”With a chunk of his finger missing, Callum is the most interesting he has ever been to me.”
Well, that sentence certainly got my attention and my first reaction was: RUN, FELICITY, RUN!!! *lol* Because let’s face it, if that’s the only thing that’s attractive about your partner you better leg it and don’t look back. XD Which is exactly what Felicity did and I was so proud of her. XD
I’m getting ahead of myself here though so let’s start with my thoughts after reading this book: Zounds, this was great! ❤ And after thinking about it for two weeks I still stand by it. ;-P This book was so very different than “The Gentleman’s Guide” but I loved it nevertheless! I guess that’s mostly due to the fact that Monty and Felicity are such different characters but also due to the topics that were tackled and the time in which those books play in.
As a girl Felicity had to face completely different challenges than her brother and it was so amazing to follow her journey to herself. Also can we please note that I still think that Sim, Johanna and Felicity should have started a pirate girl gang!? They would have been awesome and the bane of every male pirate’s existence! *lol* Or, well, of every man’s existence in general! ;-P
This said: There’s nothing better than a book full of strong women that know exactly what they want and how to fight for it. ❤ And now, let’s finally head to my character section so I can gush some more! 😉
You may board this ship but be aware that my crew is kinda rough. Their manners leave much to be desired and they can be quite rude throwing spoilers at your feet! Landlubbers ye be warned! ;-P
”I was sorry that my great plan hadn’t worked out. Sorry I was here relying on my brother’s Christian charity – what little he had to spare – because my plan for my future had lost its footing at every mile marker. Because I was born a girl but too stubborn to accept the lot that came with my sex.”
Felicity is such a great character and every time she was so down I wanted to tell her that she’s perfect just the way she is! I could relate to her hunger for knowledge and the curiosity that comes along with it and to some degree I even found myself in her. I’ve always been fascinated by nature and the human body as well, and for a very long time I actually wanted to become a surgeon or marine biologist. If you would have asked 5 – 15 year old Gin about her future job, she certainly would have given you that answer. *lol* Unfortunately life caught up with me when I got older and I realized that I could become neither of those two. >_< Well, anyway! I could understand Felicity and her desire to be a part of this world. To be more than what all those men saw in her and to remodel and reshape their world into a better place! There was so much she could give and those biased men just didn’t want to see it! *grrr* Still, she eventually tried to work with the tools she had at hand and if you ask me she did a marvellous job of it! ❤
”Half my heart is this hunger. My being is constructed by an aching to know the answers to every mystery of the frail ligaments that connected us to life and death. That wanting feels a part of me. It has seeped into my skin like mercury injected into a vein to trace its shape through the body. One drop colored my whole being. It is the only way I can see myself.”
”This work is mine. If it is selfish to want, then selfishness shall be my weapon. I will fight for everything that cannot fight for itself. Block the wind and keep away the wolves and put supper on the table. I am suddenly swollen with more than wanting to be known – I want to know.”
”I’m not telling you how you feel, I’m telling you how you make me feel. I felt so silly for so long because of you. But I like dressing this way.” She spreads her arms. “I like curling my hair and twirling in skirts with ruffles, and I like how Max looks with that big pink bow on. And that doesn’t mean I’m not still smart and capable and strong.”
At first I didn’t know what Felicity saw in her but the more I got to know her, the better I understood why Johanna acted the way she did. Johanna loves to be a woman and she embraces everything that comes along with it, yet she doesn’t want to be defined by her choice of clothes. She’s basically the embodiment of beauty and brains! Unfortunately the men in her vicinity only wanted to see her as a docile girl and didn’t appreciate her intelligence. So you might say that Felicity and Johanna faced exactly the same problems because they didn’t fit in the common mold of their time. Johanna wanted to get noticed for her intelligence and not only for her love for frilly dresses. Much to her chagrin people apparently couldn’t be bothered to see beyond her clothing style though. Poor girl!! >_< Despite everything she still didn’t let anyone get her down though, and that makes her a very strong woman and a truly amazing character! ❤
”That’s the lie of it all. You have to be better to prove yourself worthy of being equal.”
