Potosí, 1600s. Spain has established a viceroyalty in one of its newest colonies, Peru. The streets of the city are full of beauty and chaos and danger, hardly the place for two young ladies from the upper class.
But at night, Kiki de Sonza and Ana Lezama de Urinza, daughter and ward of one of Peru’s wealthiest men, trade their voluminous skirts and amenable smiles for daggers wielded with the upmost precision, and venture into the streets—to explore, to protect those who can’t protect themselves, and to experience the brilliant, forbidden love that’s long burgeoned between them.
These two parts of their lives have long been separate: streets by night, skirts by day. But when Kiki’s brother is murdered the night of her engagement announcement, their only hope of finding answers lies on the winding streets of Potosí—where they will either find the truth, or become the murderer’s next victims.
I read and loved the Girl at Midnight series by Melissa Grey years ago, so when I discovered she had a new series, featuring historical adventure, sword-wielding lesbians, and a murder mystery, I immediately knew I had to check it out. Valiant Ladies certainly didn’t disappoint! I loved Kiki and Ana—although I don’t always love books with a prominent romance plotline, both characters were so brilliant that I couldn’t resist rooting for them. With witty dialogue, righteous determination, and an absolutely fabulous dynamic, I didn’t want to put this book down. The historical aspect of Valiant Ladies was also excellent, and I love how the characters never felt like they were solely reflecting modern sensibilities about queer characters or feminism; instead, they all felt wholly alive in the historical setting. I didn’t go into this story expecting its twisting, complex plot, but it more than delivered. Melissa Grey weaves a multilayered, clever mystery full of surprises and quirks that propelled the story forward at a swift and ever-engaging pace. Full of vibrance, fire, and action, I highly recommend Valiant Ladies to lovers of queer romance and historical fiction ages thirteen and up.