Don't ask me why that happened. Anyway, this story collection was pretty awesome.

Mother Carey's Journey by J. Anderson - ★★☆☆☆ ←
In the 1710 Caribbean, during the golden age of pirating, Joe disguises herself as a boy to keep her and her father safe. This story took a weird turn around halfway through, which I'd normally love, but it somehow didn't work here. It would've been better if Anderson had built up more suspense previous to the twist, and if the story had been far, far longer. The twist just seems weird, not interesting, in this short a story.

The Journey by Marie Lu - ★★★★☆ ←
In 1723 Alaska, Yakone flees her village after it is attacked. Marie Lu's writing style shines here, and her heroine is strong and likable. The Alaskan wilderness almost could've been described more; that being said, I had a perfect mental picture of everything in my head. Anyone who loves dogsledding and survival stories will enjoy this.

Madeline's Choice by Jessica Spotswood - ★★☆☆☆ ←
A girl in 1826 New Orleans is caught between two boys. I liked the culture of New Orleans incorporated, but that was about it. It's not bad, just not great.

Los Destinos by Leslye Walton - ★★★☆☆ ←
In 1848 Southwest Texas, the three fates live out one incarnation. I liked the concept and writing of this, but it's overly romantic and far too short.

High Stakes by Andrea Cremer - ★★★★☆ ←
A murderess in 1861 Boston. This one is more fantasy than historical fiction, but man, is it fun. It's so well-plotted and the heroine, Klio, is cool. There's a death in here which seemed to me like burying a character for the sake of plot, which I didn't love? But everything else was perfect.

The Red Raven Ball by Caroline Tung Richmond - ★★★★☆ ←
In 1862 D.C., Lizzie attempts to catch a confederate spy. This story has an enticing plot, it's true, but mostly I just loved Lizzie's character. She's strong with good conflict. This story is paced perfectly and incorporates great historical context; I had a great picture in my head.

Pearls by Beth Revis - ★★★★★ ←
Helen Davies flees her rapist fiancé in 1876 Chicago for a small schoolhouse near Cheyenne. This story is BADASS and the heroine is awesome. The ending was just flat-out perfect.

Gold in the Roots of the Grass by Marissa Meyer - ★★★★★ ←
In the Dakota Territory of 1877, Sun Fei-Yen helps out a boy named James. It's one of the cutest, best things I've ever read. That ending was so great!! I love happy takes on depressing plotlines.

The Legendary Garrett Girls by Y.S. Lee - ★★★★☆ ←
In 1898 Skagway, Alaska, Lily and Clara Garrett run their mother's bar– until they're confronted by legendary bandit Soapy Smith. This story is badass as hell and I liked that. I just felt the ending was a bit confusing - what does that even mean.

The Color of the Sky by Elizabeth Wein - ★★☆☆☆ ←
Tony, a young black girl, sees Bessie Coleman's death in 1926 Jackson, Florida. And it's honestly completely boring. I just didn't connect with anything here, and I get the feeling the author didn't either.

Bonnie and Clyde by Saundra Mitchell - ★★★☆☆ ←
In 1934 Indiana, a girl dresses as a boy to rob banks undercover. This one is a fun ride, but nothing all that special.

Hard Times by Katherine Longshore - ★★★☆☆ ←
Rosie rides the rails from a 1934 hobo jungle to Washington State. This was sweet and I liked the characters and story arc, but it was far too rushed.

City of Angels by Lindsay Smith - ★★★☆☆ ←
While working at a factory in 1945, a riveter discovers her sexuality. This was sweet at parts, but it's mostly a love story, and the love story ends unhappily as usual. I would've loved to see a happier ending for Frankie and Evie.

Pulse of the Panthers by Kekla Magoon - ★★☆☆☆ ←
In 1967 California, a girl meets members of the black panther party. And that's essentially all that happened, which was incredibly disappointing. I liked the multifaceted portrayal of the Panthers, but there's just nothing else of note here.

The Whole World Is Watching by Robin Talley - ★★★★☆ ←
At the Michigan Avenue protests in 1968 Chicago, a girl decides whether or not to come out with her sexuality. This one is both sweet and powerful.


VERDICT: In general, this is a pretty good story collection; I just didn't feel it went quite far enough.

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Profile Image for Lotte.
546 reviews1,105 followers
February 7, 2017
3.75/5. I absolutely love the overarching theme of this anthology! All of these stories are about girls throughout American history taking their fate into their own hands and being unapologetically themselves. It also gets lots of points for diversity (there's Chinese-American rep, African-American rep, lesbian rep, and more!) and I loved that I learned so much about US history in such a fun way. Some stories fell kind of flat for me however, they often felt too rushed and I didn't really feel invested in the story until it was almost over.
There were quite a couple of gems in this collection though: 'El Destinos' by Leslye Walton (who just needs to write another book already!), 'Gold in the Roots of the Grass' by Marissa Meyer, 'The Color of the Sky' by Elizabeth Wein (possibly my favourite out of them all!) and 'Bonnie and Clyde' by Saundra Mitchell.


Profile Image for Erin.
2,953 reviews485 followers
July 14, 2019
When I asked them to come up with premises, I suggested that we think diversely in terms of geography, historical eras, and our heroine's races, sexualities, religions, and opinions on all manner of things. America is a melting pot.- Introduction by Jessica Spotswood

In this short story collection of 15 tales, a number of YA authors take a spin at telling American history from its early colonial days in the 1700'S and progressing right up into the 1960's. As has long been my habit, I will review each of these short stories on their own. Many of these authors were freshly introduced to me and some made me want to read more.

1710 British North America " Mother Carey's Table- J. Anderson Coats

2.5 stars

My father says he's saved my life nine times.

An adventure tale on the high seas during the Golden Age of Piracy. It was okay, but the story never really grabbed me.

1723 The Great Land " The Journey"- Marie Lu

3 stars

The world grows smaller. And small worlds cultivate greed. It is a grievous sin.

A blend of history and Inuit folklore.

1826: New Orleans, Louisiana "Madeline's Choice"- Jessica Spotswood

2 stars

I have a secret. It tastes like the sweet lemonade they served at last night's ball and smells of pipe tobacco. It sounds like the waltz we danced to and feels like the press of his hand against mine through my white satin glove.

A romantic attachment forms but the young lovers face class and racial differences. Not too much that was surprising in this detail, but drawing readers attention to constraints placed on people in this time period was interesting.

1848 Southwest Texas "El Destinos" - Leslye Walton

But that's the thing about monsters; we're often in places you don't expect. Or expect.

2.5 stars
A take on the Three Fates. Another one that didn't grab me

1861: Boston Massachusetts and Natchez Mississippi "High Stakes"- Andrea Cremer
But those who've had the privilege to see- Do they find your secret to be marvelous?
I don't know,Hamilton. They're all dead.

2 stars
A mixture of history and fantasy that just didn't work for me.

1862: Washington D.C. " The Red Raven Ball"- Caroline Tung Richmond
For over a year, our nation has been torn asunder between North and South, but will a war stop Grandmama from hosting her favorite fete?

3.5 stars
On the other hand, I enjoyed how fantasy and Civil War history weaved together to make an intriguing storyline in this short story.

1876 Chicago Illinois and Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory " Pearls"- Beth Revis
5 stars
 You were seen with that man. Everyone knows you let him have you.
In my opinion, the first REAL GEM of this collection. The protagonist may be the talk of the town, but she's not going to allow a man to destroy her future.

1877: Deadwood, Dakota Territory " Gold in the Roots of the Grass' - Marissa Meyer

Prospectors get a little more than they bargained for when they don't listen to a Chinese woman who walks in the land of the spirits.

1898: Skaguay, Alaska " The Legendary Garrett Girls"- Y.S. Lee

5 stars

I am a huge fan of Ottawa's Y.S Lee and this short story about two sisters who refuse to let the new rich guy in town fool them was fantastic!

1926: Jacksonville Florida and Dallas Texas " The Color of the Sky" - Elizabeth Wein
3.5 stars
 One of America's great hereoes was tragically dead, and wasn't that more important than tracking down an anonymous schoolgirl?

Once again, Elizabeth Wein takes to the skies and has her protagonist follow the tale of Bessie Coleman, the first black woman to get a pilot's license.

1934: Indiana " Bonnie and Clyde"- Saundra Mitchell
5 stars
 I know I'm supposed to be a girl. I know I'm supposed to be happy doing needlework samplers and baking potatoes in coals and whatnot. But Lord, I love running from the law.

My favorite protagonist was in this story. Just a straight up fun tale!

1934: Washington State " Hard Times" Katherine Longshore
3 stars
This tale reminded me of one of my favorite depression era movies " The Journey of Natty Gan" because of its look at riding the rails.

1945: Los Angeles, California " City of Angels"- Lindsay Smith
4 stars
Two women working in a munitions factory begin a relationship that changes both their lives during wartime.

1967: California " Pulse of the Panthers"- Kekla Magoon

4 stars

I have never read anything about the Black Panthers, but this was a good introduction to their part of American history.

1968: Grant Park, Chicago Illinois " The Whole World is Watching"- Robin Talley
3 stars

My friends and I drive in from New York City on Friday, and ever since we've been running.

Robin Talley takes readers into the midst of a peace rally as her protagonist navigates protests against American involvement in Vietnam, racial tensions and her sexuality.
Profile Image for April (Aprilius Maximus).
1,092 reviews6,579 followers
July 3, 2019
1.) A Tyranny of Petticoats ★★★.5
2.) The Radical Element ★★★.5


Mother Carey's Tale by J. Anderson Coats - 3/5 stars
At first I was super indifferent about this story, but the ending was so beautiful and sad!

The Journey by Marie Lu - 4/5 stars
So heartbreaking and so gorgeous. Marie Lu definitely surprised me with this one!

Madeleine's Choice by Jessica Spotswood - 2/5 stars
Yikes. This one did not sit well with me at all. The main character was insufferable and I just hated her reasons for doing what she did at the end. I don't know, I just really didn't like this one!

El Destinos by Leslye Walton - 4/5 stars
At first I was really confused and couldn't figure out what I was reading, but then it all clicked into place and it was really quite beautiful.

High Stakes by Andrea Cremer - 2/5
This story had a lot of potential, but in the end, there wasn't enough world building around the concept of 'The Game', and I didn't like the way the only person of colour in the story was treated.

The Red Raven Ball by Caroline Tung Richmond - 3.5/5 stars
A great story set during the civil war involving a young girl who is attempting to catch a spy at her grandmother's annual ball. I expected something a little more out of this one, but it was still enjoyable!

Pearls by Beth Revis - 5/5 stars
As someone who is going to be a fully qualified teacher in less than a year, I LOVED this story so much! It follows a woman who runs away from home (and the creepy af guy she's supposed to marry) to become a schoolteacher. LOVE, LOVE, LOVED this one!

Gold In The Roots Of The Grass by Marissa Meyer - 4.5/5
I really loved this one. I could read a whole book about these characters, they felt so real and I loved them so much!

The Legendary Garrett Girls by Y.S. Lee - 4/5 stars
YES QUEENS!!!!! Love me some strong, young, business-owning women!

The Color of The Sky by Elizabeth Wein - 4/5 stars
I actually didn't remember the true story of Bessie, so reading this was like a punch in the gut :( So sad, but what an inspiring woman!

Bonnie and Clyde by Saundra Mitchell - 2.5/5 stars
Really would've liked to see this story taken a little bit further and have Caleb find out who the bank robber really is!!

