After a seemingly scandalous moment in art class, Vicky is expelled from her French boarding school and sent home to her family in England. Her parents, disgraced, forbid her to pursue drawing and arrange a marriage for her to clean up her reputation. However, Vicky is drawn to the excitement around the city with the suffragettes. She ends up getting to know many of the supporters who are fighting for women’s right to vote and begins to question what she really wants in life.
Admittedly, I was hesitant to read yet another “strong girl finds her way” book that, in recent past experience, didn’t pan out to be quite so strong once some boys came into the picture. What a pleasant surprise A Mad, Wicked Folly was in that Vicky stayed true to her independent and ambitious character throughout. While the pacing at the beginning felt a bit off to me, considering it was 1909 and many many years before the invention of speedy communication, I thought the situations that led Vicky to return home was pushed along extremely quickly. So much happens within a week let alone the one afternoon that changes her life.
It’s interesting that this book features several tropes often found in YA and yet doesn’t feel like a familiar tale. A vivacious and headstrong heroine coming of age, a tough family situation and a love triangle. However what sets this book apart is that the author utilizes these elements in a way that integrates really well into the story. I am often on the fence about my feelings towards love triangles, I liked that this one wasn’t Vicky being a mindless girl in love with two adorably hot boys. The dynamic felt more like something from The Notebook, where it was more a “follow the money vs follow your heart”.
Not that there are any extremely graphic moments, A Mad, Wicked Folly is categorized for ages 12 and up, however given some of the situations that Vicky finds herself in, I feel that grade 7 may be a bit young to connect with the relevance or significance of those feelings and motivations. That point aside, the love of art flows off the pages like paint off a paintbrush, and it’s not only coming from Vicky. The appreciation is palpable in the words that Waller uses to speak about drawing and painting. So much so that I truly wish I had a talent for sketching because this book has inspired me to create more art.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ (4.5/5 stars)
Available: January 23, 2014
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A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for this blog tour in exchange for an honest review