I'm sad to say it - it's the last day for our fabulous A Mad Wicked Folly three blog hop!
We've had a lot of fun the past couple of days, and it's now time for pure review + giveaway kick-off!
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published January 23rd 2014 by Viking Juvenile
Format read: ARC via publisher
Debut author Sharon Biggs Waller has written the type of book that readers will fall madly in love with, recommend to their friends, and be unable to stop talking about.
Synopsis via Goodreads:
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?
The premise sounded amazing and I wanted to read it, immediately. Fortunately for me, time flew by quickly, and it wasn't too long before I was holding an ARC from Penguin Teen - thank you, again! - in my hands, and I delved into this amazing book.
Things that worked:
17-year-old Victoria Darling is a heroine for the ages. She's smart, talented and fearless, but she's also a little reckless when it comes to her own life. She makes a decision early on in the book that eventually turns into quite the scandal.
For all of A Mad Wicked Folly, I kept marveling over the fact that Sharon's created a fantastic character that's smart, memorable and likable, but also not without flaws. Because she's been sheltered for so much of her life, Vicky - even with her talent and ideals - must still undergo a journey that will transform her and gets her where she wants to be.
I loved watching her grow, learn from her mistakes, both big and small - picking up laundry, anyone? - and how she became a better person for her journey, in the end.
Family, and secondary relationships:
Family plays a significant role in A Mad Wicked Folly, both in terms of the family that Vicky's born into, and the family that she eventually chooses to make out of her new suffragette friends.
Sharon's careful to show just why the family that Vicky's born into doesn't quite work for her future dreams and prospects without vilifying any of Vicky's parents, while also showing just how Vicky changes after meeting the suffragettes.
The sheer amount of research that Sharon has put into writing A Mad Wicked Folly, is obvious from the very first page. I was blown away by the level of detail and attention that Sharon has incorporated into Vicky's world, especially about the suffragette movement.
There were instances where I felt like I was literally living out Vicky's day-to-day life right alongside her, and I seriously think that this book will definitely impress even the most detail-orientated of historical readers.
The romantic relationship(s):
There are two love interests in A Mad Wicked Folly, and Sharon brings both men into Vicky's life effortlessly. She beautifully shows why Vicky eventually falls for one and not the other, but also doesn't vilify or condemn the man that Vicky doesn't fall for.
It's rare to see such well-rounded, well-thought out relationships in YA literature, and I genuinely relished every single interaction I read between Vicky and those two two men.
Without giving anything away, Sharon has written the type of ending that brings Vicky and her character arc, full circle. It's thoughtful, fully satisfying, realistic and will undoubtedly satisfy all readers.
Things that didn't work:
However, I was still completely blown away at just how extraordinary this book is. Sharon has not only brought Vicky's story beautifully to life in A Mad Wicked Folly with writing and precise research, but also the story of so many women and so many of the suffragettes of that period.
Sharon has written the type of book that is very rare these days: a book that demonstrates an innate, sympathetic and universal understanding of the challenges of being a woman in a period where restraint and moderation were key. Vicky's grace, bravery and unwavering certainty in herself, despite all of her challenges, is sure to inspire and move readers everywhere.
I highly recommend this book for fans of historical fiction, especially for fans of books like Teri Brown's Summerset Abbey series, or fans of television shows like Mr. Selfridge. But I also recommend this book for readers who are looking for a heroine who may be from an era that's far removed from us, but still shares in the types of dreams and hopes that any and all readers can absolutely relate to.
As for me, I'm pretty much going to be reading anything and everything Sharon writes from now on!
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of A Mad Wicked Folly from Penguin, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
You can find the answers on our posts throughout the week. Here are the links:
February 3rd: Sab The Book Eater (guest post)
February 4th: Christine @ Bookish Daydreamer (guest post)
February 5th: Jess @ The Reading Nook Reviews (guest post)
February 6th: Q&A on all three blogs
February 7th: Our reviews + GIVEAWAY!!! <-- YOU ARE HERE!
Here are the prizes!
1 suffragette bracelet
1 DVD of Downton Abbey
1 DVD of Iron Jawed Angels
1 suffragette bracelet
A Mad Wicked Folly swag (courtesy of Sharon)
About the author:
She did extensive research on the British suffragettes for her novel, A MAD, WICKED FOLLY when she wasn’t working as a riding instructor at the Royal Mews in Buckingham Palace and as a freelance magazine writer.
She also writes non-fiction books about horses under her maiden name, Sharon Biggs. She is a dressage rider and trainer and lives on a 10-acre sustainable farm in Northwest Indiana with her British husband, Mark.