A Mad, Wicked Folly
Summary: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 makes a fatal mistake in 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?
Did you want to punch Vicky’s parents? What did you think of Vicky’s parents? Do you think they realistically portrayed the likes of parents during that time period?
Cait: Pfft, I’m not a violent person, please. Although, if her parents had tripped and landed on their faces…it would’ve served them right. I actually think they were the “norm” for the wealthy people of that time. Snobbish. Stubborn. All about class and society and blah blah. Can you imagine wearing a corset? I couldn’t. I actually like to consume food, not just smell it.
Hmm…yes, I agree. Speaking of which, did you like the English setting?
Cait: I LOVED IT! I have a huge obsession with Europe, mostly Paris and London. I thought the description was done really well too. It reminded me of Mary Poppins, basically, which I know you are unfamiliar with and that’s a huge hole in your childhood, Zoe. You need to fix that.
Well…thanks to you, I watched the Suffragette song on your blog, so i guess that qualifies?…
From what you know, what did you think about the way history was portrayed in this book as far as women’s rights are concerned?
Cait: I’m no history buff, but it felt very accurate from what I’ve read/watched. (Also: author’s note rocked. Lots of delicious historical details back there.) I was actually surprised of the brutality of it. I was under the impression that the suffragettes were mainly ignored and viewed as petty children, basically. According to A MAD, WICKED FOLLY, it was pretty brutal, right? They were often manhandled as they were put in prison, and anyone watching could be arrested. I also didn’t know about the hunger strikes from the suffragettes in prison. Let’s just all agree know that I would make a hopeless suffragette.
I’m confused as to whether this is a discussion about the book or Mary Poppins…. so, to stay on track, what did you think about Vicky and her attitude / personality? Were there times when you were annoyed with her?
Cait: I had a lot of trouble connecting with her for the first 100-pages. I admired her passion for art, but she really was a snob. She also seemed rather clueless about her own society. Come on now, Vicky! Stripping off in front of a room of men in an art class you’re not even supposed to be at?? How did she think that wouldn’t have repercussions? Her naivety throughout the whole book made me twitchy. But, like I said: A+ on the passion.
I had a hard time connecting to her at first as well. Here’s the question of the day… Will versus Edmund…who wins and why?
Cait: To be honest, I shipped Vicky with Edmund (the rich aristocrat) for ages. I liked Will (the poor constable) fine, but I could see him and Vicky clashing a lot if they got together. But Edmund made a few crummy decisions and Will…weeeell, he’s adorable. I got converted to Williamism.
“Converted to Willamism?” Oh god… Anyway, Vicky’s passion in this story is art. What is your passion?
Cait: Writing! I actually really fell in love with Will because he’s also a writer and I admired his intentions to get his novelettes published. I’m definitely not as passionate as Vicky though…throwing her clothes to be a nude model? Liiiittle extreme.
A little extreme…I agree! (And that’s why you ship Will? I should have guessed!) What did you think about the moral of the story? Did it ring true to everything the story discussed?
Cait: Gosh, you ask the difficult questions…I think some of the huge messages of the story were: FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS. BE PASSIONATE. DO WHAT YOU LOVE, NOT WHAT’S DEEMED “RIGHT” IN SOCIETY’S EYES. All admirable message.
If you were to rewrite the story, what would you do differently and why? (EXCLUDING ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE ENDING…)
Cait: Har, har, I didn’t mind the ending, okay?! It was fine. It was…sweet, kind of. I’m a happy camper. I don’t think I’d touch this story. I loved it as is. My only negative was Vicky’s border-line irritating naivety and how the story sometimes dragged. For instance: Vicky would lose her sketchbook, go to a place to get it, it’s not there, go to a different place, find it…aaand, then have someone take it. All the back and forthing didn’t seem to get anywhere. Mildly frustrating for me, who is a speed-reader. The plot twists were also a wee bit predictable.
Would you have liked to see this set in America during the same time period?
Cait: Not really. I’d love to have seen it set in Australia in that time period though… 😉
Cait…if it were your choice, everything would be set in Australia….anyhow, Why do you think we both enjoyed it less in the beginning, and more as we got on?
Cait: I wonder if it’s because the style got some getting used to? It seemed a bit stiff at the beginning. I’m all for modernisms and slang, so it took me a while to get used to the toffy 1900s English speech. Also, Vicky matured as the book went on. Huge plus. I started the book thinking it’d be a 3 (and being worried that I wouldn’t like it!) but by the end it was a confident 4-stars.