Book Review: A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

a mad, wicked folly

A Mad, Wicked Folly
by Sharon Biggs Waller
Hardcover, 431 pages
Published January 23rd, 2014 by Viking Books

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?

Okay this one is kind of hard. I love the plot and the Edwardian settings. I love how authentic the setting feel, with social etiquette and obsessions’ with class. I love how this one sets around the time women started to ask for equality, with a lot of new information about the suffragettes. It’s such a amazing movement, fighting for women’s rights and just equality for all. And I love the art element in this book (even though I’m not an artist). 

The problem is the characters. I liked Victoria’s passion and will, but most of the time she comes across as spoiled and obstinate. She made lot of rash decisions without thinking of the consequences, even though every freaking person on this book told her not to do it. She could at least stop and think for a moment. She doesn’t think about what her actions would cost everyone; what her behaviour cost her parents, what it would cost Freddy everytime he defends her, Will’s feelings, Sophie’s job, and so many other things. It’s upsetting to see her behave like that. 

And maybe because I was too irritated with Victoria, other characters don’t really shine. Victoria describes people around her as “typical Victorian that only cares about fashion, class, and weather”. And it’s true. From what I read, other characters are just boring and one dimensional. Except for Lucy and Sophie. They’re just so brave, but again, we know almost nothing about them. And the main love interest, Will, well, he’s nice, but that’s all. I guess their passion for art (in different ways) make them understand each other more and made them kind of perfect for each other. 

Overall, it’s an interesting book, but the characters make it doesn’t work for me.


8 Replies to “Book Review: A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller”

  1. You elaborate my thoughts really well! Like yes, female lead has to be independent and can take responsibilites and act when it's necessary, but she also have to be able to think what's the cost! I really hate reckless character.


  2. I hope you'll enjoy it! If you love the kind of character that is stubborn and kind of reckless, using any means to get what she wants, than you probably would like Victoria 🙂


  3. She did grow, but only on the last part of the story, so we have to stuck with her spoiled personality most of the time. I also more of a character driven person than a plot driven. Character is what make the story alive, so of course they have to be interesting!


  4. I've been eyeing this book for a long time. In fact, I think I almost bought it one time on BookOutlet. I have a hard time with rash characters. I like a strong, independent female lead, but I don't enjoy when they fail to consider the repercussions of their actions. There needs to be a equal balance. A character can really make or break a book for me. Sometimes it's just hard to look past their faults.

    Sarah @ Kerosene Lit


  5. This sounds like my cup of tea, and I would definitely read this to see for myself. However, I'm a bit wary for Victoria. Personality of the characters has a big impact to the readers, so I totally understand what you felt, because you weren't able to like them as much as you hope you would. Goodluck on your next read though. Nice job on the review, Tasya! 🙂

    Fiona | A Girl Between the Pages


  6. Character development is really important for me to enjoy the book, and it sounds like Victoria was pretty typical herself. She sounds like the typical entitled person who is spoiled and doesn't have a care for others. A shame about this one, thanks for the review Tasya!


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