Novel Notes: The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

Hello there, YA classified novel with romance themes I connected with on a soulular level. Wow… such things do exist in today’s world. I’m truly speechless after reading this epic masterpiece. I just can’t describe how much I love this book and its lovingly sarcastic asexual shero, Felicity Montague. But I really want to get a review of this book written so I’m going to try to express my glee in a somewhat coherent fashion. Ahem.

To start the words rolling, let’s go with one of my favourite quotes:

“It didn’t make me hear violins or go weak in the knees or want to do any more than that, which I think is the evolutionary point of the kiss. It’s just a thing people do.”

And that gem came after the second kiss that just sort of happened to Felicity. No spoilers, but I’ll say man nor woman can spark that sexual desire thing in Felicity, and that’s okay with her… mostly. She internally struggles with feeling alone in the romance area throughout the story, and girl, I know exactly how you feel. The next lines really got to me, man…

I feel strange suddenly, the old itch of fear that I am a feral girl in a domesticated world, watched by everyone with pity and concern. There are men like Monty, with perverse desires, but they find each other and carve out small corners of the world, and likely women too who find themselves only drawn to the fairer sex. And then there’s me, an island all my own. An island that sometimes feels like a whole continent to rule, and sometimes a cramped spit of land that sailors are marooned upon and left to die.

The author’s fictional 18th century world has surprisingly modern themes when it comes to that love thing! And, unsurprisingly, there are also heartless antiquated opinions on love and life for the characters to deal with. For example, I loved the pairing of Monty (Felicity’s bro) and his boy Percy, the stars of the first book: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (I haven’t read it yet). To Felicity’s annoyance, Monty is often very, um, vocal about what him and his boyfriend like get up to in private. She remarks how if you take away the “blasphemy” aspect of Monty and Percy’s relationship, it confuses her no differently than straight relationships do.

Felicity’s asexuality is just a minor part of the story and her character. In fact, the author never actually mentions the word asexual anywhere. I’ve only been going on about it A LOT because I feel so freaking isolated and alone in this world sometimes (maybe a lot). I can’t describe how awesome it was to connect with this badass character’s romantic struggles, let me tell you. So yes, Felicity’s social isolation is a minor issue. The primary demon she has to face is oppression from insecure alpha males.

Women seriously can’t catch a break in this world. They must be prim and proper, not adventurous or “hysterical”. Felicity doesn’t care! She wants nothing more than to be a doctor, even if certain privileged men refuse to let women into medical colleges. Felicity feels like becoming a doctor is her sole purpose in life. She just won’t quit no matter how many stupid roadblocks are in her way. And damn, she proves to both herself and the world that she can handle the profession, demonstrating her self-taught lifesaving skills on several occasions.

Felicity’s quest to become a doctor takes her all over the map in an overall over-the-top adventure. She travels with cool companions, deals with pirates, and stumbles upon dragons. The important message at the heart of all that entertaining chaos is to never give up on your dreams. Be you, even if the entire world wants you to be someone else.

Yep. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to sail off into the sunset with your sassy best friends by your side. Sexual relationships don’t have to be mandatory for everyone.

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