A Mad, Wicked Folly

Paperback | June 2, 2015

bySharon Biggs Waller

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Fans of Downton Abbey will find exactly what they're looking for in this romantic, historical drama

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?

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From the Publisher

Fans of Downton Abbey will find exactly what they're looking for in this romantic, historical dramaWelcome 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 seve...

Sharon Biggs Waller moved to England in 2000, where she worked as a riding instructor at the Royal Mews in Buckingham Palace and as a freelance magazine writer. These days she is a dressage rider and trainer and lives on a ten-acre sustainable farm in Northwest Indiana with her British husband, Mark. She is the author of three non-fict...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:448 pages, 8.23 × 5.5 × 1.12 inPublished:June 2, 2015Publisher:Penguin Young Readers GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:014242790X

ISBN - 13:9780142427903

Customer Reviews of A Mad, Wicked Folly

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Historical Fiction Book I've Read and Best of 2014. I hate historical fiction, and if you've read my other reviews, you will know that I really dislike the concept. But something about A Mad Wicked Folly was just spectacular and intrigued me in. But seriously, look at that cover. It's madness because it's just so beautiful! A Mad Wicked Folly is now one of my newest favourite books. It's just so good, and so hard to let go, because you will feel like you want to be in the world of Victoria Darling forever and ever. It's one of those books that will leave you wanting more, even if its a standalone novel, and it's one of those that you just want to forget about to, because you will be staying up late into the night thinking about what the heck I just got you into. So here we have Victoria Darling, daughter of rich parents in London in 1909. She lives a life in boarding school in France, where she has a secret adoration for art that almost nobody knows about. One day, she poses nude in front of male artists and is expelled from school and returns to London, where her parents try to change her reputation by trying to get her to marry Edmund Carrick-Humphrey, who is willing to join Vicky's father's business. Vicky is torn apart by the wealthy man who can help her get into art college and the man that she fell in love with at first sight. We hardly find characters like Vicky, and that's just another reason why Sharon Biggs Waller has created absolute excellence. Vicky charmed me and sucked me into her story from the beginning, with her witty and humorous point of view. She easily can fool people, and was a perfect mischievous liar who definitely gave me a lot of fun when reading this extraordinary novel. Thus, I'm begging you to read her story. Will Fletcher... I seriously am in love with you. There are only a few male fictional characters that I fell in love with when reading the books that they starred in: Four from Divergent, Augustus from TFIOS, Kishan from the Tiger's Curse series and Christian from the Unearthly trilogy. I am very proud to announce that Will Fletcher has now joined the group. He was exactly the type of person that I wanted Vicky to be with in the beginning. They completed each other, and it's really hard to find that sort of chemistry between characters in books. Sharon Biggs Waller basically aced that part of writing, and mainly everything else as well. The plot, from beginning to end, was absolutely spectacular. Never have I ever felt this wondrous and dreamy when reading a book, the last time I felt this way was a long time ago. I love reading amazing books like this because they just warm my heart and I will never forget about them. I never got bored reading this book, not even once, and that's truly the power of awesome authors. Their books just suck you in from beginning to end with their beautiful stories and characters. Perfection, check. A Mad Wicked Folly is just one of those books that will blow your eye sockets out because it's just that amazing. Make room onto your bookshelf, this book definitely deserves a space in there.
Date published: 2014-04-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Review from Swept Away By Books A Mad, Wicked Folly was so beautifully written and intensely researched that it's impossible not to be pulled into this historical story just for this history in itself. Taking place in 1909, right in the heart of the Woman's Suffrage movement, our protagonist, Vicky, is determined to go to the Royal College of Art, despite her over bearing and close minded father's declaration of her not going. Vicky was the kind of character who was impossible not to love and root for. She is tough, feisty and incredibly determined to take her life in her own hands and make her own decisions. She falls in love with her muse, Police Constable William Fletcher, who was a supporter of the Suffragetes. Their romance was sweet and frustrating, despite the almost love triangle Vicky finds herself in in order for her to go to the RCA. It's a sad fact that the only way she felt she could get out from under her father's thumb was to marry another man, and although it may have worked, he too was the kind of man who wanted to control Vicky. The research Waller did on this book was extensive, from the clothing, to the treatment of the Suffragettes in prison, to the lingo, atmosphere and experiences the woman had while fighting for their rights. I loved that the book took place in this time period because it's one i've never read about before, and it was so interesting learning about something I never had much knowledge on. A Mad, Wicked Folly was a beautiful story about one girl's desire to be something more than what the men in her life wanted her to be, her fight for her rights as a human being, and a sweet love story.
Date published: 2014-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Historical Fiction I have to say I was very surprised by this book! I was lucky enough to win an Advanced Reader's Copy in a giveaway, and while the plot definitely intrigued me, I didn't really know what to expecting going into this one. This book definitely blew me away and I'm so glad I had the chance to read it!  There are many things that could render this book your typical Edwardian, early 1900's England romance, but by weaving in other issues of the times, the author strays from that cliche. Our protagonist is a young upper class girl with a dream of becoming a respected artist, a dream that was unheard of for a woman of the times. VIcky gets herself into a lot of trouble in society when she poses nude in front of men in her art class and is sent back to England where her mother attempts to tame the scandal. What was so inspiring about Vicky was that she didn't let her parents or society's disapproval get in her way, she fought to pursue her dream and didn't fall to the obstacles that stood in her way. I found Vicky to be a very likeable character and one that was easy to root for throughout the book. I think all of the characters in this story were very true to how people in this era actually behaved in society.  As I reader I very much enjoy historical fiction and this time period is one of my favourites to read about. Even though the setting was in London, not New York, there were aspects of the book that were reminiscent of The Luxe Series by Anna Godbersen, a series that I really enjoyed. However hat sets this book apart for me is that it is not just a romance story in this era, but the author dealt with the serious issue of the Woman's Rights Movement and the social prejudices that a woman of that time had to deal with. I loved seeing Vicky grow throughout this novel and learn more about the suffragettes and realizing the ways in which she was similar to them. The sacrifices that these women made are truly inspiring to read about and I think it's very important that we as free woman in the 21st century remember the struggles of those before us. To try and sum this all up, I really did enjoy just about everything in this book. I absolutely flew through it! The writing style was enjoyable and made for a very fast read. I always appreciate it when a book jumps into the plot right away and I was sucked in from the very first chapter. Also PC William Fletcher... I approve. I approve so much. I thought the characters of this book were extremely well developed and so were the relationships between them. The only thing that did prevent me from giving this a 5 star rating was simply the fact that there were times where I knew what would happen next and the plot took a predictable turn. Nevertheless I highly highly recommend this book!!! I'm so happy I was able to read and review it, and it is definitely one of my favourites of the year!
Date published: 2014-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A wonderful tale! The description on the back of A Mad, Wicked Folly doesn't do this book any justice. It's a must-read for any female who wants to educate themselves in the suffragette movement. A time in history where women were subjected to such inequality.  I can't believe the way it was back then. How women were meant to such harsh conditions. To think that you needed a man to get by? It's appalling! I can completely understand how Vicky would have felt. She was independent or wanted to be. I'm so glad she did what she wanted. Admirable in a character! I love the scene where Vicky realizes all these standards could change for her niece. That she wanted to do something about it to show her what could be done. After Vicky, I just loved Will. He was supportive, kind and such a gentleman. He's another character that I truly loved. The setting is perfect. The dialogue read just like the Edwardian era it was set in. I love that. Only because I didn't find any modern words while they were talking. It's very hard to keep the character and their dialogue set in an another time, I though Walker did a wonderful job expressing the character's emotions and thoughts. Loved the vivid rich details of the clothing as well. It's not every day you have to wear a corset. So well written and it might have been slow (only to gain more character development) in the beginning, but the pages fly by. I loved everything about this book. The way you're fully immersed in Vicky's world. And how different everything is. I pictured all the dialogue in British accents even! Even if you're not a historical fiction fan, you will be after reading this. 
Date published: 2014-01-21

