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Historical YA Fiction Audio book Review: A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

A Mad, Wicked Folly by Susan Biggs Waller


 Synopsis from Goodreads
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?

Audible US/UK | Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository


A Mad, Wicked Folly is one of those lovely inspiring books that reminds me more of classical literature than anything else.

 Vickie Darling wants to be a painter in an era when it's almost impossible or extremely difficult for a woman to become one who is professionally recognised. She is constantly undermined by her family which thinks that this is just a foolish fad, and that a proper lady needs to strive to catch a husband not do something as vulgar as have a profession. She is badly handled by an arranged fiancé, a never do well young man, who is self-centered and spoiled, and a generally an unpleasant character, and she is very unhappy about drifting through life as a woman whose only purpose is to enhance her family social standing and to become a broodmare.

So, she rebels. It starts in small ways when she subverts her mother's attempt to make her into a lilly white clean and wholesome young lady, and sneaks out to paint for the entrance exams into an art college. Then it escalates when she starts helping a group of suffragettes to fight for their rights.

We are shown Vickie's transformation from this non confrontational girl into someone with guts and fiery passion and inner strength. She is furious with her lot, she falls in love and she finds something worth fighting for.

While the ending is not very definite and open to an interpretation, I love this quiet, lovely story. It's atmospheric and historically correct, listens really quickly and very well. Beautiful, slightly naïve book, really enjoyed it. Recommended.

 * * *
Это была одна из таких милых, вдохновляющих книг, которые больше всего напоминают мне классическую литературу.

Викки Дарлинг мечтает стать художником в эпоху когда заполучить профессию женщине из высшего общества практически невозможно. Её семья постоянно принижает её талант, считая что мечта Викки зарабатывать деньги невыносимо смехотворна и вульгарна, и что каждая леди должна стремиться к тому, чтобы заполучить достойного мужа, продвинуть статус своей семьи через благотворительные дела и  нарожать кучу благо воспитанных детишек. Её жених, безалаберный, испорченный нарциссист из влиятельной и богатой семьи, вообще не понимает в чём проблема и не обращает на пожелание будущей жены никакого внимания - пока папочка контролирует его карманы он не посмеет тому противостоять, особенно с целью защитить Викки.

Ну и Виктория тайно мятежует. Сначала, обманывая мать и ускользая на улицы Лондона рисовать в целях пополнить своё портфолио для экзамена в художественный колледж. Затем, влюбляясь в простого констебля Уильяма. И наконец, помогая суффражисткам бороться за права женщин.

Красивая книга, слушается легко и быстро, несмотря на неопределённую концовку и наивный слог, с прекрасной исторической подоплёкой. Рекомендую!

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