Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: A Mad Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

A Mad, Wicked FollyTitle: Mad Wicked Folly
Author: Sharon Biggs Waller
Publisher:   Viking Juvenile 
Publishing Date: January 3rd 2014
Pages: 448
Genre:  YA Historical Fiction
Series: stand alone
Source: audio


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?

The cover to this book really drew me in. I wasn't real sure what it was about when I decided to read it. What I knew... historical fiction, beautiful cover, takes place in Europe, about a girl who wants to be an artist. I was in for quite a surprise.There was so much more to this book and I enjoyed every bit of it. A very emotional read for me. Not a tear jerker, but it was a bit of an anger maker. In a good way. 

Vicky wants to be an artist in 1909, in England. She is from a very high society family and what is expected of her is to marry, be a socialite, wife, and mother. Vicky has other plans. After posing nude for an art class in Paris, her parents bring her back to London and attempt to repair her reputation. Word got a around and her parents are not happy. They decided to announce her eligible for marriage and make a deal with her. Her boring Aunt's in the country or marry a rich high standing man. She decides marrying this man is her only hope to go to art school. This book is the journey she takes in a society that doesn't make easy for to her make her own dream come true. 

I love historical fiction, mainly because I love to feel the era and learn of the ways people lived in the past. I must be drawn into the setting to see clearly the time I am reading about. I want the language, the descriptions, and the characters to bring history to life for me. I don't know much about history but I know when it feels right. This book felt right. The author did an amazing job of making me live 1909 in London. The setting, the tone, the characters, it was all there. The writing was just right. 

I loved the story. The story had so much depth. Any person, especially women, know what women through in the past in order to receive rights, rights to speak, rights to an opinion, rights to vote. Its in all our history books, Although I learned the American journey in school, I was pretty sure it was much the same in England. This book really brought forth what women went through. How they were treated and how far they have come to be respected. It was a hard journey and the main character, Vicky, did what she could to prove she was as capable as any man with same dream. It was nice to see her fight, but it was also nice to clearly see the fight all around. The story wasn't just about Vicky, although she was the focus, the story went into many issues with woman's rights in this time period. It made me angry then made me proud. It was a feel good book in the end. 

Vicky was a wonderful main character. Defiant, independent, stubborn, determined. Everything that is good in a main character. She also had her flaws. Sometimes she made me want to hit something. She was clueless at many moments in the story, but it was pretty much expected of her knowing her upbringing. I was happy to watch how she grew as she strengthened herself and her proved her independence. She was strong and I just adored her. 

I also loved her friends, Sophie and Lucy. Lucy was bit annoying at the beginning but she grew on me. She was a true leader and she did what she had to do bring attention to her cause. She was committed. She was also a loyal friend. I just loved Sophie. She was also very independent and defiant. She just went about it a bit quieter than some. She was also a very loyal friend. 

The romance in the book was just right for me. Sweet and passionate. The love interest, Will, was definitely swoon worthy, sweet, noble, a real hero. Loved loved loved him. The romance was paced well. It started off friendship then led to more and I was so rooting for Will throughout the entire book. 

Another aspect of the book I really enjoyed was the art world of the story. The writing of the art world was done very well. It was very interesting to read about Vicky's artwork, how she posed models, how she started her drawings and finished them. It felt very authentic. 

The pacing was very good for the story. I fell into the story very quickly and it wasn't so much as a page turner but it kept my interest steady throughout the read. It was a very easy enjoyable read with just enough excitement to keep me feeling completely satisfied with the ride. 

A great book I would recommend any historical reader or readers who would love to give historical fiction a shot. 

Sharon Biggs Waller Sharon Biggs Waller grew up around artists and developed a passion for Edwardian history and the Pre-Raphaelites when she moved to England in 2000. She did extensive research on the British suffragettes for her novel, A MAD, WICKED FOLLY when she wasn’t working as a riding instructor at the Royal Mews in Buckingham Palace and as a freelance magazine writer. She also writes non-fiction books about horses under her maiden name, Sharon Biggs. She is a dressage rider and trainer and lives on a 10-acre sustainable farm in Northwest Indiana with her British husband, Mark. Visit her

1 comment:

  1. This one is sitting on my desk. brand new. Haven't put it in the catalog yet...I think I MUST grab it. I love historical fiction, and I've read such good things about it. Great review!


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