Extra Content

Read from the Book

With Will next to me, the fog no longer seemed ominous; instead, it felt peaceful. The fog blotted out the surroundings and any passersby, making it feel as though we were the only people about.“So you believe in votes for women?” I asked as we walked.“I don’t see the point in denying half the population the right to vote.” He shook his head. “It’s daft. So yes, the suffragists have my sympathies. I can’t work out which side you’re on, though.”“With the women, of course.”“But you don’t fight with them?” He looked at me, his eyes questioning.“I’m going to help them with the artwork. I’m not the fighting type.” I twirled my beret around my hand.He grinned. “And an artist can’t fight?”

Editorial Reviews

"An enjoyable historical romp."--Kirkus Reviews — Kirkus Reviews"[A] compelling coming-of-age tale that’s as good as any British period drama. . . . The Edwardian world here is so immersive and Vicky so likable that readers will want to put on the kettle on and settle in for a lovely read."--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books — The Bulletin of the Center for Children's BooksPraise for A Mad, Wicked Folly* "At equal turns humorous and heartbreaking. . . . A must-have first purchase."--School Library Journal, starred review"Waller’s intriguingly sympathetic characters, effortless and effective blend of history and romance, passion for her subject, and swift-paced plot make her a new YA voice to watch."--Booklist, starred review"An enjoyable historical romp."--Kirkus Reviews"[A] compelling coming-of-age tale that’s as good as any British period drama. . . . The Edwardian world here is so immersive and Vicky so likable that readers will want to put on the kettle on and settle in for a lovely read."--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's BooksNominated for the American Library Association's 2015 Amelia Bloomer Project List