Review: A Mad, Wicked Folly by Viking Juvenile

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Genres: YA | Historical | Romance
Published: January 23rd 2014
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Book: GoodReads | Amazon Barnes & Noble
Author: GoodReads Twitter | Website

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 society obligations closes in around her, Vicky must figure out: just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dreams?

The Review

This was a book that grabbed my attention and interest on first sight. I wasn't planning on finishing it anytime soon since my second unit test week was going on. However, by some miracle or whatsoever this turned out to be the perfect quick read I was in search of to save me from - behold - studying. So there you go, if you're looking for a quick read, then you might want to try this out.

It succeeds as a historical fiction. I've read my fair share of historical books by now, unfortunate to the friends who have to hear all the old time lingo and stuff. The book captures the feminism, and ugly aspects of the early 20th century, along with the better aspects such as art. Thanks to the book, I learnt more of the suffragette movement and other such accurate information without feeling like I'm going through a history lesson. (I mean, dude. I'm not even a history student). Even so, I believe history lovers will enjoy this book more.

As of most historical fiction, the writing style was beautiful - but I've started to expect this factor as common among such books so it was no surprise. What made this particular writing more remarkable was the bits of humor twisted together in it which is probably why I was never bored even when nothing really happened.

But things did get better. The story became a little more interesting, and a little more enticing after pages and pages of useless things and the heroine, Vicky's naive actions . I admit that a few things like said heroine's attitude remained otherwise unchanged. But the plot, and even the romance improved in a rather drastic manner. In fact, this would have easily been a four-star or more book for me if the first half of the book was not there at all.

I didn't like Vicky. Even when the overall book took a turn for the better, her character lacked much growth. It's very hard to like a book when the main characters themselves are the fault. Vicky was not only naive, but had a voice that pretty much spoke volumes about her annoying personality. The fact that she posed nude "without thinking" didn't bother me as much as her  overflowing bucket of 'flaws', all her naive mistakes she just couldn't put an end to and her attitude that says that she only cares about herself did.

The romance was adorable. There is a rather obvious, and even more pointless love triangle in the book. Edmund, the rich guy and Will, the poor guy. (Of course, they always have to be the opposite). I must say I rooted a bit for Edmund and then wanted to stab him when his true colors were shown. As for Will, he was all the types of nice. A poor police constable doesn't exactly make it into Vicky's parent's list of guys she could marry. So just imagine the drama.

It was a fairly decent love triangle, only because the (rather obvious) Will's side was winning. But of course, Vicky just had to go ahead and be a little heart breaker and ruin everything.  I suppose it's not entirely fair to blame it all on her. But due to lack of anyone to blame, I place the burden upon Vicky's head.

All in all, this is not a perfect book or one that makes to my list of favorites but I enjoyed it very much. It could have been better with less dragging, and more of getting straight to the point. Highly recommended if you're looking for both a quick read and something that revolves around a topic such as feminism.