Published January 22, 2014
Trade paperback, 448 pages
When it comes to YA historical fiction, there aren't many out there, so I was excited to read A Mad Wicked Folly, which I thoroughly enjoyed! London 1909 was a time of struggling changes when women fought to be heard through the suffragette movement. Victoria Darling was born in the upper middle class, where women were taught to be nothing more than wives and mothers. But Victoria longed to be an artist. Unfortunately, her parents were only scandalized by her view of things and forced her to mold to their expectations. Victoria learns that if she is to follow her dreams, she will have to sacrifice the comforts of her present life to embrace another.
I found the premise of the plot in A Mad Wicked Folly to be unique and well executed. The author researched the novel well and even included real people as characters in her novel, such as the the Pankhurst sisters who were British suffragettes. I loved that Victoria was an artist and that we learn how art was viewed and used in that era, especially regarding the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The author includes notes at the end of her novel which were great to read.
Victoria Darling was a great character. She was strong and intelligent and went to great lengths to get what she wanted. Her character grew and changed as the story progressed and she went from being a girl who loved to draw to a woman artist who learned that social change begins first within herself. Sophie and Will were also great characters.
There is a scene where Victoria poses nude for an art class, and I want to point out it was not sexual at all. It was really to demonstrate how life-drawing classes helped artist learn to draw anatomy. Victoria was a serious student of art, and I appreciated that the author differentiated art from romance. Speaking of romance, it was well done and did not overpower, only added to, the storyline which was fantastic.
Fans of YA and historical fiction will be delighted with this novel. I look forward to reading more from Sharon Biggs Waller, and can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.
Disclosure: Thanks to Vikki VanSickle from Penguin for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.