Book Review: A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

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?

I couldn’t wait to read this book based on the synopsis and I really was not disappointed at all.

Historical fiction is a serious obsession of mine, and anytime a young adult book comes out that is set in an interesting historical time period and one that deals with the social aspects of life during that time is going to capture my eye and most likely find a fan in me.

As much as I adored this book for the concept of a woman trying to find a place in the world of art, which was clearly a men’s world, the most important story line in this was really not highlighted in the synopsis.  As an American, we always study the suffragete movement as it happened here, and we really never get into the details of the movement as it happened in England.

In fact, the only notion I have of the suffragette movement in England is from Mary Poppins.

 

Anyway, I loved that Waller really focused the novel on the importance of female empowerment and how terrible it was for our predecessors to become independent and learn to rely on themselves instead of their fathers, brothers, or husbands.  Plus, it just made it even more perfect that the love story (which was by no means a main focal point in the story) fit into this trope perfectly.  Speaking of the love story, I really enjoyed how great it was, but I loved that it wasn’t the main focus of the story.  A lot of times with period novels, there will be a significant focus on finding “the one” and their perfect husband to create their perfect life, and it is somewhat annoying.

All in all, I adored this book and I recommend it for anyone who is looking for a great historical read and an amazing look into the suffragete movement in England.

5 Bards.

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