10 books like The Perfect Gentleman

By June Rose,

Here are 10 books that The Perfect Gentleman fans have personally recommended if you like The Perfect Gentleman. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Masquerade: The Life and Times of Deborah Sampson, Continental Soldier

Linda Collison Author Of Star-Crossed

From my list on 18th and 19th century crossdressers.

Who am I?

The custom of Masquerade, of dressing as Other, has long fascinated me. In writing Star-Crossed, I set out to investigate how and why one girl might pass as a boy in an era when gender roles were sharply differentiated. I once crossed an ocean working aboard a wooden, three-masted ship – a 20th-century replica of the Bark Endeavour, circumnavigating in 1999. Sleeping in hammocks and working aloft in the rigging, I discovered this life required teamwork, stamina – and a sturdy, practical costume. Trousers, not petticoats! I have worked as a registered nurse and I earned a degree in History; these experiences combine in Star-Crossed. 

Linda's book list on 18th and 19th century crossdressers

Linda Collison Why did Linda love this book?

It took Americans a very long time to honor the ordinary foot soldiers and seamen of the Revolution. It took even longer to recover the women of the Revolution, historian Alfred F. Young tells us. The author parses through various historical records to present a realistic picture of the female soldier Deborah Sampson. Deborah was not the only woman to volunteer as a soldier – dressed as a man. Her record was exemplary. Sampson became known only after the war was over, and then only to a few people. This biography is among the most thorough of crossdressing fighting women, and it gives a good picture of colonial life at the time of the American Revolution. 

By Alfred F. Young,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Masquerade as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Masquerade, Alfred F. Young scrapes through layers of fiction and myth to uncover the story of Deborah Sampson, a Massachusetts woman who passed as a man and fought as a soldier for seventeen months toward the end of the American Revolution.

Deborah Sampson was not the only woman to pose as a male and fight in the war, but she was certainly one of the most successful and celebrated. She managed to fight in combat and earn the respect of her officers and peers, and in later years she toured the country lecturing about her experiences and was partially…


Book cover of Female Tars: Women Aboard Ship in the Age of Sail

Linda Collison Author Of Star-Crossed

From my list on 18th and 19th century crossdressers.

Who am I?

The custom of Masquerade, of dressing as Other, has long fascinated me. In writing Star-Crossed, I set out to investigate how and why one girl might pass as a boy in an era when gender roles were sharply differentiated. I once crossed an ocean working aboard a wooden, three-masted ship – a 20th-century replica of the Bark Endeavour, circumnavigating in 1999. Sleeping in hammocks and working aloft in the rigging, I discovered this life required teamwork, stamina – and a sturdy, practical costume. Trousers, not petticoats! I have worked as a registered nurse and I earned a degree in History; these experiences combine in Star-Crossed. 

Linda's book list on 18th and 19th century crossdressers

Linda Collison Why did Linda love this book?

This was the first nonfiction book I read that fired up my interest and started my research for my own historical novel. Stark gives a picture of the females to be found aboard ships in the British Royal Navy, most of whom were not posing as men but were wives of warrant officers. One chapter is devoted to women in disguise in naval crews. The last chapter is devoted to the crossdresser Mary Lacy, who passed as William Chandler, and worked as a shipwright. With illustrations and endnotes, Female Tars sheds light on the women who are seldom mentioned in official naval records, but were there, a part of history. 

By Suzanne J Stark,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Female Tars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For a very long time now I have delighted in histories, letters, records, and memoirs to do with the Royal Navy in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century; but Suzanne Stark's book has told me many, many things I did not know, and I shall keep it on an honored shelf."--Patrick O'Brian

The wives and female guests of commissioned officers often went to sea in the sailing ships of Britain's Royal Navy in the 18th and 19th centuries, but there were other women on board as well, rarely mentioned in print. Suzanne Stark thoroughly investigates the custom of allowing prostitutes…


Book cover of The Lady Tars: The Autobiographies of Hannah Snell, Mary Lacy and Mary Anne Talbot

Linda Collison Author Of Star-Crossed

From my list on 18th and 19th century crossdressers.

Who am I?

The custom of Masquerade, of dressing as Other, has long fascinated me. In writing Star-Crossed, I set out to investigate how and why one girl might pass as a boy in an era when gender roles were sharply differentiated. I once crossed an ocean working aboard a wooden, three-masted ship – a 20th-century replica of the Bark Endeavour, circumnavigating in 1999. Sleeping in hammocks and working aloft in the rigging, I discovered this life required teamwork, stamina – and a sturdy, practical costume. Trousers, not petticoats! I have worked as a registered nurse and I earned a degree in History; these experiences combine in Star-Crossed. 

