Felicity Montague must use all her womanly wits and wiles to achieve her dreams of becoming a doctor—even if she has to scheme her way across Europe to do it.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue was easily one of my favorite reads from last year and is still up there as being one of my favorite books. And if you want to check out that review you can go here, but this is the sequel.
I do want to say, that I don’t think you NEED to read the first one to read this. Events from the first one are mentioned and characters are reintroduced. However, I highly recommend it.
Set after the events of the first book, Felicity Montague is trying to set her place in history as a woman doctor. She doesn’t want to be a nurse or a midwife but a surgeon. She’s studied, read, and worked on patients herself, but during this time of the eighteenth century, no one else will see her that way.
I do want to point out that the author, Mackenzi Lee, said that Felicity is not a special “ahead of her times” character. There was plenty of woman like Felicity who existed in history and there is plenty of woman like her in the book as well.
After being denied by countless hospitals and universities to study, Felicity takes matters into her own hands and sets out on a trek to meet one her favorite physicians, Alexander Platt, in the hopes of becoming his research assistant.
However, what starts out as a small journey to her ex-friend Johanna’s wedding, her soon-to-be-husband is Alexander Platt himself, turns into an adventure to find sea monsters while discovering more about herself and what she can do.
You Are Felicity Montague
Felicity was more of a secondary character in the first book, and I remembered her having medical knowledge and not wanting anything to do with romantic relationships, and that is expanded throughout this book. Felicity likes to describe herself as a cactus or wildflower: get too close and she’ll prick you.
She doesn’t let anyone put her down, even the countless men that tell her to shut up and give up her dreams. Much of her personality clashes (in a good way) with Johanna Hoffman, who was once Felicity’s best friend. When they reunite, it’s pretty easy to see why they got along so well: Felicity wanted to be a doctor and Johanna an explorer.
Another character goes by the name of Sim, the daughter of a pirate who gives Felicity the opportunity to travel and find Alexander Platt as she looks for something Johanna’s family has that is hers.
Putting the three together shouldn’t make sense, but all have been turned down just because of their gender, and that’s enough of a spark to create the wildfire they become.
Adventure to the End of the World
In some aspects, this book mimics the first: an original trip turns into something much bigger that takes the characters further than they expected. This isn’t something I’m complaining about, but just similar. The beginning sets up Felicity, who she wants to be, and how far she’ll go to get there. Like the first, the main action that sets her off on her adventure doesn’t happen right away.
For those wondering, yes Henry and Percy are in the book. I went in thinking they would make a small cameo in the beginning or at the end, but they do play a big role and show up numerous times. As much as I like Felicity on her own, when she’s around her brother, it does bring more humor in. It’s nice to see them so close, especially since they weren’t in the first book.
When it comes to comparing the two, I still may like the first more, but that doesn’t diminish this at all. It’s still a great read with real, strong female characters living in a time that doesn’t want them to be just that.
One of my favorite parts is when they dive more into Felicity’s sexuality, or, lack thereof. It’s briefly mentioned in the first book when she has to kiss someone, and I just thought, being her age, she wasn’t interested, but I’m glad that continued into this one.
If you enjoyed the first book, no doubt you’ll love this one. It’s great seeing old characters come in but the new ones are just as interesting. Felicity may be ready for a change, but she still has her mind set in old ways, and even she has to do some exploring and open herself to others and their ways of life, specifically with Johanna and Sim.
And I’ll end this with one my favorite quotes that sum up the book perfectly:
“Everyone has heard stories of women like us—cautionary tales, morality plays, warnings of what will befall you if you are a girl too wild for the world, a girl who asks too many questions or wants too much. If you set off into the world alone. Everyone has heard stories of women like us, and now we will make more of them.”