Author: Sharon Biggs Waller
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Release Date: January 23rd 2014
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 adore reading historical novels set in the Victorian era. I wish I could be in that era and wear pretty dresses! But in those times, women don’t play a vital role in society—at least not as vital a role as men did—and I’ve always wondered if I would ever get to read a historical novel that would challenge how women were treated in society.
I’m so glad I read A Mad Wicked Folly because I’ve been waiting for a book like this for the longest time! It’s very moving to read a book about the struggles of women and their fight for equality. I love how Victoria rebelled against a very patriarchal society. She isn’t afraid to pursue her dreams even if the odds are against her. She’s constantly challenging the society, daring it to stop her. Even if her family was against her being an artist, she still pursued it. I can relate to Victoria in many ways. Like her, I also encounter some hurdles, and just like her I do believe that women should have the same opportunities with men. Women’s opinions should also be heard and valued.
Women’s right to suffrage wasn’t only about having the right to vote, it was about having our voices heard. It opened new doors for us; it gave us opportunities that weren’t present before. A Mad Wicked Folly also has some tidbits that were based on actual events and actual people which lend more credibility to the book.
There were also a lot of references to the prevalent art form of that era. You could really tell that the author did thorough research and she knows what she was talking about. The description of the art, the places, customs and people of that era was lush and vivid. It was such a pleasure to be immersed in the world of this book.
Some people are avoiding the book because it has feministic themes, like feminism is a bad thing. But it’s not. Feminists aren’t bad people, they only want the same opportunities and privileges that men have. Simple as that. It’s not a bad thing to want equality.
I especially love the ending of the book because I think it was the right thing to happen. Victoria got what she wanted but not without a cost but she still gladly accepted it. I think I’m just glad that everything ended well for her because as I read the book, I became much attached to her because I see myself in her.
This is definitely something you should try if you’re looking for a YA novel with a fresh perspective.