The last (not even) 30 days of my life have been bonkers- like I would not be upset if you did not believe me when I say all of the following things have occurred since May 29th:
- I got in a horrific car accident. I walked away unharmed despite the airbags in my totaled car failing to deploy.
- My husband and I are in the process of buying and selling houses which is wonderful. We just found a (dream) house faster than planned which meant we had to scramble to get our house ready but we are currently undergoing the inspection/ option period after accepting a great offer yesterday.
- My father in law (who had a perforated gallbladder removed at the beginning of May) had a triple bypass on the Friday before Father’s day.
- My husband, who I am buying a house with, and I had our checking accounts emptied a week ago- we got our money back but we had to have our bank write a letter to our potential mortgage company to explain we didn’t just open a new bank account and transfer a large sum of money for shits and giggles. This was after we had to give them my accident report to explain why we bought a new car the week before we put an offer on a new house.
- This past weekend my best friend in the world had her bachelorette party in Michigan (I am in Texas) which meant I spent three days out of town while my poor husband shuffled our dogs around while our house was being shown. This I minded less because, well, it was fun but having two flights at two different airports through two separate airlines cancelled on my way home last night was less fun.
This is a very long winded way (and badkitty can probably think of more things that the black cloud following me around has done) of me saying I AM SORRY I AM SO BEHIND. I know y’all don’t care, especially those of you who follow me on Twitter, but I hate committing to something and not following through. Plus I love this community and while I have been reading a lot through all this craziness (audio books for the win) I have missed reading and writing reviews on here.
Let’s see if I remember how to do this!
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Henry “Monty” Montague is a British bisexual who is heir to his family’s land and fortune; he embarks on a tour of Europe with his sister and his best friend, whom he is in love with. While on the tour Monty gets into a bit of trouble when he steals something from a French aristocrat and the trio is separated from their chaperone when their carriage is held up by people trying to retrieve it. The story becomes a bit of a goose chase as the Montague siblings and Percy make their way to Spain to get answers about the mysterious object of so many people’s affections.
Percy looks sideways at me. “Oh no what?”
I swallow. “I’d first like it to be noted that I am most certainly not a smuggler.”
“Monty…” he says, my name sopping with dread.
“And,” I continue overtop him, “I’d like you to both remember just how much you adore me and how dull and gloomy your lives would be without me in them.”
“What did you do?”
There is a bit of a magical realism throughout the novel that I was not initially expecting but it works in its own way- I just wasn’t expecting it but I also don’t want to spoil it. Lee is vague about when exactly her story takes place although it is established that it is sometime in the 1700s which makes the overt bisexual character in love with a half Black man a bit of a stretch. However, all three main character are enjoyable and with all the other unbelievable plot points who really cares if someone would be mostly open about being LGBTQ in the 18th century?
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy
The 2018 follow up to Gentleman’s Guide follows Felicity Montague who, following the adventures of the previous novel, is trying to convince a medical school to allow her admission to study. When she hears an old friend is marrying one of her medical heroes she inserts herself into the wedding festivities with the aid of a female pirate with a hidden connection to the bride to be. I enjoyed Felicity and her character arc in Gentleman’s Guide so it was nice to see her spread her wings with her own story, although the boys do make an appearance.
“Because women don’t have to be men’s equals to be considered contenders; they have to be better. That’s the lie of it all. You have to be better to prove yourself worthy of being equal.”
This go around the magical realism aspect of the story was less of a shock or perhaps I was more receptive to the fantastical plot because I was expecting a magical twist this time. Strong female characters are popular in historical fiction even if they weren’t very popular in real life so I appreciate what Lee is doing here by shining the spot light on Monty’s younger sister instead of continuing the story through Monty’s point of view. There are actually three strong female characters- Felicity, her pirate cohort Sim and surprisingly to her & the reader our bride to be Johanna.
“No one calls a girl spirited or opinionated or intimidating or any of those words you can pretend are complimentary and means it to be. They’re all just different ways of calling her a bitch.”
I look forward to the inevitable threequel focusing on Percy or one of the ladies from Lady’s Guide but would be equally happy to keep seeing the unique take on the Enlightenment Period through the Montague sibling’s eyes.