Hard Times by Katherine Longshore - 4/5 stars
I keep learning new things about American history that I never knew before through reading these stories! I really loved the characters in this one. They were so genuine and sweet, especially little Billy!

City of Angels by Lindsay Smith - 4/5 stars
A lovely story of a girl coming into her own and discovering her sexuality during the second world war!

Pulse of the Panthers by Kekla Magoon - 4/5 stars
Loved this! It follows a girl as she learns about the Black Panthers when some of the activists come to stay on their farm. I kind of wanted a little bit more from her character, but nonetheless, this was a great story.

The Whole World is Watching by Robin Talley - 4.5/5 stars
Set during a massive protest, a young black woman comes to terms with her feelings for her best friend, while running to safety from tear gas and police officers. I really loved this one!

Overall Rating - 3.67 stars!
Profile Image for Taylor.
767 reviews420 followers
April 2, 2016
I loved A Tyranny of Petticoats! I really liked the diversity of the characters and I loved the writing styles of all the stories. I found all the stories to be compelling and interesting. I did think that pretty much all of the stories could have been full length novels and they would have been a bit better that way because a few of them were a little rushed and underdeveloped. But overall, I loved of the stories and I would definitely recommend.
Profile Image for Andreea Pop.
320 reviews2,133 followers
Want to read
August 17, 2014
Marie Lu?! Marissa Meyer?? Jessica Spotswood, Elizabeth Wein, Beth Revis and Robin LaFevers? And Andrea Cremer with Katherine Longshore?

Profile Image for Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd).
332 reviews7,309 followers
March 11, 2017
Average rating: 3.3
My final rating: 3

And, for a bit of detail, my ratings for each story (favorites marked with a *):
Mother Carey's Tale by J. Anderson Coats: 2.5/5
The Journey by Marie Lu: 3/5
Madeleine's Choice by Jessica Spotswood: 3/5
El Destinos by Leslye Walton: 4/5
High Stakes by Andrea Cremer: 3/5
The Red Raven Ball by Caroline Tung Richmond: 3/5
Pearls by Beth Revis: 4/5*
Gold in the Roots of the Grass by Marissa Meyer: 3.5/5
The Legendary Garrett Girls by Y.S. Lee: 4/5*
The Color of the Sky by Elizabeth Wein: 3.5/5
Bonnie and Clyde by Saundra Mitchell: 2/5
Hard Times by Katherine Longshore: 2/5
City of Angels by Lindsay Smith: 4.5/5
Pulse of the Panthers by Kekla Magoon: 4/5
The Whole World is Watching by Robin Talley: 3.5/5

For those curious, there are two queer stories in this collection (City of Angels and The Whole World is Watching). And beyond that, each of the stories does a very good job of representing a very wide collection of wonderfully diverse female characters, which was great to see.

Unfortunately, many of the individual stories felt like the authors were taking on more plot than they could really tell in 20 pages and this made many of the stories that had the pieces to be great fall flat. Two of my favorite stories, Pearls & The Legendary Garrett Girls, were both more wild west stories that I absolutely adored. Besides that, El Destinos & City of Angels were each magical in their setting and in their female characters. El Destinos in particular did an incredible jobbing of weaving a fantastical and complex story in a very limited period of time.

I wish that this collection overall could have been as strong as these four stories, but I think they sometimes took on too much. And also I think that the number of stories that also tried to tackle fantasy and magical realism, besides historical fiction, were taking on a lot in a very limited period of time and it often didn't work very well for me. I was frustrated by the fact that even though this was sold as a historical fiction collection, it was more often than not a historical fantasy collection. I think it could have been improved by just sticking strictly to historical fiction.

Great collection of diverse female characters, with some standout stories, but overall as a collection it didn't quite meet my expectations.
Profile Image for TL .
1,819 reviews35 followers
February 2, 2017
*check my status updates for the ratings I gave the stories*

Overall pretty good, some stories I loved/liked better than others but it kept my attention to the end :).

Some of the girls just crackled and left on the page (I wouldn't have minded seeing them in a full length book) while others lacked a 'spark' for me.

Not a fault of the writing really but just that they didn't click for me *shrugs*

Would recommend.
Profile Image for kate.
1,146 reviews924 followers
December 10, 2016

This was fantastic and without a doubt one of my favourite anthologies I have now read. I loved the diversity within it. There was not only a diverse collection of stories and settings but also races, cultures and sexualities, it was so refreshing to read! I enjoyed each and every story and the little pieces of insight into the characters and lives whose stories were told. I hadn't previously read anything from many of the authors included in this collection but after reading it, I am very excited to check out more of their work!

There wasn't really a single story I didn't enjoy but I think my top favourites were: 'Pearls' by Beth Revis, 'The Legendary Garrett Sisters' by Y.S. Lee, 'The Colour of the Sky' by Elizabeth Wein and 'Bonnie and Clyde' by Saundra Mitchell.

My only 'criticism' of this, which I honestly mean mostly as a compliment, is that a lot of these stories felt like tasters for a novel. I finished a large majority of them simply wanting more because they were fantastic, the characters were great and the stories captivated me. I would absolutely love to be able to see a lot of these stories made into full length novels, they were all so different from the books I've seen being released recently! If any of these stories ever did get made into novels, I have no doubt I would run to my nearest bookshop to buy it asap!!

Here are my mini reviews for each individual story...

3.5/5* - 'Mother Carey's Table' by J. Anderson Coats ~ A great start to the anthology. A story about a women of colour, pirates and magical realism elements, what more could you want?!
This was fast paced and interesting, although a little *too* short. I felt the ending was slightly rushed and confusing but other than that, this was a fun read and made me so excited to continue reading more of the stories in this anthology!

4/5* 'The Journey' by Marie Lu.
This was fantastic. I've not read anything featuring Inuit culture or folklore before and I now really want to find some. It was interesting, captivating, magical and intriguing all at the same time.
I loved the cold, icy Alaskan setting. It was painted beautifully and so clearly in such a short amount of time! I really enjoyed how different it was to the usual settings for books I've read! I would have loved this to have been a full length novel! This is the first I've read from Marie Lu but I'm now even more excited to read more from her, as I've wanted to for a long time!

3.75/5* 'Madeline's Choice' by Jessica Spotswood.
I really loved the setting and time period for this story and I learnt something as well which is always a wonderful bonus after reading! Although I liked the ending, it was a little rushed (although I've found that's often common in the short stories I've read!) I would have loved to have found out what happened before and after and delved deeper into the setting and story but overall this was definitely a really enjoyable read!

3.5/5* 'El Destinos' by Leslye Walton. A really interesting concept, with beautifully descriptive writing.

3/5* 'High Stakes' by Andrea Cremer ~ I feel as though there was possibly a little too much going on in this for such a short story as it was quite confusing at times but nonetheless a fun read! I think this could have been such an awesome full length novel, as I think I needed a little more explanation!

3.75/5* 'The Red Raven Ball' by Caroline Tung Richmond ~ I really enjoyed the setting of this, it definitely had a Downton Abby feel to it and I love anything to do with spies, so it's definitely made me realise I need to read more books featuring spies. :') The ending felt a little dramatic and rushed but it was definitely a fun read!

4.75/5* 'Pearls' by Beth Revis ~ I loved this so much. The pacing was brilliant, with a fully rounded story in such a short amount of time. I loved the plot and setting and the fact that it was largely inspired by Annie Oakley. Once again, I would love to have read this as a full length novel, it was fantastic. Definitely the kind of story I was hoping to read when I picked this anthology up.

4/5* 'Gold in the Roots of the Grass' by Marissa Meyer ~ I really enjoyed the 'Wild West' setting for this and the concept for the plot was so interesting. I've not read many books or stories featuring medium's, so this was very intriguing. Marissa Meyer creates fantastic characters and this was no exception to that. I just want to know what happens next. :')

4.75/5* 'The Legendary Garrett Sisters' by Y.S. Lee ~ I loved this a lot, it was so much fun! The story was perfectly paced and the ending wasn't rushed (which I've found quite common in short stories?) I found the setting really interesting and loved the characters. I'm definitely going to have to check out more of Y.S. Lee's writing! Once again, I'd love a full length novel of this!

5/5* 'The Colour of the Sky' by Elizabeth Wein ~ I absolutely adored this. The story was gorgeous, I warmed to the characters instantly and essentially loved everything about it. I want to know what happened next, what happens in Tony's future?! I loved that it was based on real people from history, and people I haven't heard of (but feel like I definitely should have?!) I've heard so many amazing things about Elizabeth Wein's books and have wanted to read them for so long and am now even more excited to do so. This was utterly fantastic.

4.5/5* 'Bonnie and Clyde' by Saundra Mitchell ~ This was SO much fun!! It had an awesome 'Mulan' mixed with 'Robin Hood' kind of vibe to it which I LOVED! It was fast paced with an awesome main character, I loved it! I'm struggling so much with these stories and simply wanting more from them, I'd LOVE a full length novel of this, it was brilliant!!

3.75/5* 'Hard Times' by Katherine Longshore ~ This was a quick, interesting read! I enjoyed the characters, Rosie and Billy slightly more so than Lloyd. I liked the plot, although the characters and storyline could have done with a little more depth as it felt a tad rushed but it's definitely made me want to learn more about the time period. I'm going to have to check out the movies and documentaries the author recommended!

3.5/5* 'City of Angels' by Lindsay Smith. ~ I love reading about Hollywood in historical settings, it fascinates me and this story was no exception! City of Angels was an interesting story exploring women's rights, sexuality and women's roles during WW2 in Hollywood!

3.75/5* 'Pulse of the Panthers' by Kekla Magoon ~ this was really interesting! I would have loved it to have gone into a little more depth and I wasn't too satisfied with the ending but I think that's simply because I was so intrigued and pulled into the story, that I just wanted more!!

3.75/5* 'The World Is Watching' by Robin Talley ~ This was both heartbreaking and heartwarming. I really want to read more about this time, it always interests me so much. This was such an interesting read, terrifying in many ways due to the violence and how truthful it was to the time, but so interesting. It's definitely reminded me that I need to read more into this time in history!
Profile Image for Drew.
449 reviews504 followers
April 28, 2016
I really liked about half of the stories in this anthology - but I found that the other half were just mediocre.

As a whole, the anthology focused on different women in particular time periods. There were some well-known authors contributing stories - including Marie Lu and Marissa Meyer. I really appreciated the range of historical settings, from the Wild West to pirates, the Great Depression, and WWII.

Mother Carey's Table by J. Anderson Coats - 3.5 stars
“My father says he’s saved my life nine times.”

This was a cleverly written story about a strong heroine disguised as a cabin boy and pirate myths. I admired the narrator, Jo, and there were some nice action scenes.

The Journey by Marie Lu - 2 stars
“My mother named me Yakone, after the red aurora.”

I'm not sure what it is, but a lot of what I've read by Marie Lu leaves me feeling disconnected. This one had a neat idea - about an Inuit girl who learned to hunt from her father - but I couldn't sympathize with the main character's tale of sadness.

Madeleine’s Choice by Jessica Spotswood - 2.5 stars
“I have a secret. It tastes like the sweet lemonade they served at last night’s ball.”

I thought the narrator, Madeleine, was very immature and meek, though her crush on a hot guy she met at a ball did take an interesting twist.

El Destinos by Leslye Walton - 4.5 stars
“Folks around here like to say we came from the stars.”

If I'm being honest, the reason I picked up this anthology in the first place was because Leslye Walton was contributing a story. And she did not disappoint - her writing was breathtaking, heartbreaking, and perfect. The unique plot followed The Three Fates living on a ranch in Texas, disguised as young girls.

