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A Mad, Wicked Folly

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,448 Ratings  ·  690 Reviews
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 illi
Hardcover, 431 pages
Published January 23rd 2014 by Viking Books for Young Readers
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Khanh (the Grinch)
I never set out to pose nude. I didn’t, honestly.
Oh, what was that? I'm sorry. Did your clothes accidentally fall off by themselves? Were you wearing the Emperor's New Clothes? Oh, wait, no. You took off your clothes to prove that you're the equal of all the male artists despite the fact that the thought of stripping naked makes you want to run away in terror. If they jumped off a bridge, would you do it, too?

Oh, but Vicky does it voluntarily. So voluntarily that she fucking trembles as she
Jubilation Lee
I feel like A Mad, Wicked Folly would work as a book if the author had made one slight change to the main character. Rather than featuring seventeen-year-old Victoria Darling, turn-of-the-century aspiring artist who dreams of a world where she’s not constrained by societal limits, the overall story would have been VASTLY improved by featuring seventeen-year-old Victoria Darling, time-traveling bitch from the future.

No, I mean this.

If you make her a time-traveling bitch from the future, everythi
Jan 23, 2014 Delee rated it it was amazing

This is Sharon Biggs Waller's first fiction novel, and what a fantabulous debut it is!!

The title- perfect. The cover-stunning. I was hooked from the first page...

 photo ed4ecc27-a65c-44ee-a36c-237fdd722d45_zps1225e115.jpg

Victoria Darling has wanted to be an artist ever since she set eyes on John William Waterhouse's painting- A Mermaid- and for awhile the naive seventeen year-old thinks her dream will be realized.

 photo 9a84591e-3eef-4929-b106-178e1480e550_zpscc6ee41b.jpg

Unbeknownst to her parents- while Vicky is supposed to be attending a finishing school in France- she
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
There’s a special place in my heart for the books that leave me with a huge, goofy grin on my face. Seriously, you should see me right now, because I look like a fool. And I am one hundred percent okay with that, because this book was so fluffy and feminist and wonderful. A Mad, Wicked Folly exceeded all of my expectations, managing to be both hilarious, romantic and to make more serious points all at once.

Read the full review at A Reader of Fictions.
Jan 08, 2014 Meg rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

I’m sitting here trying to figure out what was my favorite bit of A Mad Wicked Folly. It’s quite difficult because this book is fantabulous from all angles and I can’t really pinpoint what, if anything, rises above the rest.

Vicky, the protagonist, is amazing. She’s stubborn, she’s sassy, she’s a tad naive and she’s brave as all hell. Seriously, she poses nude for her life drawing class in the first chapter. Not to be scandalous or anything like that, but because the model flakes, everyo


Originally posted at Writer of Wrongs

Rating: A delightful and romantic historical novel. A must-read!

This book! Oh, I adored this book. It's everything I want in a historical novel. It focuses on characters and plot and never bogs you down with historical information. The information just seeps into your brain as you read, and you're never bored for a minute. I read most of this book on a plane, and I'll say it kept me quite entertained, and that I th
“Why is it so absurd? I can illustrate as well as any man. These are modern times, and women are still treated as nothing but pretty dolls or lapdogs!”

(4.5 stars)

It's a mad, wicked folly how few people seem to know of this. Picture a wonderfully written historical YA with incredibly strong main and supporting characters, set in a time when women's rights were basically non-existent. The suffragette movement, the romance, the writing, the setting, Vicky (the MC)'s progress as both a character a
Giselle (Book Nerd Canada)
An Advanced Reader Copy was provided by the publisher for review. Quotes pulled from the ARC may be incorrect and may be subject to change.

The description on the back of A Mad, Wicked Folly doesn’t do this book any justice. It’s a must-read for any female who wants to educate themselves in the suffragette movement. A time in history where women were subjected to such inequality.

I can’t believe the way it was back then. How women were meant to such harsh conditions. To think that you needed a man
Oct 10, 2015 Luisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Necesitaba leer algo así desde hace mucho tiempo.
''Y, por último, un humilde gracias a las sufragistas que tanto lucharon y se sacrificaron por los derechos de todas las mujeres''.
¡Pronto os hablaré de él!
Stuti (Turmeric isn't your friend. It will fly your ship

Hello-YOLO, my Ford Cortinas, I hope you aren't rusting just yet! For my devotion to you runs deep as the Pacific Ocean, I usher you all in to another week of Stuti's Displayiosity of Fabulosity, wherein you'll be self-amazed to electrocution by the amounts fabulosity egressing from the orifices I like to call reviewing space! AND I shall be talking in exclamation marks! (With the more-than-occasional full stop.)

