Audio Book Review: A Mad Wicked Folly

A Mad Wicked Folly CoverBook: A Mad Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller, narrated by Katharine McEwan

Published January 2014 by Listening Library|Run Time: 11 hours, 13 minutes

Where I Got It: from audible.com

Series: None

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

You can find A Mad Wicked Folly on goodreads & Sharon Biggs Waller on Twitter, Facebook and her website

Goodreads 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 17-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?

What I Thought:

When I saw what A Mad Wicked Folly was about, I was intrigued enough to pick up and read it.  I went for the audio book, which I think was a semi-good decision, since I think I liked it better as an audio book than I would have liked it as an e-book.

Normally, characters like Vicky annoy me.  I’m just not a fan of female characters who seem a bit too modern and want to be independent and marry for love, especially when it doesn’t seem appropriate. However, I fully admit that I could be completely wrong, since I have no background in history, and often have to deal with what I vaguely remember from school, or the little I may have read on the subject.

But I found that Vicky wanting to marry for love and go to art school and make a living as an artist worked really for the book, especially given that she becomes involved in the suffragette movement in London.  I actually like that it was set in 1909 London and that the suffragette movement was the back-drop for the book, because I feel like it all went together really well.  I liked that there was the conflict with her family and with the world around her.  Granted, I didn’t particularly like her parents, but I also understood why they acted the way they did.  I did like her brother, though.

I get why Vicky acted the way she did, but I did feel like she was really selfish at times, and there were points, particularly at the end, where I really wanted to yell at her.  Mostly because her problems…she did kind of bring them upon herself, and if she had just listened and did what she was supposed to, she wouldn’t have been in so much trouble.  Still, I liked that over the course of the book, she finally came to the realization that she had to fight for herself, and make her own way.  I really am glad that she changed over the course of the book, and that she became less of a spoiled brat.

As for why listening to A Mad Wicked Folly was a semi-good decision…it has to do with the narration itself.  It seems like Vicky is pretty stubborn and spirited, and I really wish that came through in the narration. There were glimmers of it towards the end of the book, but I felt like McEwan didn’t really bring Vicky to life.  She’s not a horrible narrator at all.  I mean, I did finish it, so she was easy to listen to.  I just…don’t think she was the right choice to narrate the book.  I don’t listen to enough audio books to have a specific narrator in mind, but her narration just didn’t completely work for me.  She was pleasant enough to listen to, but it was just lacking that something special.

Let’s Rate It:

I really liked the overall story, especially with high society London and all of the scandal that Vicky is in the midst of and how the suffragette’s fit into a very structured group.  And the narration- while pleasant enough to listen to- didn’t completely work for me because I felt like the narrator didn’t completely bring Vicky’s stubbornness and spunk through. A Mad Wicked Folly gets 3 stars.

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