My most recent read was Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons, a light regency fantasy novel with a middle-aged spinster for a heroine. The story features a baby dragon and a LOT of cake, so if all that meets your fancy, be sure to keep reading my review! 😉

I haven’t read a lot of books in the same vein as Miss Percy’s, but the book fondly reminded me of the Memoirs of Lady Trent series, which shares the aspect of a respectable Englishwoman finding her way through life through adventure and, of course, dragons.

Book Information
Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons by Quenby Olson
Series: A Miss Percy Guide (#1)
Published: October 26, 2021
Genre: Comedic, Fantasy of Manners
Pages: 347

Content Warnings: Very mild profanity

Miss Mildred Percy inherits a dragon.

 

Ah, but we’ve already got ahead of ourselves…

Miss Mildred Percy is a spinster. She does not dance, she has long stopped dreaming, and she certainly does not have adventures. That is, until her great uncle has the audacity to leave her an inheritance, one that includes a dragon’s egg.

 

The egg – as eggs are wont to do – decides to hatch, and Miss Mildred Percy is suddenly thrust out of the role of “spinster and general wallflower” and into the unprecedented position of “spinster and keeper of dragons.”

 

But England has not seen a dragon since… well, ever. And now Mildred must contend with raising a dragon (that should not exist), kindling a romance (with a humble vicar), and embarking on an adventure she never thought could be hers for the taking.

Miss Percy’s isn’t usually the type of book I read. That said, I found the book to be good deviation from the norm for me. It was a calmer read compared to my go-to pick of monsters, mayhem, and non-stop action and magic, of which Miss Percy‘s certainly is not.

Instead of relying on battle and magic, the story is instead carried by the incredibly well-written and intriguing character voice of the protagonist, Mildred.  We’re brought along for the ride as she navigates a life that quickly goes from lopsided to upside down over the course of the months that span in the novel.

All, of course, from the egg that’s discovered and hatched without her knowing until the baby dragon is already on the way…

One of the things I really liked about this book is how Mildred is not your typical protagonist at all. She’s a middle-aged woman who cowers beneath the shadow of her emotionally abusive younger sister. In other words, she’s the exact opposite of the often physically strong, sassy, young heroines that we get in a lot of fantasy these days.

She’s smart (but not brilliant), brave (but not brave enough to face her sister), has adventurous dreams (but never quite thought she was good enough to reach for them, partially because of the beforementioned sister). Mildred is a character I really found myself rooting for in her fight to overcome not just the physical cirumstances she found herself in but also the mental barriers she had placed upon herself. Over the length of the book, she grows much more into a woman capable of the wild adventures I wanted her to experience.

Most importantly, perhaps, is that she overcomes her sister.

Before the book begins, Mildred, as it goes, stayed at home to take care of her sick father while her younger sister, Diana, pursued her dream of getting married. When their father died, Mildred moved in with Diana because she was not yet married nor particularly had any prospects of becoming so. And that was where she stayed for 17 or so odd years.

That is more than enough time for an emotionally abusive family member to get under your skin, to change your value of self-worth from what it should be and into something easier to control instead. See, rather than supporting Mildred pursue a fulfilling life of her own, Diana used Mildred as a platform to buoy her own sense of control and self-worth. If something was wrong, it was Mildred’s fault.

If Mildred wanted to do something, she couldn’t (because what would Diana think? What about Diana’s children?).

I found Mildred’s journey of rediscovering the self, with the help of a certain unlikely vicar and a young dragon quite enjoyable indeed.

Though Fitz, the baby dragon, did not get quite as much page time as I would have liked, he was quite present in the last half of the book with the claws and fiery breath to match his attitude. Through the unusual circumstances of their introduction, Fitz and Mildred develop a kinship where together, they have no choice but to fight for the freedoms owed to them by other people who would otherwise continue to stifle them.

If you enjoy regency novels or historical fiction with lighter fantasy elements, I highly recommend giving Miss Percy’s a peek!

 

This book review is brought to you by the amazing peeps at Storytellers on Tour. Be sure to check out the other tour stops for Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide!

About the Author

Quenby Olson lives in Central Pennsylvania where she spends most of her time writing, glaring at baskets of unfolded laundry, and telling her kids to stop climbing things. She lives with her husband and five children, who do nothing to dampen her love of classical ballet, geeky crochet, and staying up late to watch old episodes of Doctor Who.

Check out her Website

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 If you end up reading Miss Percy’s, do leave a comment or email me and let me know what you think of the book.

See you next time!

—Erynn

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