I could fit right in with the blokes, but I prefer not to.

THIS. This is what yo
Hazel (Stay Bookish)

Also, the vivid Victorian setting, the strong-willed protagonist, the portrayal of the suffragette movement were all wonderful.
Mel (Daily Prophecy)
4.5 starts.

It must have been so frustrating for women to feel so unappreciated. It's amazing how they kept fighting for their voice and place in life. Vicky's constant fight for her own future and dreams tugged at my heart and I admired her strength.


This book came highly recommended by one of my friends and book club members: Debby, so I was thrilled when I got a copy from Daisy last December. I always like historical fiction (and I don’t read enough
5 stars

One of my goals for 2014 was to finally read some historical fiction. I don't know what held me back from the genre, to be honest. I eat up historical fiction movies and TV series and adore them, but it never really occurred to me that I could also read some. Anyway. Enter A Mad, Wicked Folly. It popped up on my radar because of the lovely Christina and Gillian. Their reviews got me extremely pumped, and the synopsis sounded awesome, so I was all for it. It went on my most anticipated 201
Very Strong 5 Five Stars.

When I entered the giveaway, the reason I entered was the cover. Look at that cover! Seriously!

I was not expecting this book to be by far the best book I have read this year.

The plot is a simple, girl is born in a era where woman have zero rights and the wealthy are expected to marry well and support their ridiculously rich husbands.

Of course are main POV character is not having that and she wants to be an artist.

She is part of a scandal... and forced to come back h
Jan 27, 2014 Becki rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A heroine who claims to be a feminist, but really knows nothing about feminism or suffragettes.

Skip it.
Jun 27, 2014 Krystle rated it did not like it
Shelves: art
I love art and period fiction. So when these two appeared together in a book I was drooling with lust. I had to read it! This sounded like everything I would ever want and I could not be more excited when I had my hands on it.

Until I read it.

This book was a crushing disappoint. More so than that, it was terrible.

Let me tell you about the worst part about this story – Victoria. The main character is just atrocious. Although it’s been mentioned in Khanh’s review, she really is awful. Victoria is a
Dec 09, 2013 Heather rated it really liked it
First a giant THANK YOU to Sharon Biggs Waller for providing me an early copy of A Mad, Wicked Folly to read and review:)

The short of it, I really, really liked this one! Ok--straight up--the amount of research that Sharon Biggs Waller did to write this book is IMPRESSIVE. And on TWO fronts. Not just all the Suffragist Movement research but also research into the role women played in the arts during the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. The reason I wanted to read this book so badly is becau
Dec 11, 2015 Alexa rated it really liked it
FIRST THOUGHTS: It's really cool how this novel combines one girl's desire to be free to pursue an art career, Victorian sensibilities, Edwardian sensibilities and the suffragette movement. I thought Vicky was quite delightful, and though I was often frustrated by her, I couldn't help seeing her actions in light of her circumstances. All in all, a rather unique story and quite well told!
Laura W
Feb 10, 2016 Laura W rated it really liked it
This book was one of those ones that you want to love and give five stars because it was really good but then, when you start thinking about it, it just doesn't feel like a five star book. It may seem like a horrible reason, but that's why I rated this 4 stars instead of 5. Onward!

1. The time period. This book takes place during the women's suffrage movement in England and slightly after the same movement in the US. It really centers around that turning point of society where some people are sti
Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten!

Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?

Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit. - Flavia Dzodan

What is A Mad, Wicked Folly? Well, it sure isn’t intersectional. I think you can figure it out from there. My friends have been in love with this novel with only a single exception, but the charm is lost on me. I can’t see past the self-serving white feminism that pervades the novel.
Cait (Paper Fury)
For me, it started off in the "Meh" category...but after a 100-pages -- KABOOM -- it entered the awesome zone. I'm really impressed with this book!