High Stakes by Andrea Cremer - 4 stars
“The blood spattered across Klio’s cheek and jaw had yet to dry.”

I loved Klio as a narrator - she was a tough badass who killed people and still found the time to dress up in pretty gowns. I thought the author blended the fantasy elements with the Wild West setting very well, and the ending was superb.

The Red Raven Ball by Caroline Tung Richmond - 3 stars
“Every autumn, after the leaves have faded from emerald to gold, my grandmother throws the most magnificent ball in Washington.”

This was an interesting story about Elizabeth trying to find a Confederate spy the night of her grandmother's ball, but I never became super invested in the plot and characters.

Pearls by Beth Revis - 5 stars
“I am done with men owning me.”

Oh my, this was a very important and very feminist story. Helen refuses to marry the man her father picks for her, so she packs her bags and moves to a little schoolhouse to teach children. This story made me absolutely furious in the best way, and I loved Helen's spirit, her lick of fire and ability to move on.

Gold in the Roots of the Grass by Marissa Meyer - 3 stars
“I was used to ghosts on the streets and in the hills.”

This was another story that had potential but I felt disconnected from. Fei-Yen is a Chinese seer living in a Klondike gold mining town. I thought the plot was a bit weak, which is strange because usually I love Marissa Meyer's short stories.

The Legendary Garrett Girls by Y. S. Lee - 4 stars
“I think you’re right: we’re going to lose the saloon. But we’re going to leave it on our terms.”

An awesome revenge story following a pair of amazing sisters who won't comply when a man demands they hand their saloon over to him.

The Color of the Sky by Elizabeth Wein - 3.5 stars
“What I want to know is why don’t the dad-blamed white newspapers print Bessie Coleman’s name?”

I enjoyed this story - it was simpler than the others, highlighting an African-American girl, Tony, and the injustices and racism in the 1920s.

Bonnie and Clyde by Saundra Mitchell - 2 stars
“Caleb Newcastle has wanted me since I turned thirteen. That’s when I robbed my first bank.”

This one read more like an autobiography - there was hardly any dialogue and it didn't provide any excitement for me.

Hard Times by Katherine Longshore - 3 stars
“The dust bowl dried us all up bitter as seeds and spat us out all over the land.”

A reporter interviews a couple of hobos during the Great Depression. This was pretty good, but I would've liked some grittier details and a harsher setting.

City of Angels by Lindsay Smith - 1.5 stars
“All our lives we’ve been raised to take care of men and let them take care of us.”

The pacing of this story really dragged for me. It follows Evie in the 1940s, when all the men have gone off to war. It had a few good messages about strong women fending for themselves, but I didn't care for the characters.

Pulse of the Panthers by Kekla Magoon - 3 stars
“I’d always been a good girl.”

Yet another story about racism, this time later - in the 1960s. The author highlighted an activist movement, the Black Panthers.

The Whole World Is Watching by Robin Talley - 2 stars
“We’re running. All of us. The hippies in their dirty clothes. The protesters with handkerchiefs tied around their faces.”

Hippies are marching on the Jackson bridge in the 1960s and police known as "pigs" are releasing tear gas on them. Sadly, the writing didn't capture my interest. I wish the anthology had ended on a stronger note.
Profile Image for Lala BooksandLala.
500 reviews62k followers
August 11, 2016
This is my favourite female driven anthology to date. It is historical fiction, with 15 stories organized by date ranging from 1710 to 1968, from a fantastic group of authors. There are stories of assassins and pirates, ghosts and bank robbers, schoolteachers and hippies, all while also covering historically relevant topics like war, the slave trade, gold mining, race and gender inequality and more. I highly recommend.

Mother Carey's Tale by J. Anderson Coats
2.5 stars
This tale wasn't as well written or compelling as expected to kick off this collection of stories. The pirate ship setting was intriguing and I had a strong emotional response to the the middle portion of the story, but it went downhill from there. "All I can do is wonder what the little souls are trying to warn us of, since birds of this kind never just appear."

The Journey by Marie Lu
4 stars
This felt like a story you'd hear sitting around a campfire, a powerful tale of a young woman's perseverance after losing her parents. A story without magic but that felt very magical. "Father had taught me what he would have taught a son, and Mother had taught me what a daughter should know. The thought kept me warm, even as I looked at the bleak trek ahead."

Madeleine's Choice by Jessica Spotswood
2 stars
There's something about a many authored anthology that almost always results in the weakest story being by the editor, the person who collected the stories. Maybe it's due to their story being what inspires the making of the collaboration and so the author is too committed to their story that it's hard to look at it objectively. Or perhaps the effort that got put into editing the rest of the collection left no time to write their own. Either way, I appreciated the conversation about race, family, expectations and marriage in this time period, but overall it felt very unoriginal and incomplete. "How many times have my parents told me that our good name is all we have? That we may be free, but we are still judged by the color of our skin and the curl in our hair?"

El Destinos by Leslye Walton
4 stars
As expected, Walton's story is of the other-worldly sort. It felt incredibly unique and told the story of 3 sisters that held and controlled the literal threads of every human life. "But that's the thing about monsters; we're often in place you don't expect. Or want."

High Stakes by Andrea Cremer
2.5 stars
This story wasn't as compelling as a lot of the others in the anthology. It had the potential to be more entertaining, with it's diverse cast of characters (vampires, goblins, wolves etc.) and the idea of "The Game" but it felt underdeveloped. Perhaps as a stand alone novel, or even a series, it could have been great."But those who've had the privilege to see - do they find your secret to be marvelous?"

The Red Raven Ball by Caroline Tung Richmond
3 stars
A teenage girl entrusted to seek out a confederate spy. It had potential, the descriptions were well written, but there was no time to get emotionally connected enough to care about any of the dramatics and reveals. This could have benefited from being a full length novel instead of a short story. "I've no intention of catching a fiance or even a beau at our ball. Instead, I intend to catch a spy."

Pearls by Beth Revis
5 stars
This is a story about female independence, in an age where that wasn't the most acceptable way of thinking. With a nod to the legendary Annie Oakley, this story was as entertaining as it was smart."And that is it. Just a piece of paper and a train and a promise of a job in the West, and a new life is within my grasp."

Gold in the Roots of the Grass by Marissa Meyer
5 stars
This was an excellent and fast paced story about gold miners and communicating with ghosts on their behalf. Sun Fei-Yen was an interesting main character that I could see driving a full novel, but it also felt perfectly complete as a short. "The male prospector's eyes widened. He followed my look, but to him there was only empty air."

The Legendary Garrett Girls by Y.S. Lee
4.5 stars
This left off with a slightly unsatisfying conclusion, but the story itself, about sisters running a saloon in small town Alaska, was incredibly well written. The men trying to drive the sisters out of their business felt adequately intimidating, as the sisters did smart and brave. I've never heard of this author before but would love to read more from her. He grins even wider. "A girl after my own heart." "No thanks, I'd rather have your wallet."

The Color of the Sky by Elizabeth Wein
3 stars
In a collection full of action, pirates and ghosts, assassins and bank robbers, this story just wasn't a stand out. On one hand it was nice to slow down the pace for a bit, and I appreciated learning about the first black female pilot, but it was quite bland. Maybe in another anthology, I would have appreciated the story more, but the 3 star rating would stand. "Only you can make your dreams come true. Always reach for the sky and soon it'll be time for you to take your flight."

Bonnie and Clyde by Saundra Mitchell
4 stars
The story of a young bandit, being tracked by her boyfriend, who is clearly unaware of her double life. This felt like an excerpt from a longer novel, and I really wish it was because I wanted more!"But Lord, I love running from the law."

Hard Times by Katherine Longshore
3 stars
We've got a train hopping teen, her sidekick, and a stranger.. All three are well characterized for such a quick read, but this is a hard one to rate as it didn't quite feel complete."He hasn't moved. He thinks we'll sell our souls for a few lines of print."

City of Angels by Lindsay Smith
4 stars
Riveting girls in WWII were the focus of this story, two girls in particular whose friendship evolves into more while their men are away at war. I felt this book very strongly; I felt her struggle coming to terms with her sexuality, I felt her passion for her work, I felt her pride, deciding that being yourself is good enough. Great story, compelling writing, strong message. "This is who I am - who I've always been. I just never admitted it before."

Pulse of the Panthers by Kekla Magoon
4.5 stars
This was the sweetest of all the stories, even though the romantic element wasn't the focal point. This story centers around a young girl first learning and meeting the race activists in the 60's, and while I wanted more female badassery, the story felt very genuine. "Can't help trouble. When you're a Panther, trouble finds you."

The Whole World is Watching by Robin Talley
4.5 stars
With all the struggle that went on in this anthology, it was nice to leave it on a hopeful note. This story was equally as full of pain as the others, covering war, feminism and riots, but it was ultimately about progress, both personal and political - a great way to wrap up the collection. "I don't believe in this whole philosophy the way you do. I don't think being with a woman proves anything except that it can be fun to be with a woman."
Profile Image for Angela.
407 reviews15 followers
Want to read
July 19, 2014
with guns hidden under our petticoats
no we're never gonna quit it no we're never gonna quit it no
122 reviews98 followers
Want to read
May 9, 2015
Because: Marissa Meyer, Leslye Walton and Marie Lu .
Profile Image for Britt.
318 reviews81 followers
March 29, 2016
Hey guys! Today I am super lucky to have Jessica Spotswood & Saundra Mitchell stop by to talk about this amazing new book... A Tyranny of Petticoats.

This book is full of strong female characters that are stand out stars of their time period. Each story the M.C, endures what she must and comes out the better for it. The things that stuck with me was that most of the stories had some fantasy elements so it almost like historical fantasy. A few of my favorites have been Andrea Cremer's and Leslye Walton's "El Destinos". The stories while short feel mostly complete. I really have been enjoying this anthology a ton! It's perfect for any reader who loves strong women in historical setting with a little something extra.

The only real directions I gave the authors when I asked them to write stories for A TYRANNY OF PETTICOATS was that I wanted the stories to be about clever, interesting, diverse American girls throughout history, and setting needed to play an important role; the stories needed to feel like they couldn't take place anywhere or anywhen else.

My Question for Jessica: How did the authors get into the places and head-spaces of our historical girls?

One way is by using Pinterest to create inspiration boards.

