A Tyranny of Petticoats: 15 Stories of Belles, Bank Robbers & Other Badass Girls edited by Jessica Spotswood

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A Tyranny of Petticoats: 15 Stories of Belles, Bank Robbers & Other Badass Girls edited by Jessica SpotswoodA Tyranny of Petticoats by Jessica Spotswood
Also by this author: Wild Swans, Wild Swans
Published by Candlewick Press (MA) on March 8th 2016
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

From an impressive sisterhood of YA writers comes an edge-of-your-seat anthology of historical fiction and fantasy featuring a diverse array of daring heroines.
Crisscross 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. With stories by: J. Anderson Coats Andrea Cremer Y. S. Lee Katherine Longshore Marie Lu Kekla Magoon Marissa Meyer Saundra Mitchell Beth Revis Caroline Richmond Lindsay Smith Jessica Spotswood Robin Talley Leslye Walton Elizabeth Wein

I LOVE SHORT STORY ANTHOLOGIES! Especially ones about swashbuckling badass girls, so of course A Tyranny Of Petticoats: 15 Stories of Belles, Bank Robbers, & Other Badass Girls edited by Jessica Spotswood was right up my alley. I was basically right! This anthology contains stories about girls with diverse backgrounds and experiences and I LOVED IT a whole lot.

Mother Carey’s Table by J. Anderson Coats

The opening story of A Tyranny Of Petticoats is Mother Carey’s Table by J. Anderson Coats. The story is about a Black young woman who is a pirate, who dresses as a boy and goes by Joe and works with her father aboard various pirate ships. Joe sees her chance to earn a large share of treasure for herself and her father and seizes it. Unfortunately, things do not go as planned. Also, we learn about Davy Jones’s ladyfriend, Mother Carey. In all, a superb opener. It makes me want more J. Anderson Coats books.

The Journey by Marie Lu

Marie Lu’s contribution to A Tyranny of Petticoats is about this girl named Yakone who was born during the red Northern Lights. She is an Inuit girl who lives with her parents in a village and because she is their only child has been privy to learning about hunting and dog sledding. One day, her father goes away for a hunt, but then does not return. Instead, the other hunters come back with tails of a giant white winged monster. In their wake are men with metal tubes that are instruments of death. Yakone is the sole survivor and must gather the dogs and journey to a village that is safe. This short story is quite harrowing with that whole Julie Of The Wolves influence going on. In all, a decent read. I can’t comment at all as to the diversity or accuracy, however, I enjoyed Lu’s writing style.

Madeleine’s Choice by Jessica Spotswood

Jessica Spotswood is the editor of this anthology, so I was curious to see how her story would play out in the trilogy. So far, it is ON PAR or on fleek with the other stories that I’ve read so far. Madeleine’s Choice is set in the early nineteenth century and is about this girl named Madeleine who is Black and among the upper class. Madeleine sneaks off to go to these interracial balls with her best friend, and there a red hair gentleman has offered to make an arrangement with Madeleine. She thinks she can parlay that into legitimate marriage and that her parents will eventually say yes. However, her parents have another suitor in mind, Etienne, a Black young man who is also upper class and who grew up with Madeleine. She’s got a tough choice to make — one that will involve consultation from a Marie Laveau-esque character. Also, perhaps some heartbreak and betrayal. I’d love to see more from Spotswood involving these characters.

El Destinos by Leslye Walton

El Destinos by Leslye Walton is about Valeria, one of the three sisters of fate. In this story, Walton casts the sisters of fate as girls who have become human and are Mexican American sisters living with a mother and a father after the annexation of Texas. The girls begin to question their fate and the threads they find and pluck. If you’ve read the Ava Lavender book, you know that Walton’s writing style is this gorgeous prose and it is on full display in A Tyranny Of Petticoats. I’ll admit, this story story has whet my appetite for more of Leslye Walton’s writing.

High Stakes by Andrea Cremer

Andrea Cremer’s contribution to A Tyranny Of Petticoats is high stakes. This story is about the Civil War era and supernatural creatures. Creamer imagines that various factions of creatures like warlocks, vampires, werewolves, goblins, etc are about to play a game which will determine the fate of the Civil War. The game will take place aboard a neutral ship. The main character in this story is from a faction long thought dead. Klio, the main character, is hired as a bodyguard of sorts for the main player of the Warlock faction. I actually really enjoyed this short story, the pacing and the action is absolutely on point.

The Red Raven Ball by Caroline Richmond

I actually really loved reading The Red Raven Ball by Caroline Richmond. This short story is set in Washington DC during the Civil War era. The main character Lizzie has been called back home from the Quaker school she was attending to live with her Grandmama and sister. Her father is out west overseeing the railroad that he owns. Lizzie is instructed to go to a ball and meet eligible men on her Grandmama’s orders. However, she has this letter from her uncle which instructs her to ferret out the Confederate spy within their midsts. The actual spy is an awesome twist and basically if you’re a fan of stories about strong independent young women, you’ll love this contribution to A Tyranny Of Petticoats.

Pearls by Beth Revis

THIS IS MY FAVORITE STORY so far. Beth Revis’s Pearls is about this girl named Helen who finds herself in an awful predicament and is about to be trapped in a marriage to a detestable man named Richard. Helen is from a family that has all kinds of privilege and wealth. Unfortunately, she was caught in a forced compromising position. Helen reflects that education has been the making of her family’s fortune, and so she views the ads and finds that a school in Wyoming is looking for a teacher. She accepts the job, sneaks out, and leaves Chicago for Wyoming. She puts her heart into teaching the students and finds herself really favoring a poor little girl named Annie who just so happens to be an excellent shot. I won’t tell you what happens but I will say that I loved how this story was written, the characterization, and basically everything and now I deeply desire some historical fiction written by Revis whose space story I have yet to read.

