Tania de Batz is most comfortable with a sword in her hand. When she practices with her father, a former Musketeer, Tania knows she is more than the “sick girl” with the sudden and debilitating dizziness that no one can explain.
But no number of drills or practice positions can prepare Tania when her father is violently killed with the murdered escaping into the night. Without Papa to champion her, Tania isn’t as confident that she can follow in his footsteps as a Musketeer–an uncertainty that grows when she finds out his last wish is for her to attend finishing school.
Upon arriving at L’Académie des Mariées, Tania soon realizes that it is no ordinary finishing school. Instead of preparing girls like Tania for marriage, the Academie is secret training a new type of Musketeer: one that most men are all to quick to take for granted.
With the other young women, Tania refines her swordwork alongside skills like disguise and seduction to protect France from outside threats. Instead of feeling stifled or othered at the school Tania feels like she’s found her purpose with girls who feel like sisters and new ways to navigate her chronic illness.
When the students are tasked with stopping an assassination plot, Tania’s loyalties will be tested as she tries to gather information from a dangerously attractive target. Training as a Musketeer is everything Tania has ever wanted, but even she isn’t sure if she should trust her newly honed instincts or her heart in One For All (2022) by Lillie Lainoff.
One For All is Lainoff’s debut novel. Tania’s first person narration immediately draws readers into her richly detailed world while making the frustrations and limitations of her chronic illness immediately understandable. As the author’s note explains, Tania’s experiences are informed by Lainoff’s own life as a competitive fencer who has postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Tania and most main characters are white. There’s some variety of skintones among secondary characters as well as characters across the LGBTQ+ spectrum.
This gender-flipped retelling of The Three Musketeers imagines a world where girls like Tania are able to find sisterhood and purpose operating in the shadows. With the Musketeers limited in their reach compared to the peak of their power, the stakes have never felt higher as Tania works to earn her place at the Academie. High action and cinematic swordfights move the story along while tender moments between Tania and her fellow Academie students show the importance of community and friendship. Tania’s illness is integral to her character and explored with nuance as she not only has to learn the limitations of her own body but also explain them to her new friends so that they can all work together.
Hints of romance permeate the story but at its core One For All is a story of empowerment and sisterhood where one girl learns that coming into her own can change everything.
Possible Pairings: Valiant Ladies by Melissa Gray, The Game of Hope by Sarah Gulland, The Reckless Kind by Carly Heath, Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers, Of Better Blood by Susan Moger, Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim