Monday, April 28, 2014

Book Review: A Mad WIcked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

Victoria, Vicky, Darling has just about everything a girl could want in 1909. Her parents have sent her to finishing school in Paris, and while there is able to take drawing classes at a local atelier. Of course, she could get into huge trouble for this, as they study the nude human form. It's not until she has to pose in the nude for her male classmates that she is called away from Paris and home to London, where is is put on the fast track to society and marriage to clear her reputation.

Vicky is not too happy about this, as art is her life and she longs to be an artist. Her father does not want her to draw at all, let alone allow her to attend the Royal Academy of Arts, where she could learn to paint with oils, and have a chance to really show her work. Shes sees her out in an arranged marriage, which would be able to use her husband's money to pursue her art.

Then there is PC William Fletcher, the officer she keeps running into when ever she is around the Suffragettes. Unsure if she is with them, or just an observer, the idea of women having the ability to vote givers her both ideas to draw and a place to create her art. Her life with her family and her plans for the future are so separate from Will and the woman's vote movement, but the later two inspire so much passion in her. This is very different from her rather bland fiance and her dull life at home.

Turn of the center England is a place we can glamorize with ball gowns, coming out parties and the glamorous events, however the truth of the matter is things were a bit stuffy and potentially oppressive depending on your station in life. Author Sharon Biggs Waller really shows how even a privileged life way back then might not have been all parlor games and party dresses.

Vicky is a spirited young lady whose ambitions are unusual for her social standing and time in history. Her story is not only full of the history of London, circa 1909, it is also a primer of the English Votes for Women movement and on artists especially the Pre-Ralphaelite Brotherhood. Fans of historical fiction will not want to miss A Mad Wicked Folly. Read it with your Downton Abbey loving friends, and make Victoria's Favorite Pickletes for a fancy book discussion!

I'll see you @ the library!
Katie (Now reading Dreams of Gods and Monsters and I'm so sad to see this series end!)

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