A year after an accidentally whirlwind grand tour with her brother Monty, Felicity Montague has returned to England with two goals in mind—avoid the marriage proposal of a lovestruck suitor from Edinburgh and enroll in medical school. However, her intellect and passion will never be enough in the eyes of the administrators, who see men as the sole guardians of science.
But then a window of opportunity opens—a doctor she idolizes is marrying an old friend of hers in Germany. Felicity believes if she could meet this man he could change her future, but she has no money of her own to make the trip. Luckily, a mysterious young woman is willing to pay Felicity’s way, so long as she’s allowed to travel with Felicity disguised as her maid.
Historical Fiction – Young Adult – LGBTQ
You might remember that earlier this year, I read and loved The Gentleman’s Guide de Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. Needless to say, I was pretty pumped about this spin-off/sequel. Especially since this one centers on Felicity who was my favorite character in the first book.
To quickly sum up my thoughts on this book, I’d say it’s a breath of fresh air. It’s well-written, entertaining and funny. It’s quite different from my usual reads and I loved that about it. I also enjoyed being reunited with this cast of characters. They are all very endearing and it was nice to catch up with them.
The things that I love most about this book are all the messages behind it. Overall this series is all about acceptance, and it deals with topics like LGBTQ discrimination, racism, feminism and the fight against patriarchy. If The Gentleman’s Guide was centered around Monty’s sexuality and Percy’s struggle with sickness and racism. The Lady’s Guide is focused on Felicity and thus carries a very strong feminist message.
“Because women don’t have to be men’s equals to be considered contenders; they have to be better. That’s the lie of it all. You have to be better to prove yourself worthy of being equal.”
I love Felicity for how she stands up to herself and against the patriarchy. I loved that she’s a fighter and, as always, I’m a sucker for witty characters. However, there were times when she clearly hit on my nerves… She’s very judgemental and stubborn. Making her flawed was definitely something Mackenzi Lee did on purpose, and it allowed for some much-needed character growth. But daaaamn she was annoying at times!
As for the plot, it started out pretty slow and it took me a while to get involved. However, the second half was clearly stronger and much more captivating. I was listening to the audiobook (as I had done for book one), and it was a quality narration that I really liked. I still prefer The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, but I’m really glad I picked up this one as well.
In conclusion, if you haven’t yet, give this series a try… You’ll embark on a crazy journey and have lots of fun along the way.