A Mad, Wicked Folly
By Sharon Biggs Waller
Viking Juvenile, 2014. 448 pages. Young Adult
When seventeen-year-old Victoria Darling is caught posing nude for fellow students in her life drawing class, she scandalizes both her family and 1909 London's proper society. Aghast, her parents rush her home from her French finishing school, where her mother launches an immediate campaign to try repair her daughter's damaged reputation. Part of Vicky's mother's reparations? A marriage to a suitable young man, who turns out to be handsome and charming, but not without his own secrets. But Vicky has other things on her mind: namely, her art. While her parents make every attempt to crush her artistic goals, plucky Vicky finds a way to thwart them. On the way, she gets involved with the suffragette movement, applies to London's Royal College of Art, and meets a kind young police constable who may just be her muse . . . or the love of her life.
As the door to her gilded cage begins to close, Vicky must decide how much she's willing to sacrifice to pursue her true calling -- and her happiness.
A Mad, Wicked Folly surprised me in more ways that one, the first being how much I responded to the novel's love story (romantic subplots not generally being something I enjoy). There were moments between Vicky and Will that had my heart in a fist, and Waller's light treatment of tender moments was a true delight. Vicky is a plucky, tenacious, and passionate character whom readers will easily connect with and root for, especially as she takes up the suffragettes' cause. Fantastic historical fiction.