Aww how I felt with Sim! She’s the third girl in the gang and even though she’s kind of a pirate princess she still has to deal with the same problems Felicty and Johanna had to deal with. Her father didn’t see beyond her being a girl and even though she would have deserved to be his heir her brother would have taken over if anything would have happened to him. Which is so unfair! Because just like Sim said: As a woman she always had to be better than her brothers in order to prove that she was as qualified as them. I loved that Mackenzi addressed that topic because I think that despite all the decades that are between Felicity’s time and ours this still holds true for many of us. >_<
”I’m sorry your father doesn’t see it.”
“See what?” She raises her eyes to mine, and we trade a look that feels like a dare.
“How bloody brilliant you are,” I say.
”I’m a little disappointed it isn’t blood your dress is covered in. I would quite like to see a lady surgeon at her post.”
What a SLIMEBALL!!! I hated Platt with a fierce passion and his character stands for everything that is wrong in their time. He likes intelligent women? My ass! I would have loved to throw that man into the sea and to watch what the dragons would do to him! *lol* Heaven knows he would have deserved it! Such a conniving, opportunistic, misogynistic and disgusting person! *throws darts at a picture of Platt* XD
Felicity & Monty:
”I’ve missed you. Both of you.” I can hear the soft smile in his voice when he replies, “I won’t tell Monty.”
Haha! Their relationship is still everything! I love them! <333 They’d never admit that they care about each other but when push comes to shove they’ll always have each other’s back! The two are such realistic siblings I can’t even! Mackenzi clearly outdid herself with this sibling rep and I can’t emphasise enough how much I love her for writing them this way! I’m sure many people who have siblings can relate to that and I’m definitely one of them. XD Also Monty and Percy are still so precious!!! I want to hug them for eternity! ❤
”Do you want me to marry Mr. Doyle because you think I need a man to protect me? Or complete me? I’ll pass on that, thank you very much.”
“No,” he says. “I just wish you had someone cheering for you all the time, because you deserve it.”
Monty points at me. “That one’s got a squint like she reads too many books.”
I shall break into a thousand pieces with the effort it requires not to roll my eyes at him. He’s taking such great pleasure in his clandestine crowing that he’s going to give us both away.
Felicity & Johanna:
When she looks at me, I am disarmed. “Well then,” she says, and I don’t know how I shall survive these next few days without drowning in her. “Lucky you’re not me.”
Well, those two had a lot of issues to work through but I’m glad they never gave up and actually worked on their relationship! It’s obvious that Felicity apparently feels more than just friendship for Johanna but she never acted on it which is okay the way it is. I mean as far as I could tell Johanna is straight and Felicity seems to be a biromantic asexual? (Just a guess here… I can’t say for sure.) So this ship never would have sailed anyway.*lol* They have a more than just wonderful friendship though and if you ask me this is even more perfect than any relationship would have ever been. XD Gosh, I just loved those two! <333
”How is it, I wonder, that the brain and the heart can be so at odds and yet have such a profound effect upon the functions of the other?”
”I’m so pathetic,” she says, and I can’t tell if she’s laughing or crying. “I’m soft and selfish and sentimental.”
“You’re nothing of the sort, Johanna Hoffmann,” I reply. “You are a shield and spear to all the things you love. I’m glad to be among them.”
Felicity & Sim:
”And I’m not a crocodile. If I am to be an animal, I would like to be a fox.”
“Well then, foxy.” She whips the cloak off from around my shoulders, then smooths the collar of my dress, her hands lingering on my breastbone. “You’ve only got one chance at this, so make it count.”
