The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy
Felicity Montague wants to be a doctor. She knows she will be a great doctor, but she can't get any of the medical schools to take her on. Supposedly women can't be doctors in the 18th century. So Felicity is giving up on Scotland and heading back to London to try and convince her idol, Dr. Platte, to give her a shot. She stays with Percy and Henry while in London, both are trying to make it on their own without the help or support of family. In fact, Percy and Felicity's father has basically disowned both of them.
Felicity's quest leads her to the wedding of an old friend Johanna who just happens to be marrying Dr. Platte. Felicity is assisted on this quest by Sim, a Muslim pirate she met in London. Sim has ulterior motives for helping her of course. And of course it turns out Dr. Platte is not who he appears to be. So Felicity, Johanna and Sim are off on an adventure to stop him from destroying a precious natural resource and a way of life.
What I adored about this book was the girls. Felicity, Johanna and Sim are all wildly different individuals, but they all have a core of steel. Felicity is determined and won't let anything like male chauvinism stand in her way. She will be a great doctor one day. Johanna is unabashedly a girly girl. She likes pretty dresses and doesn't apologize for it. That doesn't make her weak or helpless though. Sim is the daughter of a pirate captain and believes that she deserves to rule the fleet one day. She is stubborn and a bit ruthless in getting what she wants.
The other thing I loved about this book was that it was not a romance. The girls do not get caught up in romantic feelings for boys or for each other. They do not have time for that kind of nonsense when they are trying to save themselves and the world. In fact, there is a wonderful passage where Felicity and Sim talk about love and romance that truly speaks to strong, independent women.
More than anything this is a story about strong women who become strong friends and who make a difference in the world. Their accomplishments were not diminished by male companions. They triumph on their own because of who they are. They do not stay in their predetermined positions nor do they have to rely on a man to make it in the world. They are ground-breakers who set the pace for those who will follow.