Monday, May 5, 2014

A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller-ESSENTIAL

Waller, Sharon Biggs A Mad, Wicked Folly, 406 pgs. Viking, 2014. $17.99 Language: PG (15 swears; 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG

Vicky is a well-bred young woman that has been expelled from a French boarding school and sent home to England in disgrace. Vicky sees this as a disaster because it is keeping her from creating her art, which is all that matters to her. Her family sees this as a disaster because they are unsure that the marriage they have hastily arranged for Vicky will be enough to salvage her reputation. The marriage arrangement is agreeable to Vicky because she sees it as the means to her end of attending college and receiving the freedom and independence necessary to continue her art. Her future seems assured until she inadvertently becomes involved in the suffrage movement and begins to question what freedom and independence really mean. Add to this the continued attentions of a handsome police officer sympathetic to the suffragette cause and Vicky only sees matters further complicated.   

Readers seeking a fun and romantic story with an interesting historical theme will not be disappointed. This book successfully melds the description of a woman’s plight in Edwardian England and England’s suffrage movement with the fictional tale of a girl and her art and first love. The characters are well-drawn and engaging. Real suffragettes are successfully placed in the story alongside the fictional main characters giving the suffrage storyline weight. Young readers will swoon with the romance and also come away with an understanding of women’s rights or lack thereof during this era. The author includes a helpful appendix with historical reference to the events and subjects addressed in the book.


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