Book Review: A Tyranny of Petticoats, Edited by Jessica Spotswood | ALL THE BADASS GIRLS

Book Review- (2)

Title: A Tyranny of Petticoats: 15 Stories of Belles, Bank Robbers, and Other Badass Girls

Author: Various. Anthology. Edited by Jessica Spotswood



Part of a Series: No

Links: Goodreads

Synopsis: Criss-cross America — on dogsleds and ships, stagecoaches and trains — from pirate ships off the coast of the Carolinas to the peace, love, and protests of 1960s Chicago. Join fifteen of today’s most talented writers of young adult literature on a thrill ride through history with American girls charting their own course. They are monsters and mediums, bodyguards and barkeeps, screenwriters and schoolteachers, heiresses and hobos. They’re making their own way in often-hostile lands, using every weapon in their arsenals, facing down murderers and marriage proposals. And they all have a story to tell.

I don’t read a whole lot of anthologies, mostly because they typically only contain stories by one or two authors that I like, and one or two authors out of 10+ tend not to be enough to warrant spending $20 on it, especially since there are so many other books I want to read. If I do read them, it tends either because A) I got an ARC, or B) because I placed a hold on it at the library.

But the idea behind this anthology is such a fantastic one that I actually bought it. It’s about girls from history. From like 1720-ish to 1968, they’re short stories all about badass historical girls.

And I’ve actually had this since it came out…I want to say February of last year? And it’s about time I actually reviewed it. Plus, it’s Women’s History Month, so it’s the perfect time to do so.

”Mother Carey’s Table” by J. Anderson Coats | 1710 | 3/5 stars

This is the first story in the book, and it’s by an author I’d never even heard of before, so I went in hesitantly. It was actually a pretty solid start the book- telling the story of a runaway slave who poses as a boy on a pirate ship. The magical realism element was lovely, although it kind of felt like it was one chapter from a much larger book.

”The Journey” by Marie Lu | 1723 | 2/5 stars

Typically I really enjoy Marie Lu’s writing style, but the shortness of this made it feel a bit…cramped, I guess, and I didn’t really have any emotional reaction to it. And, really, everything felt rushed. It might not be the best idea to try and fit an entire journey into 15 or so pages.

“Madeleine’s Choice” by Jessica Spotswood | 1826 | 2/5 stars

For a book that claims to be super feminist, this felt kind of…anti-feminist. And vaguely racist.

”El Destinos” by Lesley Walton | 1848 | 5/5 stars

Lesley Walton has a gorgeous writing style that’s clearly meant for short stories. The writing style of Ava Lavender was great but couldn’t really save a lackluster plot, but this…this showcases the writing style without dragging it on too long. Amazing. Plus, some super awesome magical realism stuff going on here.

”High Stakes” by Andrea Cremer | 1861 | 2/5 stars

I mean, yay for the supernatural element, but I found this massively confusing and and like it doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the book.

”The Red Raven Ball” by Caroline Tung Richmond | 1862 | 5/5 stars

This one was super fun! All swooshy dresses and drama and entertaining characters.

”Pearls” by Beth Revis | 1876 | 5/5 stars

After this story I actually had to to take a break because I had a physical reaction to it. It’s about a girl who escapes a forced marriage to the man who raped her to become a teacher. It’s so, so painfully unfair and horrible and you find yourself aching for the MC.

‘Gold in the Roots of the Grass” by Marissa Meyer | 1877 | 4/5 stars

You know that anything Marissa Meyer writes is going to be entertaining, and this one is no exception. It didn’t have the typical fantastic-ness that is normally everything Marissa Meyer writes, but I think it has more to do with the shortness of it than the actual writing.

‘The Legendary Garrett Girls” by Y.S. Lee | 1898 | 5/5 stars

I really liked this one! It’s about two sisters who run a bar (saloon? I forgot what it was called in the story. Oops), and a conman tries to to take the bar over. They’re not going to let him. It felt very wild west, even though it took place in Alaska, which is not the wild west.

”The Color of the Sky” by Elizabeth Wein | 1926 | 5/5 stars

You know anything Elizabeth Wein writes is going to rip your heart out (and then possibly stomp on it for good measure), and this story was no exception. And I feel like it was based on a true story? I mean, I know everything with Bessie Coleman was true, but I think the other stuff MIGHT be based on a true story, too.

”Bonnie and Clyde” by Saundra Mitchell | 1934 | 3/5 stars

I’m a sucker for antiheroes in the forms of thieves, so I thought I’d love this one, but…not a lot happened? And it wasn’t boring, exactly, it just wasn’t riveting, either.

”Hard Times” by Katherine Longshore | 1934 | 2/5 stars

I really didn’t like any of the characters, which is kind of a problem considering most short stories really need you to like the main characters.

”City of Angels” by Lindsay Smith | 1945 | 2/5 stars

The pacing in this was very, very slow, and Evie was the only character I even semi-liked, and even she was a bit frustrating.

”Pulse of the Panthers” by Kekla Magoon | 1967 | 4/5 stars

This story was both deep and light-hearted at the same time, and I really enjoyed the characters. There were a couple of bits that dragged a tiny bit, but overall it was pretty solid.

“The Whole World is Watching” by Robin Talley | 1968 | 5/5 stars

I think this is probably my favorite of the book. LGBT, somewhat brutal to read, with a super compelling writing style.

So this book is probably one of my favorite anthologies, and I loved the author’s notes at the end of each story. Plus, let me say it again, AN ENTIRE ANTHOLOGY DEDICATED TO HISTORICAL BADASS GIRLS.


So, blogglings, did you do anything on your blog to celebrate Women’s History Month? Have you read a Tyranny of Petticoats? If so, what was your favorite/least favorite short story? Do you read anthologies, or do you tend to stay away from them?

Happy Sunday,


6 thoughts on “Book Review: A Tyranny of Petticoats, Edited by Jessica Spotswood | ALL THE BADASS GIRLS

  1. Ooh, I do want to read this one! There are so many authors in it that I LOVE AND ADMIRE so I need to see if my library will buy it for me. *nudges library and uses puppy dog eyes* 😂 I particularly want to read Marissa Meyer’s and Elizabeth Wein’s!! (Although WHY to Wein’s because she hurts my feels so much omg.)

    And no I didn’t do ANYTHING for Women’s Month and I’m so mad at myself.😭😭


    1. Hopefully your library will be nice to you, then! Because it’s worth reading even if all the stories weren’t amazing.
      And Elizabeth Wein has mastered the art of making you want to read EVERYTHING SHE EVER WRITES while stomping on your heart and grinning while she does it. It’s amazing. I wish I had that kind of writing skill.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My thoughts exactly. It was a nice anthology and I loved the girl power in it, but it just didn’t quite blow me away. I’m glad you enjoyed it though despite everything. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ❤


    1. It was a good idea, and if they decide to do something like it again I’ll probably still buy it, but still. It was fine. Not great, not awful, but fine.


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