Christina (A Reader of Fictions)'s Reviews > The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee
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it was ok
bookshelves: egalley, series-completed

Soooo I absolutely think Mackenzi's a fashion icon, and, when I've met her in person, she's been absolutely fantastic. I super wanted to love The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, and I was so sure that I would because I did really like The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue and that title is life. Unfortunately, I found this book tedious.

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy does certainly have elements to recommend it, and I am thrilled to see Lee's books be so successful, because I want more historical fiction, particularly QUILTBAG historical titles. My issues are myriad but remember that the book might work for readers who came for historical detail or ace rep specifically, I don't know.

Much as I enjoyed it, I did have problems with The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, and those same issues dog Lady's Guide. Like the first, there's not much of a plot until about the halfway point, and, once the plot appears, the book does an abrupt genre shift from historical to fantasy. Now, I love historical fantasy, but I want my books appropriately marketed; I almost never appreciate an unexpected genre shift, and it certainly didn't help things here.

Gentleman's Guide however remained fun and worthwhile because of Henry's massive personality and the adorableness of the ship with Percy. And I really liked Felicity in that book too. But in Lady's Guide, Felicity's personality felt very flat and dry. Her only character arc in the book is to realize that she judges people for being into material things or wanting to settle down, but it's not particularly emotionally-satisfying. I felt nothing from her, and I didn't care about Joanna or Sim at all either. The only parts of the book that were reasonably entertaining to me were those where Monty and/or Percy made an appearance, but it wasn't often enough to save the book for me. Where's the sparkling firebrand of the first book?

Also, it's a really small thing, but I really hated that Felicity apologized to Callum for her behavior at the end, admitting to having used him. (While she was poor in Stuttgart, he gave her free food and a job in his bakery, until he asked her to marry him and she rejected him.) If he freely offered her things with the expectation of getting something from her in the end, that's his own problem. He's a disgusting creep, and I hate that he doesn't get called out for that in the narrative.

I'm a character reader, which means that if I'm not invested in the cast, I'm bored out of my skull. I would have DNFed except that I had such expectations of things turning around. Readers with different priorities absolutely may still love this book. Or, you may connect with Felicity in a way that I didn't. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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Reading Progress

June 16, 2017 – Shelved
June 16, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
July 5, 2018 – Shelved as: egalley
August 20, 2018 – Started Reading
September 4, 2018 – Finished Reading
September 5, 2018 – Shelved as: series-completed

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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message 1: by Greg (new) - rated it 1 star

Greg Hi Christina, I'm looking for honest reviews talking about the pros and cons (and there are cons in all books). Like you, I very much enjoyed "Gentlemen's Guide" and thought Felicity a great character: she saved the day, about everyday, in that book. Here, it felt like a different author at work. I finished it only to see how stupendous it could get. And, yes, the last 100 pages are stupendously silly. AND, ABSOLUTELY, Felecity said no to Callum, end of story, no apology necessary. AND SHE ABSOLUTELY wouldn't apologize. But she does for ONE reason: the next installment. She'll go back to Callum, do something stupid like settle down, a silly ending in the vein of the sensational, strong Jane Eyre returning to Rochester, the man who lied and lied and betrayed her.

Christina (A Reader of Fictions) Man, I really hope that theory is wrong; I don't think she would go back to him, so I found it generally puzzling. I loathed Callum, though you do have a point in that I also abhor Rochester.

Mostly I wanted more vibrancy from this book, and I wish like hell this series had been straight up historical rather than watered down historical fantasy, especially since they never marketed the fantasy element.

message 3: by Greg (new) - rated it 1 star

Greg Christina (A Reader of Fictions) wrote: "Man, I really hope that theory is wrong; I don't think she would go back to him, so I found it generally puzzling. I loathed Callum, though you do have a point in that I also abhor Rochester.


OMG!! You abhor Rochester also! After Jane represents this fantastic, strong, independent life, she bows to Rochester. No, not at any point in history would a character like Jane give up everything she was for trash. And after reading 'wide sargasso sea', proving furthermore that Rochester was a really terrible person, that only enforced my opinion. Still, Jane Eyre gave us every gothic romance for the past couple hundred years, including some great ones from Victoria Holt and Phyllis A. Whitney, not to mention Cornell Woolrich's sensational "I Married a Dead Woman", perhaps THE great gothrom of the 20th century! If you haven't read it, do. AWESOMELY creepy, and it gives every soap opera from the 50s to today the blueprint for gothic soap.

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