In Marie Lu's "The Journey," Yakone, a young Inuit girl, flees across the frozen tundra after the murder of her parents and the destruction of her family's village by white traders. (1723: The Great Land) Here's Marie's Pinspiration board for her story:


In Katherine Longshore's "Hard Times," Rosie "Curls" Weaver hops trains toward the coast in search of a better opportunity - and may find one when she meets a journalist searching for the truth about hobo camps. (1934: Washington State) Here's Katherine's Pinspiration board for her story:


In Leslye Walton's "El Destinos," the Three Fates are reborn as a trio of Mexican American sisters whose responsibility to control the threads of life and death is tested when two of them fall in love with the same man. (1848: Southwest Texas) Here's Leslye's Pinspiration board for her story:


In Elizabeth Wein's "The Color of the Sky," Antonia meets her hero, aviatrix Bessie Coleman; bears witness to Bessie's death in a tragic flying accident; and finds herself in possession of the plane's flight record. (1926: Jacksonville, FL & Dallas, TX) Here's Elizabeth's Pinspiration board for her story:


In my (Jessica Spotswood's) "Madeleine's Choice," a free girl of color seeks advice from voodoo queen Marie Laveau to choose between the longtime family friend, a respectable middle class man of color, who has offered her marriage -- and the romantic, wealthy white planter who cannot. (1826: New Orleans) Here's my Pinspiration board for the story:


Music can also really help set the scene and get into the character's head. Here are two playlists from our authors:

In Lindsay Smith's "City of Angels," an aspiring screenwriter falls in love with a fellow Rosie the Riveter who's an aspiring actress - but things change when the men return from war. (1945: Los Angeles, CA). Here are a few songs from Lindsay's playlist:

"In the Mood" Glen Miller Orchestra


"I'll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time" Andrews Sisters


"Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby" Andrews Sisters


In Saundra Mitchell's "Bonnie and Clyde, " Marjorie May Johnson doesn't see any conflict in running from the law as Baby Boy Wabash, the Most Wanted bank robber in Posey County, and later snuggling up to the same lawman, who just happens to be her beau. (1934: Indiana) And here's a whole mini-post by Saundra Mitchell about her musical inspirations:

I write a lot of historicals, so I listen to a lot of historical music. One of the greatest things about writing "Bonnie and Clyde" for A TYRANNY OF PETTICOATS was that blues and jazz were really getting into the swing of things. These forms of music were uniquely American, and uniquely suited to reflecting how complicated the 1930s were in the United States.

"Brother, Can You Spare a Dime" - Rudy Vallee


This is one of those songs that helped define The Depression— it actually
talked about the hardships and the poverty. For a country that had been
booming following WWI, that glistened and glittered with Sheikhs and
shimmy skirts in the 1920s, the harsh realities of the stock market crash
changed everything in an instant. Even country girls in Indiana felt the
reverberations of Black Friday.

"Summertime" - Billie Holliday https://youtu.be/uYUqbnk7tCY

Even if you could manage to imagine better days, the weight of The
Depression was all around. This song wishes for better days, all the while
admitting musically that they're nowhere near here yet. It wasn't hard for
me to imagine my Hoosier girl deciding she wanted summertime to get here,
just a little bit faster.

"Happy Days are Here Again" - Ben Selvin and the Crooners


Conversely, you had FDR swearing he would turn everything around— this was the Change We Can Believe In of its day. But, if you had decided that
robbing banks was the answer, maybe you could believe in those happy days in an immediate way.

"Get Happy" - Ella Fitzgerald: https://youtu.be/mwoPlRR9J_k
This song is about a tent revival, not exactly a gun slinging theme song.
But it's definitely about making yourself over and escaping the darkness—
why couldn't it be the theme song for a girl bandit who also just so
happens to teach Sunday School?

"Minnie the Moocher" - Cab Calloway:


When you're a bad girl, you start to enjoy celebrating bad girls, and
Minnie the Moocher was pretty naughty all things considered!

"Blaze of Glory" - Jon Bon Jovi: https://youtu.be/MfmYCM4CS8o

And this song? Has nothing to do with the Depression, but if you're
styling yourself as an outlaw, you have to have a theme song just in case
you go down in… yep, a Blaze of Glory!

Preview YouTube video Rudy Vallee - Brother can you spare a dime (1931)

Rudy Vallee - Brother can you spare a dime (1931)

Preview YouTube video Billie Holiday - Summertime

Billie Holiday - Summertime

Preview YouTube video Ben Selvin Happy Days Are Here Again 1930

Ben Selvin Happy Days Are Here Again 1930

Preview YouTube video ella fitzgerald - get happy

ella fitzgerald - get happy

Preview YouTube video Cab Calloway - Minnie the Moocher

Cab Calloway - Minnie the Moocher

Preview YouTube video Jon Bon Jovi - Blaze Of Glory

Jon Bon Jovi - Blaze Of Glory
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Profile Image for Erica.
1,327 reviews435 followers
February 22, 2017
A book of stories about interesting, enduring, and sometimes badass females throughout American history. Wonderful news! This isn't a white girls only club; both protagonists and authors are diverse(ish). That shouldn't be news at all, but right now, it is, so this is worth recommending on that point, alone. Don't worry, though, your readers will also get quality writing, for the most part.
4.5 stars

Here's my breakdown:

Mother Carey's Table (1710) by J. Anderson Coats - 5 stars

It's a sea story! The protagonist is a black girl! I like it already. In this tale, a worried father helps his daughter pass as a boy on a pirate ship. This portrayal of Mother Carey's Chickens is a kind of reverse Little Mermaid tale (tail), complete with a sea witch and bittersweet ending, minus the gross romance.

The Journey (1723) by Marie Lu - 5 stars

A nearly-grown young woman is the sole survivor after white people attack her Alaskan village. She journeys across the frozen tundra with the help of the Seal King and Nanuck. This story introduces elements of the grossly underrepresented Inuit culture. It also subtly explores Anglo invasion and the role of missionaries in stealing lands for white people.

Madeline's Choice (1826) by Jessica Spotswood - 3 stars

Here's the editor's/compiler's story. Madeline is a free person of color in NOLA and she is at a crossroads: live a pampered but contained life as a white man's mistress, and she is in love with the man so this is actually a hard decision, or be dignified, find a suitable free person of color to marry, and live a life of her own choosing. This one is melodramatic, sappy, and, in the end, she isn't really forced to make a choice at all. The final message is a good one, though poorly conveyed.

El Destinos (1848) by Leslye Walton - 5 stars

I'd originally given this 4 stars but the story keeps coming back to me so it obviously made a 5 star impact. It's a retelling of the Fates. I love the Fates, especially when they're portrayed as witches. It's the sister thing + the equal division of power among women thing + the explanation for all of life thing. In this case, the Wyrd, Rosa, Valeria, and Maria Elena, are young Mexican women in the Texas territory. Tumbleweeds and coyotes abound (not really)

High Stakes (1861) by Andrea Cremer - 2 stars

I didn't much care for this one. It's a paranormal thriller in which a magical girl (if you know your mythology, you figure out what she is pretty quickly, though it's not actually confirmed until the very end) is hired to protect a warlock during some political games. There's betrayal and vengeance but I felt the story was juvenile, dramatic, and sloppy.

The Red Raven Ball (1862) by Caroline Tung Richmond - 1 star

This was my least favorite story, partially because it was poorly written and partially because such a fascinating topic was terribly misused. A Southern Belle is pulled into the spy business by her uncle. The storyline was predictable and there was nothing to interest me in this tale of familial intrigue.

Pearls (1876) by Beth Revis - 3 stars

I did not enjoy the novel I read by this author but was pleased to enjoy this short story. It starts out with a wealthy young white woman who is raped by her suitor. Her father, feeling she's brought shame to the family, forces her to marry the rapist so she runs away to Wyoming to teach in a subscription school. I think more time could have been spent both on explaining the school as well as the community that built it, but it was still a good story, overall.

Gold In the Roots of the Grass (1877) by Marissa Meyer - 3 stars

Oh, we love us some Marissa Meyer, don't we? I do sometimes, but not all the time. This is one of the times I like her well enough, though her love of love makes me heave sighs of disappointment. At any rate, a Chinese American girl reads fortunes in the back of her father's shop. She can actually talk to ghosts but she relies on all the old fortune teller tricks, instead, because talking to ghosts is hazardous. However, after a prospector comes a-seekin' knowledge from his dead partner, a Scooby-Doo type mystery is uncovered and then there's love. Yay.

The Legendary Garrett Girls (1898) by Y.S. Lee - 4 stars

A pair of white sisters are run out of their Skaguay saloon by the notorious Soapy Smith but they make sure they don't leave without getting the last laugh. It's hardscrabble, rootin' tootin' fun. Well, maybe not fun, but definitely hardscrabble.

The Color of the Sky (1926) by Elizabeth Wein - 5 stars

We've jumped ahead 2 decades and are now in the roaring '20's. A young black woman, the chosen emissary for her physics class, meets Bessie Coleman for a Q&A regarding the mechanics of flight. Terrible misfortune occurs, however, and the girl journeys to a Texas airfield, home of Coleman's mechanic.

Bonnie and Clyde (1934) by Saundra Mitchell - 3.5 stars

I have yet to find a Bonnie and Clyde story that appeals to me. Those two just don't pique my interest at all. However the young, white protagonist in this story is quite taken with the notorious duo and becomes a sort of notorious duality, herself. This one is fun and spunky.

Hard Times (1934) by Katherine Longshore - 3 stars

Now we're getting into personal territory. This is where my family history really starts being compiled with stories of the Dust Bowl, potato sack dresses, and hobo markings on fence posts. A white teenage girl and the young boy who has attached himself to her meet a newspaper reporter who wants to get a good story so he doesn't lose his job. They invite him to ride the rails to their next stop and when he disembarks, he'll have a story that will earn him his spot at the paper.

City of Angels (1945) by Lindsay Smith - 5 stars

Evie, a dark-skinned young woman, is the best riveter in her California factory. All the eligible men are at war, including her own beau, and the women on the homefront are keeping the country running. Evie falls in love with an aspiring actress who is also waiting for her guy to come home and the two have a lovely romance until the menfolk return to claim everything they think is theirs.

Pulse of the Panthers (1967) by Kekla Magoon - 4 stars

Sandy has never been much further than her farm where she lives with her father and grandmother. When her dad invites some Black Panthers to spend the weekend on the property, learning to shoot, Sandy is intrigued by a boy, of course, but, moreso, by the activist movement and the idea of travel and freedom. The dissonance between Sandy's peaceful, rural life and the young men who are training to be freedom fighters, is beautifully portrayed.

The Whole World Is Watching (1968) by Robin Talley - 4 stars

A black college student, her white boyfriend, and her white best friend/former lover, have left NYC for the week to protest the Vietnam War at the DNC in Chicago. Amidst a riot, she wrestles with being true to herself versus caring too much how she is perceived by others. This one is particularly poignant right now, reflecting young activism during a time of political turmoil, looking at the black experience amidst white feminism as well as what it means to be a human who wants to make her world a better place.
Profile Image for Nasty Lady MJ.
1,059 reviews16 followers
March 16, 2016
Really 2.5 stars.

To see review with Arnold gif click here.

I was excited about this one to say the east, I mean look at that title and cover and little descriptive blurb “15 stories of belles, bank robbers, and other badass girls”. That has to be awesome, right?

Well, not so much.

To be honest, I almost stopped reading the collection after the first three or four stories. They weren’t really that bad ass, more lame ass and a little poorly written.

Le sigh. Luckily, I kept on and there were some good ones amongst the muck. Reviewing short story collection is always a difficult thing to do, because if I do a thorough review every story the review becomes a bit of an omnibus. On the other hand if I just review it as a whole it sort of falls flat. What I’m going to do here is review the best and the worst stories in the collection and the ones that were so so. If you want to know more about one of the stories leave a comment after the review and I’ll do my best to get back to you (wait, that was basically blogger voice mail).

The Good:

The Red Raven Ball (Caroline Tung Richmond): This one was fun and could be continued on. I really want some more YA set in the Civil War era. There is a lot to explore in said era, and I liked that Richmond dealt with Lady Spies.

Pearls (Beth Revis): Oddly enough, I liked this one. Which surprises me because I haven’t exactly been a huge fan of the author’s previous work. I don’t even think I finished her sci fi series.

Gold in the Roots of the Grass (Marissa Meyer): It’s by Marissa Meyer it has to be golden, right? Actually what made me love this one was the fact that Meyer was able to write outside of her Lunar Chronicles series. I love the set up for this one and it has the tiniest shades of The Mediator which is always a good thing.

