Friday, 27 March 2015

A Mad, Wicked Folly

Title: A Mad, Wicked Folly
Author: Sharon Biggs Waller
Pages: 406
Publisher: Viking
Source: Bought
Rating: 5/5

Summary (from Good Reads): 
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?

A Mad, Wicked Folly was on my list of books that I really, really wanted in 2014, but never got round to buying until January came around this year when I finally bought it (thank you Christmas money!) and honestly, I could not think of a better book to spend my money on. As someone who loves YA, particularly Contemporary, I haven't read any historical fiction despite the fact that I study History at University, so this was an introduction to the genre and I wasn't disappointed. 

One of the things I loved about this book was a big focus on the Suffragette movement and how a young, upper class girl fits into this. Although fiction, you could tell a lot of research had been done on the period and the Suffragettes and that's not just because there was a bibliography at the back. As someone who really enjoys learning about the Suffragette movement, there are things that I leant when reading this that made me go and look into things further. 

Another thing I loved was our main character Vicky, and that's not just because we share the same name! Vicky was a unique character, in which she was different from her mother, who I felt was a bit 'all about the image', whereas Vicky was a lot more focused on what she wanted out of life and how to get there. I think that having Vicky as the main character, who was such an empowering figure, was such a good move for this story, and I loved seeing her progression from where the book started to where we saw her at the end of it, if that makes sense!

Obviously as a fictional book, you can't guarantee that it'll be entirely factual, however I think Sharon Biggs Waller has done a really good job of making it as factual but interesting as it can be! Although I haven't read historical fiction before, I get the vibe that sometimes the information can be overwhelming at times whereas I didn't feel overwhelmed at all reading this. 

There are so many reasons I gave this book 5 stars, but mainly it's because the writing was great, the characters stood for something and I learnt something! I love learning new things and this provided that for me.

Just to add something else to my experience of this book, I recently got in touch with Sharon  to tell her how much I loved it and Sharon, being ever so kind, sent me a signed bookmark and poem sheet which was so lovely. Sharon is so nice as well and such a nice lady to talk too!

If there's one thing I can add, it's that you should most definitely give A Mad, Wicked Folly a read, like, right now!

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