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.
I received a digital advanced readers copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
In this remarkable historical retelling of The Three Musketeers, Lillie Lainoff’s debut One for All promises mystery, action, stabby girls, and a phenomenal story with a disabled protagonist who proves that strength comes in many forms. Set in 1650’s France, One for All follows Tania de Batz, a chronically ill girl and daughter of a former Musketeer. When her father is mysteriously and brutally murdered, Tania is whisked off to Paris at his bequest – but what everyone believes to be a finishing school is actually a secret training ground for girl Musketeers.
One for All pulls readers into Tania’s world of societal expectations that are stacked against her for being a girl, and even more so as a disabled girl where her disability and dizziness are misunderstood and scorned. One for All vividly explores Tania’s experiences with her disability, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome or POTS. The story depicts the ableism that she experiences and how Tania internalises that ableism to how it shapes her daily life and her fencing, drawing the reader to reflect on the experiences of disabled people across history and today.
Yet, while Tania’s disability is a big part of who she is, it isn’t all she is. Readers looking for excellent disability representation will enjoy Tania as a protagonist, not wholly defined by the stigma and ignorance that she experiences. Though at times plagued by self-doubt and the weight of people’s expectations of her Tania is much more; she’s a fencer, a daughter who loves her father fiercely and wishes that her mother understood her, a loyal friend, and a promising Musketeer. Vulnerable and defiant, Tania is effortlessly likeable, her journey across the story empowering and satisfying to witness.
The mystery of Tania’s father’s murderer, a mission to thwart an assassination attempt on the king, found family, love, and grief are the threads that underlie One for All. The friendships in One for All and how they grow into the bonds of immutable sisterhood are a highlight of the story. Carefully plotted and developed, One for All is a fun and intriguing story that blends the thrills of action, the vulnerability of self-love and opening your heart to those who will love you for who you are. A splendid debut that affirms that strength and tenacity are not limited by disability.
MY CONCLUSION: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Is this book for you?
Premise in a sentence: A disabled girl is set on a path to become a Musketeer after the mysterious murder of her father.
Perfect for: Readers who love historical fiction; readers who love gender-bent retellings; readers who love stories about sisterhood and friendship.
Think twice if: You’re not looking for a ‘longer’ read.
Genre: young adult historical, retelling