A Mad, Wicked Folly

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A Mad, Wicked Folly
Age Range
12+
Release Date
January 23, 2014
ISBN
978-0670014682
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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?

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A Delight
Overall rating 
 
5.0
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5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
What I Liked:
There’s a special place in my heart for the books that leave me with a huge, goofy grin on my face. Seriously, you should see me right now, because I look like a fool. And I am one hundred percent okay with that, because this book was so fluffy and feminist and wonderful. A Mad, Wicked Folly exceeded all of my expectations, managing to be both hilarious, romantic and to make more serious points all at once.

Vicky’s parents sent her to France to attend a finishing school. You know, walking around with a book on her head and rubbish like that. What her parents did not expect was for her to take up with a local artist group, drawing nudes. The final straw comes the day she poses nude herself. At this point, you’re probably a bit shocked, because a YA heroine posing nude in the first chapter? What even is that? Awesome is what that is. See, the nude posing is all about how committed Vicky is to her art. All the guys in her class have posed nude, and she wants to be equal.

When I read the blurb, the heroine posing nude was intriguing but worrisome. Actually, that first chapter sets the tone for the whole book perfectly. Sometimes attention-grabbing openings like that really don’t fit in with the book as whole, but were kept because of what a good hook they make. That’s not the case here. In choosing to pose nude, Vicky’s setting a course for her future, in which she puts her dreams of an art career over the demands of high society. Though she was afraid of posing nude, she finds a strength and confidence in doing so. I love so much that, despite the inevitable fallout, never once does Vicky question her decision. She knows she acted precisely the way she needed to for herself.

As you might have guessed, Vicky’s a real spitfire. Her parents drag her back to London, determined to salvage her reputation by marrying her off quick as can be. At first, Vicky’s completely opposed, but then she figures out that Edmund, her intended, will be more likely to let her attend an art college than her recalcitrant, old-minded father. While being put through the rigamarole of her return to society and wedding planning, Vicky has to sneak around to get her portfolio ready for her application to RCA, the art college of her dreams.

Along the way, Vicky gets mixed up with the suffragist movement. Initially drawn by the urge to sketch the female protesters, she becomes more and more committed to the movement and convinced that women do deserve equal rights. Her vibrant personality and determination are invaluable. She really does seem like she can accomplish anything she sets her mind to. Can you tell that I love this girl? I also love that she’s not perfect. Vicky doesn’t always think through things realistically, tending more towards a logic not yet found in her time. She can be slow on the uptake and doesn’t excel at seeing things from other people’s points of view.

The focus on Vicky’s art and on the movement to obtain votes for women added depth to an otherwise flufftastic story. Don’t get me wrong, as I love fluff, but I did like the addition of real world issues to the romantic aspects and pretty dresses. This book has everything: strong women, humor, fashion, art, and a sexy male lead. All I’m saying is that I would not mind copping a feel, if you know what I mean. View Spoiler » Adding to a book I already loved, I am so glad that Waller left the story where she did, with a suitably happy ending, but one that doesn’t fall into a traditional romance HEA.

The Final Verdict:
What’s not to like about A Mad, Wicked Folly? I can’t think of a thing. Many squees and flails were had, and I’m still sporting my goofy grin.
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Loved It
Overall rating 
 
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I actually really loved this book. It was a great standalone read and I really enjoyed reading it.

First off, I loved the main character Victoria Darling. I like how she stood for what she believed in, especially towards the end of the novel. I think she was a great, strong main character that embodied what women felt when trying to get the chance to vote and become more represented in society. I loved how passionate she was about her art and how she kept trying to do it, even when obstacles got in her way - whether it was her parents, her finance, or her fiance's parents. I liked how she kept going and she was a great main character.

I liked how descriptive this book was. When I started reading it, I immediately felt like I was right there with Victoria and that was awesome. The building of the setting in the book was good and it didn't get boring or hinder the pace of the plot very much. I think the author did a great job of really transporting you to London, 1909.

I loved the story of the suffragettes. The suffragettes were a big part of this story and I liked that. I really liked learning about the suffragettes while also enjoying the story at hand. The suffragettes were actually people and it was interesting learning what they went through so they could try and secure voting rights for women. I loved the characters involved with the suffragette movement. Victoria meets people who do art for the suffragette movement and people that risk their life to be put into jail for the suffragette movement and I really liked that aspect of the book.

I really liked the romance between Victoria and William, the working class man. I thought it was sweet and nice. I liked reading about their romance slowly blossoming while they run into each other in random spots or when William becomes her muse. I thought the romance was a strong part of the book, but I am glad that the author didn't make it the central focus of the plot.

I really liked the ending. I loved how Victoria started doing things she wanted and how she stopped worrying about what her parents thought because once she did that, she was much happier and I loved that. I think the book ended very strong and smart and I really loved the ending.
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