Writing? It was very Victorian, so a lot of the dialect felt stilted. VERY historically accurate, but I think that's half the reason it took me a while to warm into the book. The dialogue also wasn't on the heavy side in the beginning, aaaand...I'm pretty dialogue obsessed.

Vicky is the narrator...and she's such a toff I felt her naivety was fru
May 08, 2014 Megan rated it it was amazing

Friends, it's time for an admission. It's a rather big one, one that I am hesitant to make because of the connotations it might bring. It's not an admission that many readers, much less bloggers, are willing to outwardly make. Ready?

I am not a big fan of historical books.

Gasp! Okay, there, I said it. And really, it's not that big of a deal, but it did make me wonder - what was I doing being so attracted to A MAD WICKED FOLLY by debut young adult author Sharon Biggs Waller? It's cover has the one
Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner)
Originally posted on my blog The Perpetual Page-Turner -- come hang out for some book talk and more!

Historical fiction used to be my one true love, friends. In the past couple years I haven’t read as much of it but this book reminds me why I LOVE it so much. The truly excellent historical novels, like this one, transport me so flawlessly into this sliver of the past and leave me with this insatiable thirst to research that time period or event or find more fiction set in that time.

So what was so
Naban (hiatus)
This was a book that immediately grabbed my attention, but I had no hopes of finishing it any time soon since my test week was going on. However, by some miracle this turned out to be the perfect quick read I was in search of to save me from - behold - the terrors of studying. So there, if you're looking for a quick read, then you might want to try this out.

It succeeds as a historical fiction. It captures the feminism, and ugly aspects of the early 20th century, along with the better aspects suc
Jan 01, 2014 Aoi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hf-england
I confess this is the first time I've read a book set in Edwardian England- the twin themes of women artists and Suffragist Movement were an instant wow factor..

I loved the protagonist, Victoria Darling. Bull-headed yet generous, unsentimentally practical yet idealistic and rather gullible. There were times when I grew frustrated, there were times I despaired along with her for all the bad times. And yet, I admired her pluck and all-consuming passion, and cheered her on..

Sharon Biggs Walker made
Tiffany (About to Read)
Apr 01, 2015 Tiffany (About to Read) rated it really liked it
A Mad Wicked Folly was nothing at all what I imagined it’d be like. And that’s because for whatever reason I thought it was a historical fantasy! I read the synopsis of books when they first get added to my TBR, but I don’t typically re-read them before I start the book because I like to go in as blind as possible.

Now once I realized that there would be no magic in this novel at all and that it was simply a historical fiction about Women’s suffrage, I enjoyed it a lot more. Our main character, V
Jan 17, 2014 Larissa rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars(:

When I got this book I wasn't honestly too intrigued by it and left it to collect dust for quite some time. Now I truly regret that decision as when I finally picked up this book I was hooked from the very first scandalous chapter to the end [; I'm glad this book has made it in my top list of YA historical fiction I've read, among great reads like The Diviners, In the shadow of the Blackbirds Out of the Easy and Born of Illusion

I've never read a book set in this particular time period
Intense feelings of pure love.

Nov 20, 2015 Kara-karina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, historical
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 b
Jen (The Starry-Eyed Revue)
Thanks to Heather for lending me her ARC!

This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.

Women's suffrage, art, and a feisty heroine combine in this historical fiction to create one insanely readable piece of literature that explores girl power to the utmost. Sure, there's a romance (or two!) but it was the focus on women's rights -- to vote, where the arts are concerned, and in the world at large -- that captivated me. Sharon Biggs Waller has certainly done her research, and I felt incen
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Sharon Biggs Waller grew up around artists and developed a passion for Edwardian history and the Pre-Raphaelites when she moved to England in 2000. She did extensive research on the British suffragettes for her novel, A MAD, WICKED FOLLY when she wasn’t working as a riding instructor at the Royal Mews in Buckingham Palace and as a freelance magazine writer. She also writes non-fiction books about ...more
More about Sharon Biggs Waller...

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“A strange thing, words. Once they're said, it's hard to imagine they're untrue.” 12 likes
“Then I knew: this wasn’t just a passion I felt for my model. My feelings about him had nothing to do with how his looks inspired me; he was far more than a muse. With every stroke of pencil and crayon, I had drawn Will into my heart.

I was in love with him.”
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