I think I am in the minority in liking the first book in this series better. I just liked Monty as a narrator so much, whereas everyone else (even several people who didn’t like the first book at all) have really liked this one, and Felicity, better. And she is awesome, no doubt.
This series overall is really fun, but I had the same problems with this one that I did the first one, but times about a thousand.
It’s about a year after the events of Gentleman’s Guide, and Felicity is living in Edinburgh, trying to get admitted to medical school. Any medical school at this point, but she’s in Edinburgh in particular because of men like Joseph Bell (the inspiration behind the character of Sherlock Holmes) and Alexander Platt, a doctor who is pioneering new techniques of medicine. No one will admit her, no one will even listen to her once they find out she’s a woman. She ends up in London bunking with Percy and Monty, and after once again being turned down by a committee of men, on a slim recommendation from one of the doctors who felt sorry for her, goes on a harebrained cross country journey to track down Alexander Platt and ask to work for him. It just so happens he’s getting married to one of Felicity’s childhood friend, Johanna Hoffman, so she has an in. Only, she’ll have to mend fences with Joanna once she gets there. (The way they do this is one of the best parts of the book, lots of discussion about female friendship, and Felicity being confronted with her own flawed thinking about femininity and intelligence.)
(Felicity is pretty obviously asexual, and I really, really enjoyed watching her navigate everything while everyone’s basic expectations for what a woman’s life and value are supposed to look like do not resonate with her at all.)
They end up on a bit of a swashbuckling adventure with a Muslim girl named Sim, and that part was great! But again, I just thought the fantastical elements of this book (like the last one) were too much for the tone of the rest of it. I really would have liked to have seen a version of this book and the first that didn’t have that stuff in there, and this is coming from someone who loves fantasy, the more the merrier. I guess I just liked the idea of these books, historical adventure fiction featuring characters who don’t normally get featured in those types of books (gay, bisexual, asexual, Muslim, characters with disabilities and chronic illnesses, etc.), and I didn’t feel it needed the other stuff. I don’t know, I guess I can’t really explain it, and I’m the only person I’ve seen with this complaint, so ‾\_(ツ)_/‾
I don’t know if there is going to be another book in this series, but I’m in if there is, and if not, there’s always re-reading.