Review: A Mad Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

Posted January 18, 2014 by lockhartbecca in Uncategorized / 10 Comments

A Mad Wicked Folly

Author: Sharon Biggs Waller
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Format: ARC, Paperback, 448 pages
Release Date: January 23, 2013
Source: Gifted to me from Kate @ Ex Libris
Rating: 5 Stars
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Synopsis
from Goodreads:
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?
My Review:
So
the amazing Kate @ Ex Libris threw this ARC into my TBTB Santa box because she
is so amazing. I had heard little to nothing about this book, but read the
synopsis and thought it sounded pretty good. Let me tell you, it was. I have
just been starting to dip my toe into the historical fiction genre and man what
was wrong with me before? I should’ve been reading historical fiction a long
time ago. The fashion, the history, the characters. I just can’t. I love it.
A Mad Wicked Folly
follows the story of Victoria, a girl who wants nothing more than to become a
successful artist. But that’s nearly impossible for a girl to do. A good woman
is supposed to get married, have babies, and attend to all household and social
obligations. Bleh. I would have died during this time period. Anyway, Victoria
poses nude for an art class she is secretly taking and of course major scandal
ensues. Her parents make it nearly impossible for her to pursue her art, but
she is bound and determined.
I
really enjoyed Victoria’s character. She thought out of the box (for the time
period) and didn’t just go through the motions of life that she was supposed
to. Victoria was ballsy from the start, but yet, still tentative and unsure of herself. But she develops into this amazing character and is nearly unrecognizable by the end. I loved watching her journey. I loved watching her learn to make
her own decisions, to not take the easy way out, and to live her life for the
only person who matters: herself.

“She knows where she belongs, where she fits in. No one
tells her what to do or how to spend her days. She’s completely and utterly
free.” –Victoria

The
suffragette movement is in full swing during this time period and I loved reading
about it. I haven’t read too much about the suffragette movement (except for
what I was forced to in history classes), but reading about it in this book put
it into a whole new perspective. These women are incredibly brave. The things
that they do to fight for the rights that I now have, I don’t know if I could
have done. You can certainly tell that the author did her research here. She
references several different horrors these women experienced and wrote about it
in such a way that I was rallying and cheering for them from my couch.
Okay,
I can’t wait anymore. Can we talk about the romance? Oh. My. God. I can’t tell
you the last time my heart raced so much. This romance was so scandalous and so
forbidden and it just made it all the more juicy. Will was so freaking swoony.
I think it’s the uniform; he’s a police constable. A man in power always gets
me. But seriously he’s sweet, charismatic, a family man, a writer. Yeah, that’s
right, I said he’s a writer. There was one scene that I just sat there gaping,
heart pounding so loud I swear I could hear it. This romance was intense,
slow-burning and absolutely incredible. If you don’t read this book for
anything else, read it for the romance.
The
plot is slow. There’s not much action going on, but I didn’t mind. (Yes, me the
action-loving girl.) The story was just so rich and so well-developed that I
couldn’t put it down. Even during chapters when not too much happened. I cried
over these poor girls’ struggle. I cried over Victoria’s internal struggle with
herself. Her battle over who she was and who she wanted to be in the world. In
a word, this book was astounding. This is one that I will definitely reread and
will most certainly be purchasing a finished copy of. Thanks again Kate for
giving me this fantastic book! Happy reading all! 
Have you read this one? What did you think of the romance? And the suffragette movement? Any other amazing historical fiction recs  for me? 

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10 responses to “Review: A Mad Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

  1. For some reason the synopsis just didn't pique my interest, but after reading your review (especially the romance part of it) I'll have to add it to my TBR list. If you loved it, I'm sure I will too! ~Pam

  2. I don't typically read historical novels. However, based off of your review, I think I may give this one a try. It sounds like something I'd really enjoy. I'm a sucker for books with a good romance. I do question the slow plot. I know sometimes I have a hard time reading books with a slow plot. So I'll have to wait and see about that.

    • You should totally read it!! I don't usually like books with a slower plot, but this one captured my attention the whole time. There were some action-packed scenes with the suffragette movement though that help move it along. And the romance will have you swooning hardcore.

  3. Awesome review! I really enjoy historical romances anyway, but hearing about the intense swoon worthy male lead won me over. I'm adding this to my TBR list. Man in uniform, AND he writes…sigh. And a heroine that sounds like she has some backbone. Perfect! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Oh man, this sounds so good. I've actually never heard of this book before (or maybe I've seen it around and just can't remember it haha) but I've added it to my TBR. Basically the writer love interest has grabbed me lol.

    Umm historical YA:
    -Venom by Fiona Paul is pretty good (set in Renaissance Venice, I think? cant remember exactly)
    -not really YA but Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson is quite good, although also really cliched haha

    And some more recent historicals
    -Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys (WWII). Also Out of the Easy by the same author (can't remember when that one's set)
    -Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (WWII)

    • I am so excited that you're going to read this!! Can't wait to hear your thoughts!

      Thank you so much for all the recommendations! I will definitely be checking them out. I have Code Name Verity and I can't wait to read it! And I've heard of Between Shades of Grey, but I guess I didn't realize it was historical fiction. I don't think I've ever actually read the synopsis. Just seen it around.

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