Happy Book Birthday to The Lady’s Guide by Makenzi Lee!
The Lady’s Guide was even more awesome than Lee’s last book! Felicity Montague has been living in Edinburgh with her baker friend, Callum. Unfortunately for her, he proposes, giving her an ultimatum of accepting his proposal or moving out of the house. Her dreams don’t include a man, but rather an education in medicine so she can become a physician. In a fit of anxiety, Felicity runs away to London to apply at new medical schools, when she hears that her ex-friend Johanna Hoffman is getting married to her dream physician Alexander Platt. She worms her way into the wedding party just before a chain of events starts snowballing, and she finds herself in the company of a pirate searching for Johanna and attempting to uncover some scientific discoveries that will help her make her name in the world…
I’m amazed at the depth of character with which Lee approaches Felicity’s character in particular, but also the other characters in this book. This is my ideal feminist story. Felicity is schooled about the ways in which her feminism needs some readjusting, and fortunately she is able to accept that knowledge and adjust her views to be more accepting and inclusive. Her friends are a pretty diverse cast of characters, and Felicity definitely makes some mistakes in regards to how she treats them, but again, she is able to learn from her mistakes and make amends with her friends.
Felicity’s anxiety throughout the book is apparent, as she develops healthy and unhealthy coping skills to help herself through uncomfortable situations. Originally, when preparing to approach the board of the university to propose her attendance at medical school, Felicity writes herself a list, on which she writes something along the lines of “I deserve to take up space in this world.” This really stood out to me, because often growing up female it feels as though we do not deserve to take up space or deserve to have our dreams fulfilled. Another of my favorite scenes is when she’s at a party she no longer wishes to attend, and spills wine down her dress to get out of it. Instead of just a few drops, the entire glass spills, and the sweet wine entices the giant fluffy dog to jump on her, which results in pastries flying everywhere! Truly a remarkable exit that does not help her fly under the radar whatsoever.
An international pirate expedition is a wonderful premise, and Lee builds her world beautifully. There are far more exciting action scenes in this novel, and all of them felt fitting and well timed. These action scenes, including a robbery and fight in the basement of a science museum, help propel the story forward and kept me on the edge of my seat while reading.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review via Katherine Tegen Books and Edelweiss.