One For All By Lillie Lainoff is a fantastic gender-bent Musketeer’s story. Tania de Batz is the chronically ill daughter of a former Musketeer- and she’s seeking answers for his death.
Tania de Batz is most herself with a sword in her hand. Everyone in town thinks her near-constant dizziness makes her weak, nothing but “a sick girl”; even her mother is desperate to marry her off for security. But Tania wants to be strong, independent, a fencer like her father—a former Musketeer and her greatest champion.
Then Papa is brutally, mysteriously murdered. His dying wish? For Tania to attend finishing school. But L’Académie des Mariées, Tania realizes, is no finishing school. It’s a secret training ground for a new kind of Musketeer: women who are socialites on the surface, but strap daggers under their skirts, seduce men into giving up dangerous secrets, and protect France from downfall. And they don’t shy away from a swordfight.
With her newfound sisters at her side, Tania feels for the first time like she has a purpose, like she belongs. But then she meets Étienne, her first target in uncovering a potential assassination plot. He’s kind, charming, and breathlessly attractive—and he might have information about what really happened to her father. Torn between duty and dizzying emotion, Tania will have to lean on her friends, listen to her own body, and decide where her loyalties lie…or risk losing everything she’s ever wanted.
This debut novel is a fierce, whirlwind adventure about the depth of found family, the strength that goes beyond the body, and the determination it takes to fight for what you love.
All quotes are from an advanced reader copy, and may or may not reflect the published edition.
“I would’ve laughed if I didn’t feel like sobbing- here I was imagining a boy’s face on the opposite end of my sword. I wasn’t kind. I was nothing; I was an amalgamation of wrongs.”
As someone who is in the process of getting diagnosed with POTS, this story touched me. From that standpoint, the way Tania was treated (both good and bad) made me tear up. The representation here was fantastic and realistic. This is understandable, as our author also has this condition.
“We are not the ones who are writing into history. We are the ones who ensure history exists to be written. So maybe those men won’t know the trust of what that little girl grew up to be. I’m more important to France than they are – even if they don’t know it.”
The story itself was intriguing, politically fueled without being too complex and overwhelming. I adored our various girls who helped Tania, and their relationships as well. While I’ve never read the original musketeers, I have seen movies and the like. This still had that same air of adventure. The idea of women having a somewhat secret version of the Musketeers was a fantastic one, and I enjoyed the concept.
“That must be hard: the uncertainty of going to sleep and not knowing what it’ll be like when you wake up.”
I suppose my only takeaways, and the reason for this being 4 stars instead of 5, was a mix of the pacing and the consistent use of untranslated French. The French wasn’t necessarily an issue for me personally, as I have studied the basics of it, but at times I did still find it irritating to have to look for context clues for translation. The pacing felt a bit choppy, and it made it difficult to stay in the story.
“They may not be the Musketeers I’d imagined. But they were better, because they were mine. And I knew, as I looked at them and saw the cold steely resolve inside me mirrored in their eyes, that I was theirs.”
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.