Friday, January 17, 2014

ARC Review: A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: January 23, 2014
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
448 Pages

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?

I don't read much young adult historical fiction, and honestly, I have no idea why. Most of what I've read in the genre have blown me out of the water. A Mad, Wicked Folly  is no exception. This was a novel that has continued to draw my eye to it though I did not know much about it, and only a few reviews were listed, but when offered the chance, I readily agreed to read and review it.

All Vicky Darling has ever wanted is to become an artist, and she will do anything to accomplish her goal. When her life is rocked with scandal, and the only way for her to continue her work is by marrying a young man she barely knows, she agrees to do so. Vicky knows that without the help of her future husband's money, there is no way she could attend the Royal College of Art and follow her dreams. She needs him, and she's not about to let the suffragettes, or a handsome policeman get in her way--no matter how much she agrees with the cause, or cares for the man. But when it's all said and done, Vicky must take her future into her own hands and decide what is really important.

All of the characters in this novel had such depth. Vicky, Will, Edmund, and even Vicky's parents come alive on these pages. I loved learning about each and every one of them. They each brought something important to the table that made this novel utterly phenomenal. Vicky is extremely easy to understand, and easily relatable. She's a good person, who knows what she wants and is not afraid to do what it takes to meet her goal. She makes mistakes, and doesn't always say the right thing, but she's a good person. Vicky matured before our very eyes, and Waller portrayed her growth beautifully. Her perspective was enchanting. And William? Swoon. He's perfect. He's a wonderful companion for Vicky. They not only have fun together, but they understand each other and their goals. He's kind to her, and shows her care and kindness even when she has hurt him. Their interactions were brilliant and had me falling in love with them in an instant.

Waller took this story to an unexpected level. When starting this book, I thought I knew what the layout would be, and how this young woman's story would play out. I was sure that romance would end up playing the largest role in A Mad, Wicked Folly. Boy, was I wrong. Waller makes this story not just about Vicky and her choice of a husband, but about life in suppression and how difficult (and grand) it can be to break free. It is also quite a bit about self-discovery, a real coming-of-age tale. It was interesting to read about a girl growing up in such a different era, and learning about her struggles then and comparing them to the struggles of young women now. The historical aspects of this novel really tied in well, and I was glad to see that it wasn't all romanticized. This is based off of real events that shaped the world of today, and the author did a wonderful job of showing that it wasn't all rainbows and butterflies getting here.

There is nothing about this story that I did not enjoy. It kept me on my toes, and though it had a slow start, A Mad, Wicked Folly enchanted me from the very first page. Even the end was fantastic--not everything was wrapped up with a tidy little bow. There were those who never came around, and things that were not solved, but Vicky found happiness with herself and I think that's what is important. I liked this so much more than I thought I would, and I'm happy that I gave it a chance. Don't let the page count through you off, this book is well worth the length, and by the end, you be sad that there isn't more!
I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher for my honest opinion and review.


  1. Woah. I really like the cover. I love how the girl's yellow dress totally pops out at you. :) Truly, books with in-depth characters are the best books to love and connect to. Great review!

    Cindy @ In This World of Books..

    1. The first thing I noticed about this one was the cover! The contrast is very eye-catching. And I definitely agree!

      Thanks for stopping by! :)

  2. This sounds great- even better than I had hoped! It will absolutely be going on my TBR list!

    1. Eee! Good! I'm glad I was able to help convince you to read this one. You won't be sorry! It's phenomenal. :)

  3. I'm so excited for this one! A friend's letting me borrow her ARC, and she made sure to tell me that this one is full of girl power, not just romance. Yay!!! And then I come here and see a full 5 stars!!!


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