Friday, September 5, 2014

Changes for Victoria

A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller
: January 23, 2014 by Viking Juvenile
I went into this having a feeling I would love it. So while part of me wants to say I was surprised how much fun I had within it's pages, that wasn't quite the case since I expected it. (Especially after Heather recommended it to me!)

Our book's main character, Victoria, reminds me a lot of a grown of version of Samantha, from the American Girl books. (Hence the title of my post.) The timing is a little off since in 1909, when the book takes place, Samantha would have only been 13 compared to Victoria at 17, but Victoria is what I'd expect Samantha to become. Both come from a wealthy upbringing, and don't quite realize what it's like for others less fortunate. But each does learn a little bit about what's life is like for others from a friend and try their best to help. Plus Victoria is an artist, and you could even buy a paint set for your Samantha doll. (Coincidentally, Samantha was just released last week, so it's a pretty perfect time to be posting this review!)

I have read complaints that Victoria has too much freedom for the time period, and while I may not be a historical expect, I'm not quite sure that's the case. In another favorite series of mine, the Betsy-Tacy books, Betsy has similar freedom throughout high school. Granted that's in a small town in the Midwest compared to London, but it isn't that much of a stretch. Plus there's the fact Betsy did go to London in college, and again had similar freedom to Victoria's, one that I'm not sure I would be comfortable with as a 20-year-old girl today.

I did think it was an interesting choice that while Victoria is of the upper-middle class, her family isn't titled and her father put in a lot of hard work to get to his current social standing. I think this little detail says a lot about Victoria's father's actions throughout the book. While I don't think I would have been a completely different book if her father was born into his money, I really appreciated the author's choice here. It just seems so rare to read a book about English upper class where they're self-made, that it's a bit refreshing.

While the book wraps up everything nicely, I'm still not quite ready to let Victoria go. I did look to see if there's a sequel, but unfortunately haven't been able to find evidence of one. Either way though, whether Waller's next book is about Victoria or a completely new story line, I can't wait to check it out!


Today I'm linking up with Blonde Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday!


  1. So, I totally forgot about this book and how much I wanted to read it… thanks for reminding me! BUT ALSO, thank you for telling me that Samantha is back! At 25 I have found a new love for the American Girl Dolls as weird as that may seem. I had Samantha as child and took horrible care of her, so I was bummed when I went online to see that she was retiring and even more bummed when I checked to see that Molly was retiring as well ( I logged on a DAY before she would be retired, so all her dolls we sold out) and although, I had Samantha, Molly looked the most like me and I really wish I had gotten her.
    Which now leads me to saying their is hope that molly will come back AND I can now get a Samantha, that I will take actual care of!

  2. This sounds interesting - I will have to look for it. However, I think young women of good families in England had much less freedom than Betsy Ray and her friends in that time frame. Many schools were single gender and unless your brother were the right age and had friends you might have no interaction with anyone but your parents and the minister! If you have not read it, I recommend Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain, a favorite of mine.