All she has ever wanted for as long as she can remember, is to be allowed to pursue her art. Vicky doesn’t think that is too much to ask. But it is, if you are a young lady of means living in London in 1909.
Vicky has found herself ostracized from society when she makes the unpardonable sacrifice for her art – posing in the nude – for other artists. A classmate of her finishing school in France happens to see this and wastes no time in reporting it to any and everyone who will listen. Vicky returns to London to a furious father and a disappointed mother. Not only is her own life in turmoil, but the city appears to be overrun with women suffragists. At first, Vicky can see no way that those women might have something to do with her situation, but as her ability to do her work is taken away from her, she realizes her limitations because of her gender, and the suffragists fighting for the right to vote are all really hoping to gain the same thing – some amount of control over their own lives.
Vicky comes to believe her only way out is to marry a man of her parents choosing – believing that once she is married she’ll be able to attend the Royal Collage of Art or the RCA. What she doesn’t see coming is a young police constable who seems to be turning up everywhere she looks and who she feels a pull towards she can’t explain. Before she knows it, the two worlds Vicky is trying to exist in are headed on a collision course and she isn’t sure how to stop it.
A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller is a wonderful period piece looking at a time when women were trying to find not only their voice but prove they had the ability to have vocations outside of the home.
Highly recommended for anyone interested in the feel of London at the turn of the 20th century and for anything related to the struggle for women’s rights. Grades 7th and up.