Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Blog Tour: A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller


I'm so happy to be part of the blog tour for one of my favorite reads of the year, A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller, a historical and romantic tale full of feminism, art, and fighting for what you want. I loved it with the power of a thousand suns (as evidenced by my gushing review), and I'm honored to have the author invade the blog for the day and tell you about all the research that went into recreating Edwardian London.

There was so much research that went into A MAD, WICKED FOLLY. I think just about every paragraph in the book has some research to it! I'd stop and think, what kind of dessert would a working class person eat? Then I'd go look it up. Plum duff! That's what they would have eaten.

[Gillian: Apparently this is a plum duff. Working class life in turn-of-the-century London looks delicious.]

I really wanted to bring the Edwardian era to life, so I had to know everything, from the fashion, to the way people spoke, to how they travelled, how they danced. I love research, so it wasn't boring for me. I'm really nosy so I like to search around and get all the details, it drives my husband crazy sometimes. I bought over 30 books for FOLLY and I filled five notebooks with handwritten scribbles.

File:Fashion Plate 1909.jpg

I went to England twice to research the suffrage movement and to walk in Vicky's footsteps. I got to meet with the curator of the Museum of London and look through all the suffragette collection. They actually have a loaf of bread from Holloway Prison. And the gag and funnel from force-feeding.

A Mad, Wicked Folly Synopsis:

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 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?

About Sharon Biggs Waller:

Sharon Biggs Waller is a novelist and award-winning non-fiction writer who lives on a 10-acre sustainable farm in northwest Indiana with two horses, four dairy goats, four cats, two dogs and 60 laying hens. She is a dressage trainer who for many years was a Civil Service Club instructor at the Royal Mews in Buckingham Palace in London. Visit her at or on Twitter @Sbiggwaller.


  1. "Working class life in turn-of-the-century London looks delicious." Lol. I don't read much historical YA, but this post (and the PICTURES!!) made me want to pick this one up :)

  2. I would like a plum duff, please. Wow, is that caramel? Or some creamy sauce. Whatever. I'll take it. I love hearing how much research an author puts into their books. It's the little touches that really make it something special. I can't wait to get my hands on this. :)

  3. I OFTEN want to be transported back to other periods in England (the clothes! the puddings! all delicious), but then I have to remind myself I'd probably only last a few hours without my modern day creature comforts and freedoms and I feel a teensy bit better.

    I'm so looking forward to reading this book, I've seen nothing but raves from friends. How lovely to hear the author went to England to research the book, too. That must have been SUCH a sacrifice. ;)

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  4. Sounds like the author really did her homework with her research!!
    I cannot wait to read this book!!


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