Linda's book list on 18th and 19th century crossdressers

Linda Collison Why did Linda love this book?

Perhaps the most famous of the 18th-century crossdressers is Hannah Snell. Hannah was a British woman who passed as "James Gray" and became a marine in the Royal Navy, following the death of her infant daughter. During her military career of more than four years she was wounded in battle and later was officially recognized and pensioned for her service. Hannah's is only one of at least twenty authentic accounts of females serving aboard Royal Navy ships, according to editor Tom Grundner, who writes the preface to The Lady Tars; the Autobiographies of Hannah Snell, Mary Lacy and Mary Anne Talbot. Three entertaining, informative accounts in one book.

By Hannah Snell, Mary Lacy, Mary Anne Talbot

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lady Tars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Out of Print for over 200 Years, the original text of three of the most remarkable naval biographies ever written.

We know that women served as sailors in the Royal Navy as early as 1650. Unfortunately, what little we know of these women is based largely on second- and third-hand accounts and deductions. In general, few seamen (and even fewer sea-women) knew how to write. As a result, there exists no first-hand, autobiographical, accounts—with three exceptions.

Three women—three lady tars—left memoirs of their experiences serving as men in the Royal Navy.

Hanna Snell (1723-1792) originally joined the army but deserted…


Book cover of Monsieur D'Eon is a Woman: A Tale of Political Intrigue and Sexual Masquerade

Linda Collison Author Of Star-Crossed

From my list on 18th and 19th century crossdressers.

Who am I?

The custom of Masquerade, of dressing as Other, has long fascinated me. In writing Star-Crossed, I set out to investigate how and why one girl might pass as a boy in an era when gender roles were sharply differentiated. I once crossed an ocean working aboard a wooden, three-masted ship – a 20th-century replica of the Bark Endeavour, circumnavigating in 1999. Sleeping in hammocks and working aloft in the rigging, I discovered this life required teamwork, stamina – and a sturdy, practical costume. Trousers, not petticoats! I have worked as a registered nurse and I earned a degree in History; these experiences combine in Star-Crossed. 

Linda's book list on 18th and 19th century crossdressers

Linda Collison Why did Linda love this book?

Who was s/he – a man, a woman masquerading as a man, or a gender fluid person?

The Chevalier d'Eon was a French courtier and diplomat, decorated military officer, writer – and a cross-dressing spy for Louis XV in a clandestine foreign policy organization known as the Secret du Roi. A well-researched account, Kates' political "thriller" is quite unlike any other crossdresser's biography I've read; it kindles a conception of 18th-century gender fluidity that reflects perception, influence, and political power in a European age when clothes indeed, made the man.

By Gary Kates,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Monsieur D'Eon is a Woman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Born in 1728, French aristocrat Charles d'Eon de Beaumont had served his country as a diplomat, soldier, and spy for fifteen years when rumors that he was a woman began to circulate in the courts of Europe. D'Eon denied nothing and was finally compelled by Louis XVI to give up male attire and live as a woman, something d'Eon did without complaint for the next three decades. Although celebrated as one of the century's most remarkable women, d'Eon was revealed, after his death in 1810, to have been unambiguously male. Gary Kates's acclaimed biography of d'Eon recreates eighteenth-century European society…


Book cover of The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine

Andrew Lam Author Of The Masters of Medicine: Our Greatest Triumphs in the Race to Cure Humanity's Deadliest Diseases

From my list on the history of medicine.

Who am I?

I’m a surgeon who loves history. I always have. I studied military history in college but decided to become a doctor because I also love helping people. In my medical training I marveled at the incredible treatments and operations we use to save lives and always felt the unsung heroes who gave us these miracles deserve to be better known. That’s why I wrote this book.

Andrew's book list on the history of medicine

Andrew Lam Why did Andrew love this book?

Fitzharris’s book is a page-turner that takes readers into the macabre operating theaters of the Victorian era, when surgeons rarely washed their hands or cleaned their scalpels, anesthesia did not exist, and the “best” surgeons were simply those who worked the fastest.

Joseph Lister’s effort to convince the world of the merits of antisepsis is a true underdog story in which the stakes could not have been higher. 


