"It's only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away." —Bee Gees
I must admit I only bought this because I wanted the bonus novella which came with the pre-order and centers around Monty and Percy, the central characters of The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue which is the previous novel in this series. This time the focus is on Monty's sister Felicity, and while both siblings have their own shortcomings, Felicity is a prickly personality who just doesn't have Monty's special charm of being simultaneously ridiculous and ridiculously endearing. I perked up when Monty surprisingly appears again near the end of the novel, as I only expected him and Percy to feature at the beginning.
I did like the feminist theme of the book—it's not often that I read a YA feminist historical adventure novel with elements of fantasy—and how it explores women's struggles for a fulfilling life and work during the eighteenth century. I especially liked Felicity's childhood friend Johanna and her character's message that just because she likes pretty dresses and make up and parties, it doesn't mean she's frivolous or shouldn't be taken seriously or can't be smart and confident and accomplished at the same time.
One thing that bugged me though was the author consistently mistaking 'treaties' for 'treatise' throughout the book. So we have Felicity reading 'treaties' to learn about medicine and wanting to write her own 'treaty', when she's referring to a written exposition rather than an agreement.