A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller
published on January 23, 2014 by Viking Juvenile
historical fiction | romance
Welcome to the world of the fabulously wealthy in London, 1909, where dresses and houses are overwhelmingly opulent, social class means everything, and women are taught to be nothing more than wives and mothers. Into this world comes seventeen-year-old Victoria Darling, who wants only to be an artist—a nearly impossible dream for a girl.
After Vicky poses nude for her illicit art class, she is expelled from her French finishing school. Shamed and scandalized, her parents try to marry her off to the wealthy Edmund Carrick-Humphrey. But Vicky has other things on her mind: her clandestine application to the Royal College of Art; her participation in the suffragette movement; and her growing attraction to a working-class boy who may be her muse—or may be the love of her life. As the world of debutante balls, corsets, and high society obligations closes in around her, Vicky must figure out: just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dreams?
With a quirky-sounding premise that instantly caught my attention, A Mad, Wicked Folly was one of those books that I just had to read when it came out. And true to my word, I did.
There were many things I liked about A Mad, Wicked Folly. The thing I probably loved most was was the funny, light–but still very authentic–writing style. It made me feel as if I were in the year 1909, but things were still understandable and not boring at all. I learned a lot of terms and lingo that I can use around my friends to piss them off or mess with them. But seriously though, the writing style was absolutely gorgeous.
Aside from that, we had a pretty determined heroine who set her sights on things she really wanted. But she was no perfect character. Half of the time, I wanted to stab her eyeballs out while the other half, I felt like hugging her. The main issue with Vicky was that her character felt kind of inconsistent. Sometimes, she was kind and hardworking. She did everything she could to pursue her dreams of going to art college and becoming a famous artist who gets her work displayed with the other art legends. Other times, she was leaving Will and using people and tearing my heart out–can I hit her head with a rock? Please?
Speaking of Will, he was freaking adorable. I loved his character and just wanted to pinch his cheeks! Okay, I’m making him sound like a chubby five year old. But let me tell you, a child he is not! Will was an honorable gentleman through and through. He may have posed nude for Vicky to draw, but it’s just a drawing! Even to the suffragettes who were considered lowly by other men, Will treated them all with kindness and respect.
Their romance was pretty cute. Then again, Vicky was engaged to Edmund Humphrey during the time she was sort-of flirting with Will. It was understandable, considering she thought of their relationship to be one between an artist and her muse. I liked how their shared their passion for art (Vicky loved to draw and Will was a writer) and how similar they sort of were. It really sucked that she didn’t tell Will that she was engaged until it was too late. Like, can you please stop being a bitch, Vicky? But she definitely redeemed herself in the ending, though.
“The world doesn’t work the same way for a woman.”
The sideline characters brought more meaning to the novel. We have the suffragettes who wanted respect and equality. There were Vicky’s parents who were
pure evil made her work harder to achieve her goals, even if they didn’t support her at first. Vicky’s brother was also very kind, and I adored how all he wanted to do was help his sister through everything.
Overall, this was a really enjoyable read. It began a little odd for my tastes, but after the 20% mark, things started to get more interesting and I couldn’t stop reading. I would recommend this to anyone looking for something pro-feminism with a cute romance (and an adorable male lead).
Other Reviews and Opinions
1. Debby @ Snuggly Oranges said that the book “boasts a powerful main character, beautiful supporting cast, and an addictive romance, which is all complimented by one of the most beautiful writing styles [she’s] yet encountered” and is hosting a giveaway!
2. Khanh @ Bookistry had a lot of complaints about this one and said that it “book failed to execute the message.”
Have you read this book? If you have, what did you think of it? If you haven’t, will you be getting it once it hits the shelves?