Bonnie and Clyde (Saudra Mitchell): Maybe my favorite in the entire book. Very engaging and I would very much like to see something like this developed into a larger story.
City of Angels (Lidsay Smith): I liked the light Casabanca connection. The story was easy enough to follow and the relationship was realistic with the page count and the constraints of the time period.

The Bad:

Mother Carey’s Table (J Anderson Coats): It was interesting enough, but confusing and what disappointed me the most about this one was that it barely touched the surface in what could’ve been an interesting story.

The Journey (Marie Lu): Boring. Then again, I wasn’t exactly a fan of Alaska survival stories.

El Destinos (Leslye Walton): Confusing as hell. I know that the writer was trying to use magical realism or whatever, but it just didn’t work for me.

High Stakes (Andrea Cramer): This one was just a headache. A lot of it doesn’t make sense and unlike other authors who employed paranormal elements quite effortlessly with the page count they were given this one just has random vampires, jinn, and random anything else that was popular in 2006.

The Forgettable:

The Legendary Garrett Girls (YS Lee) This one wasn’t bad and it might be more interesting to me upon reread but I was just sort of blah about it.

The Color of the Sky (Elizabeth Wein): This one read like a textbook to me. The premises looked so exciting, but blah.

Hard Times (Katherine Longshore): This one wasn’t bad it was just that nothing happened. The character development was decent though and I liked the character interactions.

Pulse of the Panthers (Kekla Magoon): This one just seemed like there was a fictional character witnessing history and I really didn’t pay attention.

The Whole World is Watching (Robin Talley): The pacing was ridiculous. Had this been a full novel, it might’ve worked better. As it was though, eh.
Profile Image for Ylenia.
1,055 reviews387 followers
January 10, 2020
1) MOTHER CAREY'S TABLE by J. Anderson Coats - 2 stars
2) EL DESTINOS by Leslye Walton - 2.5 stars
3) MADELEINE'S CHOICE by Jessica Spotswood - 3.25 stars
4) HARD TIMES by Katherine Longshore - 2.5 stars
5) HIGH STAKES by Andrea Cremer - 3.5 stars
6) PEARLS by Beth Revis - 3.5 stars
7) THE RED RAVEN by Caroline Tung Richmond - 3.75 stars
9) GOLD IN THE ROOTS OF THE GRASS by Marissa Meyer - 3.75 stars
10) THE JOURNEY by Marie Lu - 3 stars
11) BONNY AND CLYDE by Saundra Mitchell - 4 stars
12) THE COLOR OF THE SKY by Elizabeth Wein - 2 stars
13) CITY OF ANGELS by Lindsay Smith - 3 stars
14) PULSE OF PANTHERS by Kekla Magoon - 4 stars
15) THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING by Robin Talley - 2 stars
Profile Image for Kara Babcock.
1,920 reviews1,255 followers
June 14, 2017
Women don’t need me to say this, because they know this, and many have said this themselves, but I’ll boost it: the thing about representation is that it isn’t enough to give people one character, one story, one thing and say, “There, you’ve representation, job done.” So I was excited when I received A Tyranny of Petticoats in a Book Riot Book Mail box. Those of you who have read my reviews for a while (thank you, reader, no matter how poorly you’ve chosen to use your time) know that I’m not that enthusiastic about anthologies. Short stories are not my jam the way novels are. So it means a lot when I’m saying that I loved this anthology.

You want to talk about representation? A Tyranny of Petticoats spans from 1710 to 1968 and features a diverse group of authors writing about a diverse group of women who embody the idea of a “strong” female character in so many ways. It’s not just stories about white girls having adventures. If I remember correctly, 9 of the 15 stories in this collection feature protagonists who are Black, Indigenous, Chinese, mixed-race, or otherwise non-white. Although not all of these stories are #ownvoices, many of the authors are also, as far as I can tell, non-white. Additionally, several of the protagonists are queer or questioning their sexuality. These are 15 stories about young women who are different and who are literally refusing to conform to what their world, their time, expects of them. It is, in my opinion, quite empowering, though obviously my opinion here isn’t the one that counts. I’m a fairly empowered, privileged person already.

I don’t usually like to review story-by-story, but I want to do that here. I love these stories so much.

“Mother Carey’s Table” by J. Anderson Coats
Set in 1710, Jocasta “Joe” is a Black girl who must dress as a boy while she and her father work aboard a pirate vessel. I appreciate how this story does not sugarcoat or romanticize what it means to be a pirate or the kind of life sailors lead.

“The Journey” by Marie Lu
Set in 1723, Yakone is an Inupiat girl whose world is rocked by the invasion of European settlers. After losing her father and then mother in short succession, Yakone finds herself stranded on the tundra with only her dog and her people’s stories to guide her and help her to survive. I don’t know enough about Inuit stories to know if Lu has done the culture justice; as far as I can tell, she highlights many of the elements of Inuit culture, such as the reverence for and reliance upon dogs, that are important to remember given how much Europeans tried to suppress them.

“Madeline’s Choice” by Jessica Spotswood
By the editor, this story is set in 1826. Madeline is Black, although of mixed blood in an era and setting (Louisiana) where this was a huge deal. She falls in love with a dandy who often passes as white and wants to marry him in defiance of her parents. Spotswood highlights both the folly of youth and the constrictive ways in which parents behave with their children while also keeping the mother figure sympathetic. I really enjoyed the nuance here. Trigger warning for historical language and terms that may nowadays be offensive.

“El Destinos” by Leslye Walton
Set in 1848, the protagonists of this story are incarnations of the Three Fates from Greek and Norse mythology. This is a very creative and fun take on these mythical creatures—in this time period, they are teenage Mexican girls living in Texas shortly after the end of the Mexican—American War. Despite liking the premise, I didn’t enjoy this story quite as much. Most of the plot and character development was predictable.

“High Stakes” by Andrea Cremer
As with the previous story, this tale set in 1861 Massachusetts and Mississippi features more overt supernatural elements than most of the other stories in this book. Klio herself has a supernatural heritage, though Cremer skillfully only drops hints until the very end. You’ll figure it out, but it’s very artfully done. And that’s about how I feel here: the story itself is good, just not great.

“The Red Raven Ball” by Caroline Tung Richmond
Lizzie is a debutante living in 1862 Washington, D.C. Charged by her uncle to help him identify a Confederate spy in D.C. who only goes by the name the “Red Raven”, Lizzie sleuths around her Grandmama’s ball until she discovers the shocking truth. The spy thriller aspect of this story wasn’t as exciting as it wants to be, but the characters are excellent. Lizzie, her sister, and her Grandmama are all so believable in their motivations. Richmond reminds us why some women internalize and accept their role in a patriarchal society because of how they have grown up and what they believe.

“Pearls” by Beth Revis
It’s 1876 and Helen is fleeing Chicago for the wild west of Cheyenne, Wyoming. She takes a position as a schoolteacher rather than marry her rapist in disgrace. The rape itself is neither depicted nor described; it happened before the start of the story. I loved this story! Helen grows into herself, makes decisions based on her needs, and her relationship with her charges is interesting and deep. I love, love the ending.

“Gold in the Roots of the Grass” by Marissa Meyer
Another more supernatural story, set in 1877, Deadwood. The protagonist, Sun Fei-Yen, is Chinese (or of Chinese descendant) and has inherited the gift (or curse) of seeing ghosts. She turns this into a trade, albeit not always a safe or reliable one, until her desire to help a recently-made ghost puts her into even more danger. Like many of the other stories in this book, this one goes beyond depicting a great female character and challenges other tropes of American storytelling—it acknowledges that the United States is on stolen land and does not shy away from depicting the calculated racism with which people grabbed for power in frontier times.

“The Legendary Garrett Girls” by Y.S. Lee
Set in 1898, this is Alaska during the gold rush and settlement. The Garrett girls are being muscled out of their bar. I didn’t love this one, but I like that it didn’t necessarily go the way I expected. It just felt a little more frivolous—because it was kind of like a legend—so I didn’t get to enjoy the protagonists as much as people.

“The Color of the Sky” by Elizabeth Wein
It should come as no surprise that I loved this story, because I love Wein’s books. She has written about female pilots before, albeit not Black pilots. In 1926, Tony sees her idol, Bessie Coleman, die in a horrible test-flight accident. Tony has always wanted to be a pilot, and despite the additional challenges placed upon her by being both female and Black, she takes the first steps towards forging this path. The story is inspirational and moving.

“Bonnie and Clyde” by Saundra Mitchell
Set in 1934, this story has more introspection and narration from the protagonist. She leads a very fascinating double life. I love how Mitchell uses the backdrop and setting of the Great Depression to provide the protagonist with this motivation to pull off such dangerous acts in order to help her family.

“Hard Times” by Katherine Longshore
Set in 1934, Washington State this time instead of Indiana like the last book, this follows two … urchins? Homeless children. And an older boy, just barely a man, trying to prove himself at his father’s newspaper by writing about the dispossessed, homeless youth who don’t have a job. It’s interesting, because it’s a perspective on this part of the Depression I haven’t read much myself. The story itself didn’t grab me as much.

“City of Angels” by Lindsay Smith
Set in 1945, the protagonist (who is I believe of Native American heritage) is a riveter and falls in love with a female coworker. This relationship exposes her to a side of Los Angeles living she never otherwise would have discovered. Both women have beaus overseas, however—one in Europe and one in the Pacific—and the spectre of what they will do when these men return, if they return, looms large in this story. Smith manages to shows us how women worked and lived independently during war while also showing young readers a lesbian relationship that is full of as much happiness, doubt, and pain as any other relationship.

“Pulse of the Panthers” by Kekla Magoon
Set in 1967, in rural California, the protagonist tells us about a weekend in which her father hosts young members of the Black Panthers on his farm. She watches as he teaches them how to use firearms to defend their communities, and she flirts with a young Panther who tries to convince her to come to the city and join the movement. This one felt very slow, plot-wise, but was a great, different look at the Black Panther movement from what you might typically see.

“The Whole World is Watching” by Robin Talley
Closing out this book, Talley’s story takes place in Grant Park, Chicago, in 1968, during anti-war protests. The protagonist a Black (though, being from the south, she has grown up thinking of herself as “Negro”) woman questioning her sexuality—she has embraced what she calls “radical lesbian feminism”, and although she pretended to date a male friend when her father came up to visit, she has been seeing a mutual female friend on the side. I’m ambivalent about how this relationship is depicted and the terms here. I don’t think Talley is trying to portray lesbianism as a deliberate, feminist, or misandrist choice but is rather trying to show how the climate of the late 1960s gave a lot of women who experienced these types of attractions the opportunity and vocabulary to act upon these attractions rather than repress them or see them as shameful. There’s an intense mixture of action in this book, stemming from political, racial, or feminist conflicts. It’s an interesting, if a bit heavy, story.

So there you have it. A Tyranny of Petticoats is well worth reading, or worth giving to a young woman who wants to read about more young women like her throughout American history. I love the idea of a tyranny being the collective noun for a group of women in petticoats. Rock on.

Creative Commons BY-NC License
Profile Image for Forever Young Adult.
3,011 reviews425 followers
March 8, 2016
Graded By: Jennie
Cover Story: Who Run The World?
The Best: “El Destinos” by Leslye Walton and “Bonnie and Clyde” by Saundra Mitchell
The Worst Not My Favorite Genre: “High Stakes” by Andrea Cremer
Bonus Factors: American History, Diversity, LGBTQ
Break Glass In Case Of: Dudes Dominating Your History Books

Read the full book report here.
Profile Image for Preethi.
702 reviews63 followers
May 26, 2016

1. True to it's claim on the cover, this anthology is filled with a whole bunch of kickass women who will make you feel freaking proud to be a lady.

