BOOK REPORT for A Tyranny of Petticoats: 15 Tales of Belles, Bank Robbers, and Other Badass Girls edited by Jessica Spotswood

Cover Story:  Who Run the World?

The Best: “El Destinos” by Leslye Walton and “Bonnie and Clyde” by Saundra Mitchell

The Worst Not My Favorite Genre: “High Stakes” by Andrea Cremer

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Bonus Factors:  American History, Diversity, LGBTQ

Break Glass in Case of: Dudes Dominating Your History Books

 tyranny-petticoats

Cover Story: Who Run the World?

(Girls!) I think this cover is pretty effective in getting the “awesome girls throughout history” point across. But let’s be honest, the best thing about this cover is the title, which, according to editor Jessica Spotswood, “is actually a phrase used by President John Adams in a letter to his wife Abigail, when he was talking about involving women in the new U.S. government!”

If I had seen this in a bookstore, I certainly wouldn’t be able to resist picking it up. And if I were that person, I wouldn’t be disappointed—every single story in this collection is well-written. I had a hard time limiting myself to just two favorites for the purpose of this book report, because if we’re honest, I had at least five.

The Deal:

From Alaska to the Atlantic Ocean, 1710 to 1968, and everywhere in between, here are 15 tales of kickass young girls through American history. Although each tale is grounded in history, the genres aren’t—there’s everything from magical realism to fantasy, with the later stories more firmly grounded in reality. Each story ends with an author’s note about the history and research involved.

The Best: “El Destinos” by Leslye Walton

This Latin version of the Greek Fates myth is gorgeously written. You’ll want to dive into the Southwest—at least as Walton describes it.

The Best: “Bonnie and Clyde” by Saundra Mitchell

I love this story of a Depression-era Robin Hood-style bank robber, who is so gleeful about her double life that you just can’t help but be charmed. Yeah, breaking the law is usually bad…but she makes it seem awfully fun.

The Worst Not My Favorite Genre: “High Stakes” by Andrea Cremer

Again, this was well-written, but the magical high-stakes game was just not my favorite genre.

Bonus Factor:  American History

What really sold this book for me was the breadth of history and cultures explored in each story. There’s a lot of “unglamorous” history represented here—sure, there are stories that involve pretty dresses and suitors in beautiful mansions, but that’s such a small chunk of what America has to offer. I loved the varied settings and socioeconomic backgrounds represented.

Bonus Factor:  Diversity

As you can see in Simini Blocker’s adorable print, this collection represents young ladies from multiple ethnicities and cultures.

Bonus Factors:  LGBTQ

Our heroines aren’t always straight, either! 

Break Glass in Case of: Dudes Dominating Your History Books

Getting a little tired of men’s stories dominating the historical record? This anthology is the perfect complement to your history textbooks: fifteen fun glimpses into the lives of women over the past three centuries. You might find yourself falling in love with a different time and place than you ever expected—and thanks to the helpful authors’ notes, you can start researching your own tale.

A Tyanny of Petticoats is available now.

Jennie lives in San Francisco and has an excessive fondness of historical fiction, spreadsheets, turquoise sparkly things, and bourbon. When she’s not reading, writing, or writing about reading, she cooks obsessively, runs an Etsy shop, and thrifts for vintage everything.