A Mad Wicked Folly
by: Sharon Biggs Waller
Release Date: January 23rd
Publisher: Viking (Penguin)
Source: ARC provided by publisher
Add A Mad Wicked Folly to your to-read list here.
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:
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?
So enjoyed this one! Right from page 1 I was hooked, I haven't laughed so hard at an opening chapter in a long time. I only wish I could've gotten to know artist friends more, they were an amazing part of this story.
Vicky is a fantastic narrator with a fresh voice, strong opinions and kick-ass attitude (well as much of as a Victorian lady can have haha). She's a woman who has been priviledged enough to be given the world in her young life, but she's been the denied the one thing she hungers for most- freedom- freedom of choice and freedom to pursue her dreams of becoming a professional artist. Unfortunately her father doesn't see the point in a woman learning such nonsense, and so Vicky's only hope is to find a new freedom in a marriage to Edmund, but is marriage with this to-good-to-be-true gentleman everything Victoria hopes it to be? Well I have to say it- you'll have to read to find out ;).
But of course, I can't forget to mention Will. Sweet, adorable, melt your heart Will. I loved the stolen moments between he and Vicky and my only complaint would have been for a little higher notch on the steam level between these two (yes I know this is YA but still). It's hard not to fall for this man, after all he does for Vicky, I know I loved him.
The back drop to this story does have significant historical influence, as it was a time of upheaval as women began to fight for their rights, and this context flew very nicely in contrast to Vicky's own personal struggles for her own freedoms. Now I'm not a historian and I couldn't tell you for sure whether or not things are historically accurate in this book (it is fiction after all) but I can say that this book and it's narrator are highly entertaining and will keep you reading right til the last page.
The ending was very satisfying and does leave it open for further instalments, however, I'd be very satisfied if A Mad Wicked Folly remained a standalone as well. Thoroughly enjoyed it, and would recommend it to YA fans who enjoy their reads with a strong heroine, a little history and a sweet romance to round it all out.