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 is torn. Just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dreams?
First Sentence: I never set out to pose nude.
I’m sure everybody has heard of A Mad, Wicked Folly by now. I have personally heard tons of great things about A Mad, Wicked Folly floating around in the blogosphere. Everyone was boasting about how good the book was, how it featured a strong female character people would love, and how I would definitely love it if I read it myself. It turns out in this case that the blogosphere was right; I did enjoy reading A Mad, Wicked Folly. In fact, I enjoyed reading it a lot. A Mad, Wicked Folly is probably one of my favorite books of the year and that’s a very high compliment indeed.
“Don’t be an ass, Pierre,” Bertram said. “She’s just a girl.”
There it was again: I was just a girl.
“Pardonnez-moi!” Pierre replied. “I thought she was an artist. She pretends to be.” (5)
Vicky was a fantastic strong character. If I was in her position, I’ll be cowering in my bed, refusing to come out, but no, Vicky went out and did things, even when the odds were against her. Not only did Vicky pose nude in front of a group of boys, she kept aiming for her goal again and again, even after she landed into heaps of trouble, including being arrested. I would have fainted and had a heart attack by then if I was her. (I’m dead serious about that.) Vicky was like a Katniss in her own unique way. Instead of fighting in the games and trying to save her sibling like Katniss did, Vicky was fighting against the world and society, trying to make her dreams come true, and even setting an example for future generations.
The romance in A Mad, Wicked Folly was absolutely adorable. There was no insta-love and the romance in A Mad, Wicked Folly just made me smile like an absolute fool. It had me grinning widely in the subway and made me think about it when I’m supposed to be doing homework. A Mad, Wicked Folly also explored the idea of an arranged marriage back in the Victorian era. (I’m not completely sure if you call it “an arranged marriage,” but to me, it definitely is one.) I won’t tell you how the arranged marriage ends, you’ll have to read the book for yourself.
“So I either marry a man I don’t know or like, or go live in deepest darkest Norfolk, shut away like a cloistered nun never to be seen again? Times are different now, Mamma. Women can marry for love. It’s not like in your day.” (41)
I love reading historical fiction, especially books set in at or near the Victorian times, and boy, did A Mad Wicked, Folly over-exceed my expectations when it comes to the amount of historical detail it has. There was just so much historical detail in every chapter that I actually picture everything clearly – the characters, the setting, and the constraints of society. The best part is, the many details of the world didn’t bore me to death. In fact, it didn’t bore me at all – I found myself skipping nothing and reading every single sentence slowly and carefully to enjoy the story even more.
Overall, this might be my shortest review yet because I have absolutely no negative things to say about the book, but guys, I just want to hug this book. I am going to say this one: go out and get this book. It is worth your $20, trust me. And when you do read this one and finish it, you can always thank me later. Or maybe we can just swoon over this book together.