Friday, March 14, 2014

A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller [Review]

A Mad, Wicked Folly4 out of 5 Robots!
  


A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Release: January 23, 2014
Hardcover: 448 Pages
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
My Copy: Purchased
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
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?
(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
This book is getting mad props in the book blog world, so I immediately went out to read it.  And I can see why everyone likes it so much.  It is a beguiling read.  Vicky wants to be an artist, but as a wealthy woman in the early 20th century she is expected to marry and have kids.  But Vicky won't be deterred.  She desperately tries to find a way to be able to attend the Royal College of Art, even if that means marrying someone she doesn't love so she can appease her parents and have her own money to pay tuition.  She finds things are not going to be as easy as she hopes and meets several roadblocks along the way. Of course, as undaunted as Vicky is, she is also pretty naive.   While I found myself rooting for Vicky sometimes her naivety frustrated me.  Will, her working class love interest, is, of course, adorable and dreamy.  I also loved how well researched this book is.  It was almost seamlessly added into the fold of the plot and I never felt like I was getting a "history lesson" while reading.

Buuuuutttttt, once I got to the end, there was something that held me back from loving this book as much as everyone else.  I felt Vicky lived such a charmed life and everything was just TOO easy for her. Sure, she has resistance and her reputations is "ruined".  But really almost everyone she meets is supportive and helps her.  Will is almost too perfect.  (Don't get wrong, I loved the guy, but he was nothing short of amazing.) Considering all the societal conventions set against Vicky, everything was fairly easy for her.  Arguably the hardest part of her life was summed up in only about one chapter.  I wanted to feel the struggle.  I wanted to feel her sacrifices.  I wanted to feel her dilemma. I just never felt there were any real consequences to her actions.  It was just a little too much rah-rah sisterhood pie-in-the-sky may-all-your-dreams-comes-true at the end for me. But I will still give it a good rating because I was immensely entertained while reading.  And, as I mentioned, I was completely rooting for Vicky and falling in love with Will.  It is definitely worth a read and a good reminder of our feminist history.

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