As the first entry of this week's Friday Reads
, I have the review of a book that is one of the gems of the year and that will be in my list of favourite books of the year for sure!
A Mad, Wicked Folly
by Sharon Biggs Waller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I've always been a big lover of historical fiction but I haven't been reading as much of it as of late. I've been more devoted to my other loves, science fiction & fantasy, as of late. But I'm never gonna say no to a good historical fiction novel!
The premise for A Mad Wicked Folly sounded fantastic, with a girl trying to find her place in a world that's not for women and during the period where women where fighting for their right to vote. And after I read Debby's review on her Snuggly Oranges
blog, I knew I had to have it, so bought the hardcover. Then Gillian from Writer of Wrongs
, Alyssa from The Eater of Books
and Stephanie from Inspiring Insomnia
all wrote glowing review for it, so I knew I had to move this "me" read to the top of the TBR list ASAP!
And boy, am I glad I cheated and read it before I had originally planned! This is a wonderful wonderful book that I will push into anyone's hands! Not only it has a fantastic setting that feels so genuine that you can't help but wonder the amount of research that must have gone into it, but the writing style and amazing and so visual that you have no trouble whatsoever walking right beside Vicky at every step.
Vicky or Miss Victoria Darling is the daughter of a business man of the upper class in Edwardian England, and as such she's attending a finishing school, getting her ready to be a proper lady, join the high society circles and find herself a husband. The fact that she's an artist and art is her life and her dream is of no consequence in the society of the time. The same one where the Suffragettes are fighting for women's right to vote and getting scorned and mistreated for doing so.
Vicky was a fantastic character, she had a constant fight during the book, always trying to find the way to keep her art, to not give up that part of herself, no matter what sacrifices she has to make. There are times that I felt like she needed a bit of shake, cause she seemed to feel like everything was justified as a means to an end of her goal, even when she was being too optimistic about her future and pesimistic about her talent. There's a lot of growth to her character and I loved how strong she really is and how she learns about that strenght.
The real historical events and facts are intertwined with Vicky's story is such a seamless way that we learn about the fight women had to put up to gain the right to vote, and we see through Vicky's fight for having a say in her life and to keep her passion, that the right to vote was just but the start of a long, still ongoing, fight for women to be treated as equals.
And I cannot NOT talk about Vicky's motivation, her love for art and how it comes alive through the pages. I have no talent for drawing whatsoever, but I love photography and could somewhat relate to her yearning to put a scene to paper. Her love for art simply pops out of the pages! After reading the book I really felt like going to a museum to roam around the wonderful paintings and made me want to learn more about the Pre-Raphaelites movement.
There's romance in this book and even though I'm not in the best emotional state myself, I found that I simply couldn't help but adore this romance! Vicky thinks she can find an ally in her assigned fiance Edmund, but at the same time she keeps on falling for Will, her muse. There's no love triangle here, it's quite clear where Vicky's affections really lay. I found myself tearing up and feeling all happy and content upon finishing the story.
A wonderful book that does deserve each and everyone of the 5 stars I'm giving it! Go READ IT NOW!View all my reviews