By Lindsey Fitzharris,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Butchering Art as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner, 2018 PEN/E.O. Wilson Prize for Literary Science Writing
Short-listed for the 2018 Wellcome Book Prize
A Top 10 Science Book of Fall 2017, Publishers Weekly
A Best History Book of 2017, The Guardian

"Warning: She spares no detail!" —Erik Larson, bestselling author of Dead Wake

In The Butchering Art, the historian Lindsey Fitzharris reveals the shocking world of nineteenth-century surgery and shows how it was transformed by advances made in germ theory and antiseptics between 1860 and 1875. She conjures up early operating theaters—no place for the squeamish—and surgeons, who, working before anesthesia, were lauded for their speed and…


Book cover of The Girl in His Shadow

Alina Rubin Author Of A Girl with a Knife

From my list on making you glad for modern medicine.

Who am I?

Stuck at home during the pandemic, I started watching historical fiction and fell in love with the British miniseries, Hornblower. Suddenly I found myself writing my own stories about an imprisoned midshipman and Ella Parker, a surgeon that saves him. But there was a plot hole. Women could not be doctors in 19th-century England, leave alone ship surgeons. Thus, I sent Ella into medical school disguised as a man, and Hearts and Sails series was born. Looking for interesting cases for Ella to observe and treat, I became obsessed with the history of modern medicine. I also wanted my character to overcome great obstacles and eventually prove to others what a woman can do.

Alina's book list on making you glad for modern medicine

Alina Rubin Why did Alina love this book?

The Girl in His Shadow is my favorite comparative fiction. Similar to my story, Nora Beady lives in England, at the time when woman couldn’t practice medicine. But Nora’s path is very different from Ella Parker’s. Nora is a secret assistant to famous Dr. Croft, but her position is threatened when Dr. Daniel Gibson joins the practice. Soon Dr. Gibson sees Nora’s value, and the two become friends and more. The novel is very well-researched, beautifully written, and kept me hooked to the end. This book is great for fans of woman’s fiction with a medical theme. Be ready for detailed surgeries, experiments with ether, patients lost to difficult births and infections, and slow but sure steps of medical progress and perseverance. 

Readers who enjoy the medical details of my book will be treated to a galore of similar themes in The Girl in His Shadow. In the 1840s,…

By Audrey Blake,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Girl in His Shadow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE USA TODAY BESTSELLER!
"An exquisitely detailed journey through the harrowing field of medicine in mid-19th century London."-Tracey Enerson Wood, USA Today bestselling author of The Engineer's Wife and The War Nurse
An unforgettable historical fiction novel about one woman who believed in scientific medicine before the world believed in her.
London, 1845: Raised by the eccentric surgeon Dr. Horace Croft after losing her parents to a deadly pandemic, the orphan Nora Beady knows little about conventional life. While other young ladies were raised to busy themselves with needlework and watercolors, Nora was trained to perfect her suturing and anatomical…


Book cover of The Surgeon's Daughter

Alina Rubin Author Of A Girl with a Knife

From my list on making you glad for modern medicine.

Who am I?

Stuck at home during the pandemic, I started watching historical fiction and fell in love with the British miniseries, Hornblower. Suddenly I found myself writing my own stories about an imprisoned midshipman and Ella Parker, a surgeon that saves him. But there was a plot hole. Women could not be doctors in 19th-century England, leave alone ship surgeons. Thus, I sent Ella into medical school disguised as a man, and Hearts and Sails series was born. Looking for interesting cases for Ella to observe and treat, I became obsessed with the history of modern medicine. I also wanted my character to overcome great obstacles and eventually prove to others what a woman can do.

Alina's book list on making you glad for modern medicine

Alina Rubin Why did Alina love this book?

Hooked on book 1, The Girl in His Shadow, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the sequel. Here Nora is studying in medical school in Italy, one of few places that admitted women at the time. While Nora is learning Cesarian section and struggling with the attitudes of male doctors and students, Dr. Gibson works hard to save ill children in London and keep Dr. Croft’s clinic operating. 

I enjoyed the second book almost as much as the first. At times the pace slowed, and some secondary characters were not developed, which is why I say “almost.” I’m glad that I published my book three months before The Surgeon’s Daughter came out. Some similarities, down to minor characters names, were almost uncanny.  

Book cover of Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything

Alina Rubin Author Of A Girl with a Knife

From my list on making you glad for modern medicine.

Who am I?

Stuck at home during the pandemic, I started watching historical fiction and fell in love with the British miniseries, Hornblower. Suddenly I found myself writing my own stories about an imprisoned midshipman and Ella Parker, a surgeon that saves him. But there was a plot hole. Women could not be doctors in 19th-century England, leave alone ship surgeons. Thus, I sent Ella into medical school disguised as a man, and Hearts and Sails series was born. Looking for interesting cases for Ella to observe and treat, I became obsessed with the history of modern medicine. I also wanted my character to overcome great obstacles and eventually prove to others what a woman can do.

