author : marathe jocelyn
pages : [hardcover] 256
memorable quote : Don’t go wishing for what you know nothing about.
favorite character : james
Three fates intertwine in this moving and passionate love story set in Victorian London.
Mary Finn: country girl, maid to a lord in London
Caden Tucker: liar, scoundrel, and heart’s delight
James Nelligan: age six, tossed into a herd of boys
When Mary Finn falls into the arms of handsome Caden Tucker, their frolic changes the course of her life. What possesses her? She’s been a girl of common sense until now. Mary’s tale alternates with that of young James Nelligan, a new boy in an enormous foundling home.
In Folly, Marthe Jocelyn’s breathtaking command of language, detail, and character brings Victorian London to life on every page, while the deep emotions that illuminate this fascinating novel about life-changing moments are as current as today’s news.
I’ve had Folly for years, waiting patiently on my bookshelf to be read. Finally it seemed like the right time to pick it up. While this historical fiction novel is not my favorite, I do think that it was very interesting and know lots of people would enjoy it. I’m actually surprised that it isn’t more well-known; I don’t know anyone who’s had the chance to read this book!
Folly follows several different characters in Victorian London. Through all of their lives I gained a greater understanding of the setting. It was so interesting to get an idea of the foundlings and what they were, as the home James is in is based on an actual foundling hospital. There are so many terrible aspects of London in this time period, babies being abandoned to death and children forced to work in dangerous factories. Everyone is trying very hard to make a life worth living for themselves and nothing goes perfectly right for any character in this book.
What annoyed me a little were some of the other characters who narrated chapters. They seemed to make irrational decisions only because the book needed them to do such a thing so that the plot could make forward. I believe that the plot could have gone the same way, only without decimating certain characters’ personalities. Unlike what the book tells you, there are more than three people affected by this story, and Caden never gets to narrate anything from his own point of view. I thought that the latter was a shame because it would have added another, interesting level to this narrative. I wanted to know what was happening with him when he wasn’t with Mary and I feel like I would have had a better grasp of his character that way.
I did like how some of the characters, Mary and James especially, shone through in their bleak setting. Although I could predict the way that the story was going to go, at first I wasn’t quite certain of how it would get there and I still got a little emotional when I was ready the end. The conclusion of the book left a little to be desired; everything was wrapped up a little too neatly, judging by how chaotic the rest of the book was.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a short, pretty good historical fiction book to read.