I didn't really know what to expect from this when I started it, and simply picked it up because I wasn't in the mood to read an actual book. Yes that's a terrible reason to start a book like this, but clearly it paid off because once I started, not only was I delighted, but I literally couldn't stop reading. A kickass woman here, a badass one over there, repeating for the entirety of the anthology, and it is pretty much a fangirl's dream. Add that to the amazing authors who wrote each story - only a few of which I actually recognized, though I'm looking into the new-to-me authors because I love awesome writers - and this book of short stories is my favorite of them all.

2. Anthology deaths hurt too (and we all know how much I love being in crippling, emotional pain).

Funnily enough, the first story itself features death, and you'd be surprised by how much it hurts. These main characters are amazing and it's obvious from even the little snippet of their lives we get to read. There are a surprising amount of short stories in this anthology where the main character dies, and even more surprising is how offended I got on behalf of the character when that happened. Like excuse you, how dare you, evil character, cause the death of this super awesome human right here who is so much better than you? There were so many feels and I loved it.

3. I love that a couple of the stories have romance, because for some reason, there are books/people that seem to think that they can't be feminist if they have romance, and there's just so much wrong with that line of thinking.

When I first started reading this I actually thought it would be romance-free, but I didn't mind because unlike some books (I'm thinking of Mechanica ), it wasn't like the authors were giving the main characters the possibility of love, and then ripping it away, teaching the character that she'd be alone but it was okay because she is feminist. That's not what feminism is. I'm probably explaining this terribly, but what it all comes down to is that this anthology is not stupid, it knows what it's doing with its badass girls, and it is wonderful.

4. The time periods that the stories are set in - well, it's like the authors stuck a hand into my head and gave me exactly what I wanted most.

It's no secret that I adore stories set in historical settings, and this book did just that in the most perfect way possible. At first, I thought that all of these stories would be set in a Victorian-like setting, but only a few of them did. The rest were full of people from diverse backgrounds and diverse settings, all of which served to make this anthology intriguing, and kept the reader from becoming bored. There are stories of ghosts, trust, friendship, love, death, and family - all set sometime in the past. There are real life events, there is fiction, and there are stories/characters based on true stories. There's real inspiration in these stories, and nobody who picks up this book will regret it.

5. I wasn't in the mood to start a new story and read it from start to finish, so being able to get a taste of different characters and different worlds/time periods was just what I needed.

As I said before, I was in the perfect mood for this book when I began reading it. I'd probably suggest reading this in-between intense books, simultaneously reading other books (you could read a few stories at a time), or maybe when you're in a book slump. Of course, if you're super excited for it, then just read it now, because in all honesty, this book will blow you away no matter what you're doing or what you're feeling. This is such a feel-good anthology that you need in your life, preferably sooner rather than later.

My favorite short story of them all? I think I'll go with Hard Times by Katherine Longshore. I haven't been able to get it out of my head since I first read it: the main character is brave, selfless, and untrusting, but an encounter with a journalist gives her new hope for more to look forward to in her future. The other characters in the story are perfect as well, and the story is just so heart-warming - I can imagine an entire book from that single scene.

Profile Image for Rachael (RedRchlReads).
163 reviews114 followers
August 23, 2020
It's been years and I've come to terms that I'm never going to finish this anthology. Giving it 3 stars anyway since all the stories I read were pretty good!

I'm listening to the audiobook of this anthology, which ends up being the perfect amount of time for about one story per trip to/from work, so I figured I would do mini reviews of each story as I go along. The audiobook doesn't have the titles/authors listed with each of the chapters, so a huge thanks to other reviewers who have listed out the story titles and authors!

Narration: I've only listened to one story so far, but I'm on the fence about the narration. I'll be interested to see how the narrator continues with characterizing the enormous cast across all these stories.
Disclaimer: I'm really picky about audiobook narrations, especially character voices.

Mother Carey's Table by J. Anderson Coats - 3 Stars
This was a really odd story to start with, but once I got into the swing of things, I quite enjoyed it. While I liked the main character, Jo - a young African-American girl disguised as a boy and working aboard what is essentially a pirate ship, the story itself felt a bit disjointed. The climax was also fairly predictable, and I wonder if part of that was due to just how very short it was. If given a bit more length to play out, I think it would have flowed a lot better.

I don't know yet, since I don't have a physical copy of the book, but it seems like the anthology is starting with the story set the earliest first. If so, I'm excited to see how things change throughout the course of the stories.

The Journey by Marie Lu - 3.5 Stars
This is the first thing I've read by Marie Lu and I quite enjoyed it. The Journey follows Yakone, a young Inuit girl, as she flees across the frozen tundra after her village is attacked. I liked learning about what life may have been like for Yakone and the mythos that she and her people believed in. I really don't know much about Inuit culture, so it was nice to get a little glimpse into their lives. I did think that the story dragged a bit, despite how short it was in overall length. Yet overall, a good story!

Madeleine’s Choice by Jessica Spotswood - 5 Stars
My first story by Jessica Spotswood and my first 5 stars of this anthology. Madeleine's Choice is set in the mid-1700's and is about a young African-American woman growing up in New Orleans during the time of quadroon balls, gens de couleur libres (free people of color), and "arrangements". Madeleine must make the most difficult choice, one that most of us can still relate to today, between her heart (and her friend) and her family. I loved this story from start to finish; from the heavy French and Creole references and influences, to the appearance of a certain famous voodoo priestess, it was so easy to fly through this story. I would absolutely read a longer book about Madeleine and the rich world of 1700's New Orleans.

El Destinos by Leslye Walton - 3 Stars
As with many of these other authors, I haven't previously read anything by Leslye Walton. In this southwestern take on the story of the three fates, the fates have been reincarnated (or reborn/transformed) into young girls, who are growing up with an adopted family in the desert. This story follows the eldest fate as she prepares for her wedding day and the sisters' interactions in their new lives together.

High Stakes by Andrea Cremer
The Red Raven Ball by Caroline Tung Richmond
Pearls by Beth Revis
Gold in the Roots of the Grass by Marissa Meyer
The Legendary Garrett Girls by Y. S. Lee
The Color of the Sky by Elizabeth Wein
Bonnie and Clyde by Saundra Mitchell
Hard Times by Katherine Longshore
City of Angels by Lindsay Smith
Pulse of the Panthers by Kekla Magoon
The Whole World Is Watching by Robin Talley
Profile Image for Holly .
1,358 reviews291 followers
April 17, 2017
Overall rating: 3.5 stars!

*It is really hard to talk about any of these without going into somewhat spoilerish details, so if you want to go in blind for all of the stories, definitely don't read these. :)

Read count: 15/15

Mother Carey's Table by J. Anderson Coats. 2 stars!
Well. Okay. So. This was TOO short for me. I know it's SUPPOSED to be short, but I should still be able to get a good grasp of the main character and her life, but I didn't. There was not enough there for me to care. Sure, she was badass (I mean, you'll figure out why once you read it), and a girl disguised as a boy to survive (one of my fave tropes), and a pirate/sailor, but that was basically all I found out. And honestly? I'm not sure I understand how it ended, and why (even WITH the author's note!). I was very confused. I also had a hard time with the writing, and it was more than just being weighed down by references and historical details I didn't know. This is not off to a promising start, because while it was obviously a quick read, I didn't really enjoy it.

The Journey by Marie Lu. 4 stars!
Ah. Ah. I knew I would love Marie's story! Her writing is fabulous, and I loved the rich culture and historical time period she chose to feature. It was super detailed, and I adored that the main character, her family, and her village used sled dogs to get around (I'm a sucker for dogs in stories). I could FEEL the love that Yakone had for her mother and her father, her desperation and urgency when white men show up and endanger her home. This was a survival story, with a girl who kept going, even when she wanted to give up. That kind of courage and determination was beautiful to see, especially since Yakone had no reason to push on, was grieving for the life and loved ones she lost. And I loved the glimpses of hope at the end. This short was definitely better than the first, and one I had no doubt I'd love!

Madeleine's Choice by Jessica Spotswood. 2 stars!
Blah. Perhaps because the first two stories were adventurous and set at a faster pace, it made this one pale in comparison. It was BORING, honestly. It was about a girl who had a choice; follow her heart and choose love or go with her family's wishes and marry someone she doesn't feel any stirrings of passion for. Normally, I wouldn't so much mind a story JUST about a romance. I especially liked the inside look into what it was like for people of color and not being given the freedom to marry someone not within their caste. I understand that her options were limited, and that she wanted to break free of society's box without losing her parents. But the choice was taken away from Maddie anyway. There wasn't a point to it after that! And I didn't FEEL like I was transported to New Orleans in 1826. The lack of historical details was actually disappointing, and I didn't find Maddie's dilemma compelling at all.

El Destinos by Leslye Walton. 4.5 stars!
My monster, it seemed, would not be so easily tamed. I LOVED THIS ONE! It was magical and engaging and with such pretty writing. It was a play on the mythology of the three Fates. It was about three girls, who are both human and monster, who are the givers of life and death. Three girls reincarnated, torn between duty and love and a new life that makes them feel more human and utterly more alive than they've ever been. I loved how the struggle was shown of the middle one, the main character Valeria, as she deciphers a dying thread that she knows will hurt her sisters. And I could totally get a feel for her character; her anger, her quiet hatred, her desperation to be loved. But through it all, her love for her sisters is bigger than anything else. Bigger even than the duty assigned to them thousands of years ago. It was a gorgeous story, and one that I found myself wishing hadn't ended!

High Stakes by Andrea Cremer. 3 stars!
I liked this one, but it would have been much better if it were a full book and not a short story. Because while it was enjoyable, and fun because YAY FOR HISTORICAL FANTASY, it was all too quick and short to do much for me. I liked the main character, and that ending was AWESOME! Seriously, I cackled. BUT this didn't feel high stakes to me. There was no sense of urgency and intensity, and though apparently these Games determined what was going to happen with the Civil War, I didn't quite get it. I really think this would have done better as a full book, with pages and pages of history mingled with the fantastical. More time to get to know the main character and understand who she is and why she prefers being a lone wolf. And while it was a nice short story, everything didn't come together as well as it could have.

The Red Raven Ball by Caroline Richmond. 3 stars!
Oh, I liked this one! I'm a sucker for spy stories, so I loved that the main character, Lizzie, was helping her uncle by trying to smoke out a Confederate spy at a ball. Though she was torn between doing what her grandmother wanted of her to standing by her own convictions, she stayed strong and determined. Even when her world gets turned upside down, she stayed true to herself. Though she was a bit naive, and seemed to have a hugely romantic notion of catching this spy and saving the day, I thought it was so great that she had a mind of her own. One that wouldn't let her back down for anything, no matter what it would cost. I'm all about women paving their own path, especially in historical fiction, in a time where girls were expected to marry and be owned by men. But Lizzie didn't want that, and she proved her mother proud at the end. This was definitely an enjoyable short read, and I loved that it was set during the Civil War.

Pearls by Beth Revis. 3.5 stars!
But I am done with men owning me. Talk about saying "fuck the patriarchy!" and giving it the highest of middle fingers. Like I said in the last story above, I'm all about women paving their own path in history, when those paths were filled with more danger BECAUSE they were standing by their convictions and going after what they wanted. I was very much a fan of the way this story showed that, first with the main character, Helen, and then through one of her students, Annie. It was a story of strength, of feminism, and of faith in yourself. Helen left an awful situation with very little, and yet, she never looked back. She kept going, even when she was so unsure of herself, even when she was terrified of being the sole teacher (at only 19, no less!) to a bunch of students in a small town. I really liked this one! It was full of spunk and grit, and I honestly would have enjoyed more pages of it. :) (This was also my first Beth Revis story, and it won't be the last!)

