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?
It’s almost been a year since I read this book, but I can’t let the New Year ring in without reviewing it because A Mad, Wicked Folly was one of my FAVE books of 2014.
Imagine the lush world created in 1998’s Titanic film or the luxurious settings of PBS’s Downton Abbey, and you have the story world of A Mad, Wicked Folly. As if that isn’t enough to make someone run to their nearest book retailer and pick up a copy, A Mad, Wicked Folly unfolds in an exciting time: the crux of the Women’s Suffrage movement in London.
I LOVE historical fiction novels that have to do with the empowerment of women. This book made me want to run to the voting polls and exercise my right to vote for ANYTHING. It made me appreciate the rich history of women fighting for equal rights for the sake of future generations of women and for the sake of social justice.
Victoria aka Vicky is the stuff that hardy heroines are made of. She is a talented artist and has a good head on her shoulders. She dares to step outside of the obligations and restraints of her social class and pursue her heart’s desire. While doing so, she causes quite the scandal and her parent’s rush to marry her off to some rich dolt.
Vicky will not have it.
Her thoughts, ideas, perspective- her whole world is set on fire after discovering the woman’s suffrage movement in London upon coming home from art school in Paris, and things will never be the same for her. She’s no longer able to settle into the life her parent’s had planned for her, and in this brilliantly written novel we watch Vicky blossom into a woman.
Everything is beautifully described in the novel. The historical context was so inspiring, and the working-class boy she falls for provides for a dangerous and steamy Edwardian romance. Her clandestine relationship reminds me of Rose and Jack from the Titanic film.
I cannot recommend this book enough. I adore this book and wish I had reviewed it sooner when it was still fresh in my mind so I could have elaborated more on it’s charms. Needless to say, A Mad, Wicked Folly is one of those books that I will cherish, and reread, and want to pass on to my future daughter.
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