Gold In The Roots Of The Grass by Marissa Meyer

It’s so cool to see Marissa Meyer write something that is not a retelling, and like all of the other stories within A Tyranny Of Petticoats, this also features an intrepid young girl. Fei-Yen is a wushaman, meaning that she can speak with and see ghosts. However, they don’t always show up so she has to pretend like she’s communicating with one. Anyways, she’s living out in gold country with her uncle instead of San Francisco where she grew up. One day a prospector comes to her in hopes of a message from his partner. That’s where the story opens. What unravels is a story of epic courage, standing up for justice and a small bit of romance. Thumbs up for this story.

The Legendary Garrett Girls by Y.S. Lee

Set in Alaska during the Gold Rush era, Y.S. Lee’s story is about a pair of co-proprietoresses named Clara and Lily Garrett. One girl is honey. One girl is vinegar. The two sisters run the local saloon and do quite a fine job of it. Unfortunately, a local conman, Soapy Smith comes to town, and essentially does his best to steal the tavern from the girls. Together, though, they come up with a plan and it is one of the best and well thought through revenges that I’ve read. I basically think I need to read more YS Lee after her contribution The Legendary Garrett Girls.

The Color Of The Sky by Elizabeth Wein

Elizabeth Wein’s The Color Of The Sky is set in Jacksonville and Dallas in 1926. It’s about this girl named Antonia who is in the physics club and about to meet her idol, Bessie Coleman. Unfortunately, as the story begins we see the sort of casual, everyday racism Antonia is exposed to. However, this is not the tragedy of the story. In fact, tragedy strikes and it will unleash Antonia on a journey that brings her all the way to Love Field, Dallas. In true Elizabeth Wein fashion, this story is all about the hope that comes from the seeds of tragedy and how humans ultimately triumph. I loved it, of course.

Bonnie And Clyde by Saundra Mitchell

Bonnie And Clyde by Saundra Mitchell is about this girl who lives through the Great Depression. Her family is hard up for money and the new guy who runs the bank is a total douche. So, she dresses up as a boy and inspired by Bonnie And Clyde, goes out and robs banks along the Wabash. She tells her parents the money comes from helping a lady doctor deliver babies. There is this police officer after her, though, named Caleb. He’s young and good looking and the two certainly go way back, only Caleb doesn’t know it. This story was immensely readable and quite the contribution to A Tyranny Of Petticoats.

Hard Times by Katherine Longshore

Katherine Longshore’s Hard Times is a story about a teenage girl and this kid she finds along the way named Billy during the Great Depression. The girl is riding the rails in hopes of getting to a better life in Seattle. At this camp, she meets a boy who reminds her a little bit of Clark Gable. He says that he’s a journalist and he wants to tell her story. And, of course, she’s a bit resistant because she’s lived a hard life so far. Anyways, this story doesn’t sugar coat the Great Depression, but at the same time, it pulses with hope. I loved this story as well and find myself wanting another book from Longshore.

City Of Angels by Lindsay Smith

City Of Angels by Lindsay Smith is set during World War II. Women are in the work place riveting in Los Angeles as the men are off fighting the War. Evie is one riveter and she is the best of the riveters. She’s so good that the worst of the riveters is assigned to work with her as a means of catching her up — Frankie is her name. Both girls have fiances overseas. Evie though has never felt any strong emotions for her fiance one way or the other, and then, she realizes that perhaps this is because she’s gay. In all, I liked the flow and progression of this story.

Pulse Of The Panthers by Kekla Magoon

Pulse Of The Panthers by Kekla Magoon is about this girl named Sandy who lives outside of Oakland, California on a farm with her father and her grandmother. She spends her days barefoot and has never really been to the city. However, the city comes to her when a group of Black Panthers show up at her house. You see, her father is helping the Black Panthers out. Sandy meets one of the Panthers and it is quite the connection. I actually quite liked this story because it paints the Black Panthers in a much better light

The Whole World Is Watching by Robin Talley

Robin Talley’s contribution to A Tyranny Of Petticoats is The Whole World Is Watching and it’s set during the Vietnam War protests in Chicago. It’s about a young woman who is Black and going to Barnard College in New York City. It is quite different from where she grew up in Tennessee. Anyways, she comes to the realization that she likes girls but is dating a guy but won’t acknowledge her girlfriend. At first I didn’t like this story because of the light it paints police officers in, but then I realized that at this time period, that was a harsh reality. So while I didn’t quite love this story, I understood the value of it.

Other reviews of A Tyranny of Petticoats: 15 Stories of Belles, Bank Robbers & Other Badass Girls edited by Jessica Spotswood:

Jenuine Cupcakes – “I decided to give it a shot, and I’m really glad I did!

YA Bibliophile – “Each story is a delight.

Doing Dewey – “the editor did a great job organizing the stories

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. This sounds like so much fun. A must buy for me.

  2. Yay 😀 Awesome review April. So glad you liked this one so much 🙂 I cannot wait to read my copy sometime soonish. <3 I adore so many of these authors. Thank you for sharing about this one 🙂

  3. I don’t typically enjoy short story collections, but the topic of this one was so intriguing I couldn’t pass it up and I ended up loving it too! Thanks for linking to my review 🙂