Alina's book list on making you glad for modern medicine

Alina Rubin Why did Alina love this book?

I scoured this book for strange and dangerous remedies people used to administer and it didn’t disappoint. Arsenic, mercury, bloodletting, to name a few. When I read about leeches used to treat painful menstruation, I put the book down… to add that gem into my fiction, of course. Interesting stories, great illustrations, great learning, and fun.

By Lydia Kang, Nate Pedersen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Quackery as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A tour of medicine's most outlandish misfires, Quackery dives into 35 "treatments", exploring their various uses and why they thankfully fell out of favour - some more recently than you might think. Looking back in horror and a dash of dark humour, the book provides readers with an illuminating lesson in how medicine is very much an evolving process of trial and error, and how the doctor doesn't always know bests.


Book cover of Self-Made Man: One Womans Journey into Manhood & Back Again

Peg Tittle Author Of Gender Fraud: a fiction

From my list on to make you think about gender and sex.

Who am I?

I am the author of several novels—in addition to the one featured here, Impact, It Wasn't Enough (Finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award), Exile, and What Happened to Tom (on Goodreads' "Fiction Books That Opened Your Eyes To A Social Or Political Issue" list).  I was a columnist for The Philosopher Magazine for eight years, Philosophy Now for two years, and the Ethics and Emerging Technologies website for a year ("TransGendered Courage" received 35,000 hits, making it #3 of the year, and "Ethics without Philosophers" received 34,000 hits, making it #5 of the year), and I've published a collection of think pieces titled Sexist Shit that Pisses Me Off. 

Peg's book list on to make you think about gender and sex

Peg Tittle Why did Peg love this book?

Reading much like a novel, Vincent's book is a first-person account of a woman going undercover as a man (cross-dressing drag rather than trans, per se) to discover what men are like: "I found masculinity distilled, unmitigated by feminine influences, and therefore observable in a concentrated state" (p181).  An intriguing contrast to Schilt's book, Vincent says "It was hard being a guy" (p275); "Someone is always evaluating your manhood" (p276); "I saw how degraded and awful a relentless, humiliating sex drive could make you" (p277).

By Norah Vincent,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Self-Made Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Following in the tradition of John Howard Griffin (Black Like Me) and Barbara Ehrenreich (Nickel and Dimed), Norah Vincent absorbed a cultural experience and reported back on what she observed incognito. For more than a year and a half she ventured into the world as Ned, with an ever-present five o'clock shadow, a crew cut, wire-rim glasses, and her own size 11 1/2 shoes-a perfect disguise that enabled her to observe the world of men as an insider. The result is a sympathetic, shrewd, and thrilling tour de force of immersion journalism that's destined to challenge preconceptions and attract enormous…


Book cover of The Thousand Names

Reese Hogan Author Of Shrouded Loyalties

From my list on cross-dressing women in wartime.

Who am I?

As a nonbinary trans guy, I grew up obsessed with novels about women disguising themselves as men. I loved everything about the trope, and always felt disappointed when they had to go back to living as women. It is a trope I eagerly embraced when I wrote Shrouded Loyalties, and though I didn’t yet know the term “transgender,” I was already exploring my own gender identity through my reading and writing of this theme. The books I’ve chosen to highlight here are ones that became some of my very favorites, and also feature action-packed wartime settings like the one used in Shrouded Loyalties.

Reese's book list on cross-dressing women in wartime

Reese Hogan Why did Reese love this book?

The Thousand Names has one of the most unique protagonists and refreshing settings I’ve seen. Winter Ihernglass is disguised as a male soldier in a world of gunpowder and muskets, and ancient demons that can be released with the right magic. I loved watching Winter advance through the ranks and prove her brilliance time and time again. She continues to disguise herself throughout the series, even as women are allowed into the army and more people become aware of her gender, leading me to believe that the look is less a disguise and more her actually living as she truly wants to: as a transgender man in a world that doesn’t yet have a name for it.

By Django Wexler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Thousand Names as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Set in an alternate nineteenth century, muskets and magic are weapons to be feared in the first "spectacular epic" (Fantasy Book Critic) in Django Wexler's Shadow Campaigns series.

Captain Marcus d'Ivoire, commander of one of the Vordanai empire's colonial garrisons, was serving out his days in a sleepy, remote outpost-until a rebellion left him in charge of a demoralized force clinging to a small fortress at the edge of the desert.

To flee from her past, Winter Ihernglass masqueraded as a man and enlisted as a ranker in the Vordanai Colonials, hoping only to avoid notice. But when chance sees…


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