Gold in the Roots of the Grass by Marissa Meyer. 4 stars!
I had no doubt I'd love this one, as I've loved all of the stories I've read by Marissa. She has yet to disappoint me. I think this was the first short that truly had a possibility of romance for the main character. I liked that! I ended up adoring both of the characters, even though we definitely didn't get enough time with either James or Sun Fei-Yen. Both different in their own ways; both wanting to take care of their family and have bright futures. The girl's voice still drives this story as I'm glad it did; nothing (and no man) stole her thunder. She was a spunky, witty character who did the best she could to survive in a world that looked down upon her because of her heritage. And she did what she knew was right, even though it cost her greatly. This was a lovely story, but one with a bittersweet ending. Yet. I loved it still.

The Legendary Garrett Girls by Y.S. Lee. 4 stars!
Ha, this one was GREAT! I'm a sucker for fabulous familial relationships, so the fact that the bond between the sisters was front and center, made me so happy. These two are all the other has, ever since their mom died and left them on their own. But they didn't let the grief slow them down, and they moved to Skaguay, Alaska and started a saloon. I loved that they were so strong and stood their ground even when the nasty Soapy and his henchmen wanted to run them out of town and steal their saloon. Because what business do two young girls have owning a place like this? But the Garrett sisters were like "fuck this!" and set a trap and skipped out of town. While I could tell it was hard for them to give it up, to run, they knew it was for the best. And they also had faith that this wouldn't ruin them, that they'd find their place again. Besides, they have each other. That's all that matters. <3

The Color of the Sky by Elizabeth Wein. 3 stars!
I should have guessed Elizabeth's story would be about flying and planes. I still don't understand nearly half of the mechanics of it! Haha. But this story had an even deeper message, intertwined with a real life woman of history. Bessie Coleman was the first black woman receive a pilot's license, who paved the way for both women and women of color in flying planes. She inspired the main character, Tony, so much, who was quite shaken up by Bessie's death, especially since she wondered who else would take up the woman's torch for equality. Bessie's life and death weighed heavily on Tony, who ended up sneaking out of the house and returning a mechanic's notebook to the airfield who sold her the Jenny plane, all to understand the woman who made her feel special and heard. And through that, she not only found a warm place of people who didn't care about the color of your skin, but a determination to do whatever it takes to make her dreams come true.

Bonnie and Clyde by Saundra Mitchell. 4.5 stars!
But Lord, I love running from the law. Ah, this has been my favorite since the Fates story! I love, love, love Robin Hood-type characters, and I especially love that this was about a cross-dressing young girl robbing banks. The main character (who I don't think was given a name?) was angry at the banks, and she wanted them to pay for what they did to her mom and dad. But she also started leaving money in people's mailboxes and houses, helping them out through The Great Depression. Her wit and sass made me cheer for her, and I adored how much of a spitfire she was. And I thought it was HILARIOUS that the guy who was sweet on her was also the one chasing her. I wasn't sure how the ending would go, but I'm quite happy with it! I'd imagine if this were a full story, the author would have made the MC confront Caleb, her sweetheart. But I really love that by the end, perhaps the only person who will ever know is her mother. :)

Hard Times by Katherine Longshore. 4 stars!
I was looking forward to this one a lot, because I've wanted to read one of Katherine's books for awhile, and I knew she wrote historical fiction. And I'm happy to say that I REALLY enjoyed this one! So much so that I'm going to check out that documentary she mentioned in her author's note, about the teenagers riding the rails during The Great Depression. And her main character, Rosie, is exactly that. She's a teen, forced to ride the rails and live on the streets and beg for food and work, because of the hard times. I felt so sympathetic toward Rosie and Billy, the kid she takes under her wing. She's stoic, very distrustful, and yet she takes a chance on this guy who wants to tell HER story. Because her story is important, and it's one that I found not only intriguing to read about, but one that very cleverly conveyed how hard it was during the Depression for those who were not so lucky, as well as showing the differences in how people lived. And I loved that, while this was dark and sad, it was also infused with hope and light.

City of Angels by Lindsay Smith. 3.5 stars!
I was very pleasantly surprised by this one! I really love that it was set during WWII; that is one of my favorite subgenres EVER. And I loved that the main character, Evie, was a riveter. She ended up having to find work after her sweetheart was shipped off to Europe. But she also has dreams of her own; quiet dreams of writing scripts for studios. Dreams that she hasn't even realized yet, until she becomes intimately acquainted with Frankie, another riveter whom Evie is told to work with and teach. At first, she doesn't like her. But then they end up becoming romantically involved. I liked how the struggle was shown here. A LOT! Because while the world has progressed, people who identified as LGBTQ+ then were faced with so much more discrimination and hatred. It all felt realistic here. I also loved how the short story tackled women's roles and places as well, but with a main character who ended up saying "screw it!" and stayed true to herself instead. :)

Pulse of the Panthers by Kekla Magoon. 3 stars!
I found this one very fascinating, as I don't know much about the Black Panther movement in the late 1960s. This story revolves around that, as well as a young black girl in 1967, who realizes how huge the world is. A world she's never thought about exploring, until she meets the young Panthers who come stay at her family's farm for a weekend. Through them, her narrow world opens up, bringing her new possibilities, dreams, and visions. She's starting to understand that maybe she WANTS to fight, too. Maybe she wants to find out what's at the end of the lane, something she's never thought about before, until she meets this group who show her what life is really like outside of the safety net of her small town. Although I would have liked MORE of everything, to follow Sandy to Oakland (as I'm sure she'll do at some point), I can see why it was ended like that. I did like that it was open!

The Whole World is Watching by Robin Talley. 3 stars!
I liked this one! There was a lot of intensity surrounding the protests and the fact that the characters keep running from police officers. I don't remember much about anything I learned in history class when it came to the the 1960s, and I especially don't remember important dates very well, so a lot of this was not new, per se, but unfamiliar. And while I did like the story as a whole, I think it was too short for me to really get involved with the characters, even the main one, Jill. I could understand her struggle, not wanting to shout to the whole world about her sexuality, but also wanting to feel like she can be with the person she truly loves without judgment. And she even had double the struggle because she's also black. But I just needed MORE. The story wasn't JUST about her relationship with Diane, but it was the major aspect of it. I did like that Jill decided it wasn't fair to feel like she couldn't be open about it in the end, though.

While I at least liked most of these stories, I'm still not a big fan of shorts in general. When you have shorts, you run the risk of not using those pages intentionally. A few of these just didn't work for me. Many of them, I liked, but not much beyond just the fact that they were short and sweet. Like, I'm not a fan of them, but right now the short stories were all I could handle with reading. So, they were a good way to make me feel like I'm reading, even if they didn't give me more than that. But I would still rather much have full stories with lots of character development and TIME for me to fall in love with the characters and romances.

The Highlights:
Leslye Walton's, Y.S. Lee's, Saundra Mitchell's, and Katherine Longshore's. It's funny, because a few these authors are faves of mine (Marissa, Elizabeth, Marie), and yet, the stories I loved the most were from new-to-me authors.
Profile Image for Marina.
912 reviews167 followers
April 16, 2016
I'm very much pleasantly surprised and pleased with this anthology. It is indeed a great collection of historical stories about kick-ass girls set in different states and time periods in the U.S. There is a mix of genres, some are more fantasy, other contemporary, action, adventure, it's just a fantastic mix. I really liked most of the stories, and didn't hate any of them - although a few were subpar. Mostly because they were either too short, or felt more like fragments of bigger stories that just didn't provide enough to satisfy. These authors also don't pull any punches, these aren't cutesy stories about girls finding themselves, most were about girls fighting for survival, doing whatever it takes, losing their loved ones, learning, exploring, and finding out who they are. Quite a few of these made me wish they were full length novels and if any of these authors decide to expand these short stories, I will definitely be checking them out.

Another thing that greatly pleased me was how racially diverse these stories were. We have African-American, Inuit, Chinese, and Mexican girls characters. There were only two stories with lesbian characters though - and I wish there were more. Although - not all of these were about romance and in some, the relationships were between father and daughter, sisters, friends, family. Now that I think about it, I'm surprised there were no mother/daughter focused stories.

Overall, a fantastic anthology, and I definitely recommend checking it out.

Below are short reviews for individual stories, beware mild spoilers:

1. Mother Carey's Table - J. Anderson Coats - 3/5 stars

I liked the premise of this story, but it felt incomplete. I really liked Jo - a runaway slave girl, who pretends to be a boy while sailing on a pirate ship. I feel like I got to know her even in the short amount of pages and I would have liked to know her better. The ending is a bit frustrating though and very bittersweet.

2. The Journey - Marie Lu - 4/5 stars

Set in the Alaskan wilderness, in an Inuit village. I really liked this one, I felt the magic and the uniqueness of the story. I would love a whole novel about Yakone's and her travelling across the ice and snow with her dog team.

3. Madeleine's Choice -Jessica Spotwood - not sure

I really liked the story overall. It's cute one of a black girl who has to chose between two men, one white and the other black. But as the story touches upon the subject of colorism within the black community, which would be fine - except the author is a white woman and it's really not appropriate subject for her to be writing about in my opinion. I'm not saying she's not allowed to write about black characters, but she can't talk about problems within the community, because as a white woman, what the hell does she know about that? So no rating for this story.

4. El Destinos - Leslye Walton - 5/5 stars

A really unique and fascinating story about the three Mythical Fate sisters set in Texas after it's annexation, whom are adopted by a Mexican family. I really loved Walton's writing and her unique spin on the myth of the fates, the ending was rather heartbreaking though.

5. High Stakes - Andrea Cremer - 4.5/5 stars

A really interesting and cool story about supernaturals on the eve of the Civil War as the factions of the different supernatural creatures decide who they're gonna side with in the war. Not sure how I feel about the death of the only black male character, but at least he was avenged in a glorious fashion.

6. A Red Raven Ball - Caroline Tung Richmond - 3/5 stars

I didn't particularly care for this story. It could have been so much more with it's premise of a sociality girl sniffing out a spy at a ball, but it felt dull and inconclusive.

7. Pearls - Beth Revis - 5/5 stars

This was a fantastic story. It was tragic and poignant of a girl taking control of her own life, and it had such a kick-ass ending. Trigger Warning: rape mention.

8. Gold in the Roots of the Grass - Marissa Meyer - 4/5 stars

I liked the story overall, it had an interesting premise. But I'm slightly unsure if I approve of Meyer writing a story with a Chinese character who exploits stereotypes when Meyer herself has been called out on stereotyping Asian culture and orientalism by Asian Americans over her Lunar Chronicles series.

9. The Legendary Garrett Girls - Y.S. Lee - 5/5 stars

Fantastic!! A great story about two sisters who are making a life for themselves and supporting and loving each other, and when someone decides to run their business out of town, they decide to go out on their own terms. The ending definitely made me chuckle .

10. The Color of the Sky - Elizabeth Wein - 5/5 stars

T_T A couple of pages in, I started to get this really ominous feeling that something bad was going to happen and then it did. I sobbed through the story and then for five minutes afterwards. I do wonder why Wein decided to focus on the most tragic part of Bessie Coleman's life - she was the first African-American and Native American female pilot. I can't deny the story was both inspiration and well written - even if it did make me cry.