And now we come to the ship that might or might have not sailed. *lol* I admit it: I wish it would have sailed full force, but I understand and respect why it didn’t. Sim was crushing really hard on Felicity which she never hid and openly admitted and Felicity had feelings for Sim too. So I really dunno if they became a couple in the end but I’m sure if they did it would have been on equal terms. Sim tried to understand Felicity and was very curious about her being ace/aro and I’m convinced that she would have never pushed her to do anything she didn’t want to do. Though I’m also certain that Sim probably would have wanted more out of a relationship with Felicity. I mean she kissed her so there’s that… I guess we’ll never know what happened in the end. Or, well, we eventually might. *lol* There will be a third book after all! ;-P
”Or maybe I would be a flower. But a really tough flower.”
“A wildflower,” Sim says. “The kind that are strong enough to stand against wind, rare and difficult to find and impossible to forget. Something men walk continents for a glimpse of.”
”That oil slick of a smile spreads over her lips, and I want to touch a candle to it and watch her smolder, this dangerous, gorgeous, wildfire of a woman.”
”And would we be happy?” I ask.
“Ecstatic,” she replies.
The feminism & diversity:
”You deserve to be here. You deserve to exist. You deserve to take up space in this world of men.”
Ohh the feminism was strong in this one and I LOVED it! It was so amazing to see how those three girls took their fates in their own hands! <333 They might have had doubts and there were a lot of obstacles in their way but in the end they always continued to fight! Also, Felicity telling off that guy at the reception was one of my fave things ever! *lol* Way to go, girl! XD And can we please note the diversity in here as well?! I mean we have Johanna who’s a feminist even though she loves to dress up and has mastered the art of using make-up! We have Felicity who doesn’t give a damn about her clothes, is ace/aro and can gush about medical theories like a pro and we have Sim who’s a queer muslim pirate princess! (I say queer because I don’t know if she’s the L, B or Q in the LGBTQ+ spectrum. She might be pan, it’s never mentioned so I can only guess.) So THIS was everything!!! <333
”I have as much claim to this world as anyone else. No one will offer Johanna and me permission to make this work ours, to take up her mother’s maps and follow their headings to the horizon’s edge, where the sea and the sky smoke together. First of our name, first of our kind.”
”Really? First girls, and then young lady? That’s how you feel it is appropriate to refer to us? Like children?”
“Your current comportment is excessively so,” he replies.
“And your current comportment doesn’t give me much reason to believe your brain is your best asset,” I reply.
The ace/aro rep:
”I want friends,” I say. “Good friends, that make up a different kind of family.”
“That sounds lonely.”
“It wouldn’t be lonely,” I reply. “I’d like to be on my own, but not alone.”
I think the ace/aro rep was really great in this one but since I’m not ace/aro you’ll have to take my words and opinion with a pinch of salt. The way it was described, it just felt like I understood what Felicity was trying to put into words. Like she loves her family and friends deeply but she has no desire to get physical with them. For instance she doesn’t like hugs (I’m such a hugger! *lol*) and her kiss with Sim was okay but not as earth shattering as it might have been for people with another sexual orientation?! Does that make sense? If you’re ace/aro and read this please correct me if I’m wrong. XD Ultimately the rep was done in a way I could grasp, it made being ace/aro more tangible for me and so I think it was done well. =)
”Did that work any sort of magic?”
“That’s a shame.” She settles back into our little nest of cloaks, pulling the collar higher around her face. “It worked for me.”
What’s not to love about this book? From the reps to feminism, from the strong girl gang that took on every obstacle that was placed in their way up to the mystery of the dragons and the conflicts that were dealt with this was a more than just amazing journey to read! Mackenzi Lee took all those different topics and mashed them together into one huge book! And if you ask me she did it masterly! If you like crafty, strong and stubborn women that don’t take any s*it from anyone, do their thing and go their own way “The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy” might be the perfect tale for you. ;-P
”I’m learning there is no one way for life to be lived, no one way to be strong or brave or kind or good. Rather there are many people doing the best they can with the heart they are given and the hand they are dealt. Our best is all we can do, and all we can hold to is each other.
And, zounds, that is more than enough.”