Rating: 5 of 5 stars
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 societyobligations closes in around her, Vicky must figure out: just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dreams?
I loved A Mad, Wicked Folly. I was kind of hesitant about it at first because of the premise, but I ended up liking it more than I thought after finishing the novel. I was impressed by how realistic it was. Sometimes whenever I read historical romance novels they’re not portrayed well, but I can imagine myself being in London during the time where woman was protesting for their rights to vote and such. From the moment we are introduced to Victoria Darling (Vicky) I immediately grew to like her. She’s strong and long to be accepted. She never feels like she fit in anywhere, which I can connect to pretty well. That is until she volunteers to pose nude for her art class. Once her parents get a whiff of her scandal she is sent home back to London where they are not amused by the sensation she’s created as they are well reputable. Despite her not so supportive parents, I loved her relationship with her brother Freddy. He cares about his sister a lot despite the fact that he wants to be hard on her, but can’t. They are playful and I like their banter. He helps her get out when she creates problems. On the other hand, while his wife tries to tolerate Vicky at the same time she wants nothing to do with her and wants her out of the house ASAP when they find out about Vicky’s broken engagement to Edmund, her application to art school, and her scandalous “affair”with the PC William Fletcher. Just when you think Freddy’s wife is okay, she isn’t.
There weren’t a lot of romance happening in A Mad, Wicked Folly but whatever was there I liked – especially the romance between Vicky and Will. Not so much with Edmund. Edmund was dashing and charming, but he’s like Draco Malfoy. Snobbish and all about the money, which is what Vicky needed to get into art school. And it’s sad that he doesn’t support her dreams despite that he doesn’t care what she does once they’re married and I’m glad that Vicky saw some sense to break up the engagement to chase after what she really wants. Now with Will…the slow burning romance made my toes curl with happiness. Sure, they had their disagreements but once that was out of the way Vicky finds herself attracted to him. And their romance is forbidden due to their class standing, but Will seems to understand her because he is a writer himself. While I was reading this novel, I found myself picturing Will as Will from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. They’re both brash characters so it’s no surprising when Will says yes he’ll model for her and he doesn’t deter her from her dreams, instead he encourages her to pursue her interest.
Overall A Mad, Wicked Folly was an interesting read. The author seems to be passionate about her subject and it shows how thoroughly she researched for this book. She made things easy to follow and understand and I liked that a lot.