Wednesday, January 15, 2014

ARC Book Review: A Mad, Wicked Folly

A Mad, Wicked FollyAuthor: Sharon Biggs Waller
Publication Date: January 23, 2014
Publisher: Viking Juvenile

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?

He didn’t care if the artist was male or female; he let the work speak.

I never set out to pose nude. I didn’t, honestly. But when the opportunity arose, I took it.

When I was ten years old, I laid eyes for the first time on a painting called A Mermaid, which hung in the Royal Academy in London. The mermaid’s eyes seemed to call to me, telling me that creating someone like her was within my grasp. And like her maker, J.W. Waterhouse, I wanted to be considered among the best artists in the world. I wanted critics to laud my work. But most of all, I wanted to express myself through my art as I fancied, and not be told what or whom I could draw or paint. For all of these I needed knowledge and the connection with other artists who could introduce me to the mysterious society that made up the art world.


The synopsis and the cover of this book were telling and showing me everything that I wanted to hear and see. It promised to combine a wonderful Edwardian England setting and issues such as the suffragist movement with the beauty and splendor of the upper class, while throwing in a dash of romance. Fortunately for me, Susan Biggs Waller delivered on all of the above! This book met every single expectation I had for it, and left me wanting more from this debut author. This book combines art, history, a rebellious heroine with plenty of girl power, and a setting as beautiful and imaginable as Downton Abbey! I was pleased the entire way through.

Victoria Darling won my attention when she got kicked out of school for posing nude in front of some up and coming artists! Vicky is a very likeable character and it is so easy to be on her side throughout the entire book. I would like to think that if I were a young girl growing up in Edwardian England that I would be just as passionate and ambitious as she is about pursuing her dreams. Her journey starts on the very first page, and doesn’t stop until well over page four hundred! She is an excitable character that lets

The issue of women’s suffrage or the right to vote was talked about heavily in this novel. I, being the feminist that I am, could not have been happier. Women’s suffrage was even used to bring together our leading couple, Will and Vicky, as they met at a suffrage protest. I believe that Waller did a fantastic job of characterizing this movement and the people involved in it just like they were years ago. She recalls avid details and events that very well could have happened and she gave life and passion to the characters involved that were protesting for these rights! I loved every second of it.

***A copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Viking Juvenile in exchange for my honest review***

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