11. Bonnie and Clyde - Saundra Mitchell - 4/5 stars

This was a very short, but cute story. I would actually love to see it expanded because the premise of a girl bank robber during the Great Depression who gets away with it by pretending to be a boy is kind of amazing. The only thing is that the story felt very short.

12. Hard Times - Katherine Longshore - 4/5

Again, really interesting premise and something I'd love to read in novel form. A story of migrant workers on the rails during Great Depression. It was very touching and interesting, and I even liked the beginning of a romance.

13. City of Angels - Lindsay Smith - 4/5

This story made me ache a little because this is the story of the Riveter girls during WWII, and also story of a girl who discovers who she is. I do with the transition into her realization was a bit smoother and the fact that she's dark skinned was revealed faster. Overall, though, a great story.

14. Pulse of the Panthers - Kekla Magoon - 4/5

The story was great and gave a glimpse in the Civil Rights movement led by the Panthers in the late 60s. The kind of police brutality African-Americans faced. And it jolted me that this is still going on, except of course the Panthers were snuffed out, and now we have the Black Lives Matter movement. Yet, they are fighting the same fight... nearly fifty years later. Which is incredibly heartbreaking.

15. The Whole World is Watching - Robin Talley - 4/5

The story was a bit of a mess of running around, police violence and protest. I suppose it accurately gave the feeling of being at a protest that turns violent. Interesting interracial lesbian relationship.
Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 7 books1,211 followers
January 31, 2016
Each of these 15 stories is a unique look at normal, average girls living through different eras of American history. The bulk of them are historical, while some stories veer into historical fantasy, which readers who think they "don't like" historical fiction will probably dig a lot.

Some resonated more with me than others, but that's par for the course because it's an anthology and because it follows different historical periods; some are just more appealing than others to me. All that said, the inclusivity here is noteworthy (and how I wish it weren't, but it is and it's worth pointing out). I believe there might be more stories from girls of color than white girls, which made it even more fascinating and engaging. These are the stories I am interested in because these are the stories we almost never hear.

I reviewed each of the stories in short form via status updates, but favorites definitely include Beth Revis's, Lindsay Smith's, Katherine Longshore's, YS Lee's, Saundra Mitchell's and Jessica Spotswood's. I guess that's almost half of them. Only a couple didn't hold my attention, but not because they're poorly written. It's because I wasn't the reader for them.

On the fence about this? Pick it up. You can skip around without any issue.
Profile Image for Cynthia.
889 reviews20 followers
June 15, 2018
I forced myself to finish this, and, on the one hand, I'm glad I got to discover 2 authors that I will be checking out. On the other, it was generally a gruesome experience, which I, for some reason, decided to document in detail. So here goes:

- Mother Carey’s Table – ★☆☆☆☆ : a white American woman writing a black girl who has to be overly masculine and then dies. No comment needed.

- The Journey – ★★☆☆☆: a Chinese-American woman writing an Inupiat girl whose parents and village are killed in front of her eyes. I am not in a position to judge of the depiction of that culture, except that some aspects read as awfully western stereotypes to me: the “white man eradicating them in two minutes with little to no resistance”; the almost-communication with animals and spirits; that she is saved by a white man, married to a Native woman, who are “missionaries from across the sea.” None of it need be just that side of wrong and offensive but it sadly was imo. Involuntarily I’m sure. The writing was also dry. But it gets 1 additional star for effort, as more-than-perfunctory Indigenous representation is sadly so lacking.

- Madeleine’s Choice – ★☆☆☆☆: another white American woman writing another black girl. She is in love with a white man, owner of a plantation in Louisiana, who wants to make an offer to her parents, in a time when marriage between a white man and a “black” woman was not not allowed or recognized. Her best friend is the (therefore illegitimate) child of such an union, and is unsubtly petty and vain. The MC is described as “tall, dark, voluptuous” and she knows she’s unattractive to white people for it. Her mother is also a “tall woman, voluptuously built” but has “alabaster skin,” showing how unsubtly the topic of colorism is approached. Add a dash of voodoo because it’s 19th-century New Orleans. (When you consider the author fell in love with the South after visiting plantations, and seems to have based her research on the topic only on the work of white women, the lack of subtlety and the very basic white western characterization make a lot more sense.)

- El Destinos – ★★★☆☆: a white American woman writing a young tejana “monster” (in her own words), one of the three Fates from European mythologies. Of course, obligatory random words in Spanish are sprinkled on top. I found it all a bit overdramatic but somewhat decently written, both in terms of cultural sensibilities and technique.

- High Stakes – ☆☆☆☆☆: a white American woman writing a white supernatural assassin, who finds slavery abhorrent, and is “dear friends” with a freedman who works for her (despite her implying they’re equal partner in work). The mysterious Coven that hires her of course “forbade slaveholding before the colonists decided to declare their independence.” What an open-minded bunch… Almost as if they didn’t see skin color… Especially since they request said dear friend to play her slave in Mississippi for that job they need doing, which she finds of course disgusting, but that he of course refuses to not do, out of loyalty. And then, of course, he has to die, in such an ironical way that only a white person could have wrote it. The writing is basic, the ideas are stereotypical, and the storyline of supernatural factions deciding how to get involved in the US civil war by playing poker is ridiculous and shows how perfunctory the “slavery is bad” sentiment is. The 0-star rating is not a typo.

- The Red Raven Ball – ★☆☆☆☆: a Chinese-American woman writing a white girl. Another revisionist story pretending anti-slavery sentiment from white Northerners just sprung up from/despite an upbringing by rich slave-owner parents. And that collaborators had other incentives than racism and power (or rather fear of losing power). Not that that couldn’t be well done, but it is certainly not here.

- Pearls – ★★☆☆☆: a white American woman writing a white girl who was raped (nothing is shown – tbh, this is the best handled thing in the whole story) and, because she’s educated, can decide for herself that it wasn’t her fault despite what her father and her rapist say, and that she will not be owned by a man anymore and runs away to become a school teacher. The writing and the story are fairly basic, but the respectful and not stereotypical (struggle, hysteria, traumatic flashbacks, etc.) depiction of rape and its aftermath earn an extra star.

- Gold in the Roots of the Grass – ★☆☆☆☆: a white American woman writing a Chinese-American girl who is an almost-“wu-shaman”. She purports respect for the stolen sacred land of the Sioux, which they live on, and says maybe they all deserve to be killed for it, but passively condones a white man ghost calling them “savages” in the next breath. She has a crush on him though so… She, of course, has to die, and stay as a ghost to live happily ever after with her white boy.

- The Legendary Garrett Girls – ★☆☆☆☆: a Chinese-Canadian woman writing a white girl who is overly aggressive, as opposed to her charming beautiful sister, to get respect in a gruff man’s world. They, of course, welcome “Indians” –well one– in they establishment, and defend him against racist white men –well, one. (On a side note, isn’t “Indian-style parka” oxymoronic in their time?) And of course, they were the only ones at first to not mind trading with said indigenous man, who in return taught them his people’s skills and told them his Tlingit name –they’re “the only white people who do.” How about a sprinkle of indigenous clichés and joking whitesplaining between friends too?
“And what will I do with your gold dust? We Tlingit don’t value it.”
“A trader like you? I can’t imagine.”

- The Color of the Sky – ★☆☆☆☆: a white American woman writing a black girl who keeps getting peeved at the casual use of the n-slur by white people (rightfully so), but barely reacts to everything else (it is implied but not shown). And of course, it has to hammer on about how “you make your own luck”, all from the mouth of black people the MC admires. And of course, a black woman has to die (but at least, it’s not the MC, eh?). Not to mention that the white people who helped her “are all colored here. Blue as the sky.”

- Bonnie and Clyde – ★★☆☆☆: a white American woman writing a white girl robin-hooding in men’s clothes, and dating the young man who is charged with her capture. This was okay inasmuch as it was short and straightforward but a little flat.

- Hard Times – ★☆☆☆☆: a white American woman writing a white girl, a “migrant worker.” Mostly, I hated the tone, overly simplistic and reductionist of poverty and homelessness. Not to mention the insta-love.

- City of Angels �� ★☆☆☆☆: a white American woman writing what is implied to be a woman of indigenous descent (which is mentioned once implicitly in passing, and then that she is “dark-skinned” which could mean anything here, so I might be wrong). Other than that, it’s a most stereotypical girl-realizes-she’s-lesbian-when-a-charming-annoying-girl-seduces-her-but-always-meant-it-to-be-“fun” a.k.a. the-seductress-was-a-coward-and-probably-bi.

- Pulse of the Panthers – ★★★☆☆: a black woman writing a black girl from the countryside who starts wanting to be an activist. I liked the writing and the characterization, but wished it didn’t have to involve her crushing on a boy to make her start questioning her quiet life.

- The World is Watching – ★☆☆☆☆: a white American woman writing a closeted anti-Vietnam-war black hippie with a real white best/girlfriend and a fake (though he doesn’t know) white boyfriend. This one was not exactly as superficial and perfunctory as the others, but it was so obviously written by a white woman who thinks she’s such a good ally to black people.
Profile Image for Sam Chase.
687 reviews115 followers
July 10, 2018
Rating: 4 stars

I really enjoyed this little anthology! I love history, and I love historical fiction. One of the best things about this book was the diversity of both the characters and the situations they’re put in. This is truly a wide range of empowered women :)

Mother Carey’s Tale: 4 stars
The Journey: 4 stars
Madeleine’s Story: 4 stars
El Destinos: 3 stars
High Stakes: 3 stars
The Red Raven Ball: 4 stars
Pearls: 5 stars
Gold In the Roots of the Grass: 5 stars
The Legendary Garrett Girls: 3 stars
The Color of the Sky: 3 stars
Bonnie and Clyde: 5 stars
Hard Times: 5 stars
City of Angels: 4 stars
Pulse of the Panthers: 4 stars
The Whole World is Watching: 3 stars
Profile Image for Isabela.
467 reviews67 followers
January 19, 2018
A Tyranny of Petticoats was overall a really good anthology. Who doesn't like to read about historical fiction stories with brave and badass women? I certainly do! I only wish that the stories wouldn't have focused on the United States only.

What I mean is that this book brings a lot of diversity with characters from different races and sexualities, which is great, but I wish we would also have read stories with perspectives of women from different countries. Since I'm not american and not that familiar with US history, I would have probably enjoyed these short-stories more if they were from all around the world.

That being said, my ratings for the individual stories are:

#1 Mother Carey's Table by J. Anderson Coats: 2 stars
#2 The Journey by Marie Lu: 5 stars
#3 Madeleine's Choice by Jessica Spotswood: 4 stars
#4 Lost Destinos by Leslye Walton: 2 stars
#5 High Stakes by Andrea Cremer: 3.5 stars
#6 The Red Raven Ball by Caroline Tung Richmond: 4 stars
#7 Pearls by Beth Revis: 4.5 stars
#8 Gold in the Roots of the Grass by Marissa Meyer: 4 stars
#9 The Legendary Garrett Girls by Y. S. Lee: 5 stars
#10 The Color of the Sky by Elizabeth Wein: 4.5 stars
#11 Bonnie and Clyde by Saundra Mitchell: 4 stars
#12 Hard Times by Katherine Longshore: 3 stars
#13 City of Angels by Lindsay Smith: 4.5 stars
#14 Pulse of the Panthers by Kekla Magoon: 2 stars
#15 The Whole World is Watching by Robin Talley: 4 stars
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