Folly by Marthe Jocelyn

Product Details

  • Pub. Date: May 11, 2010
  • Publisher:Random House Children’s Books
  • Format: Hardcover, 256pp
  • Sales Rank: 432,074
  • Age Range: Young Adult

Folly by Marthe Jocelyn is a historical fiction journey through Victorian England told through the eyes of four separate characters.  The first character that we meet is Mary.  Mary’s mother died and she was forced to take care of her younger siblings until her father remarried.  The woman he remarried did not care for Mary and sent her away for an “opportunity.”  That opportunity actually landed her a position that took her to London where she was hoping to be a help to a baby, but ended up as a scullery maid.  From that position she meets Bates, a scoundrel that works with her and seems to have an eye for the ladies, Eliza, who becomes Mary’s tutor for domestic service, bunkmate, and ultimate enemy, and some young army men that change her life forever.  Eliza is another character that the reader sees through the eyes of.  Eliza is a bit more vindictive and only has her heart set on Bates.  She is the catalyst for many problems that Mary faces even if she doesn’t quite know it.  The other two narrators are speaking from ten years ahead of Mary and Eliza’s tale.  The first is James.  James is an orphan who is sent to the Foundling, a place where disadvantaged children are taught to be contributing members of society.  He is a naughty little boy whose only goal is to be with his foster-mother again.  The last narrator is Oliver.  Oliver is a teacher at the Foundling.  He sympathizes with the boys because he was once in their shoes.  His role is a mentor to James.

I have been on a historical fiction kick lately, so this book fit in with the rest of what I have been reading.  I enjoyed seeing bits of history directly from the character’s point of view.  I think that altogether this story was more about the characters and their insights than anything else.  My favorite narrator was Mary.  She is such a passionate character that literally gets caught up in some good and bad luck.  I believe that following her tale was very moving.  The only thing that I did not particularly like about this novel was that I knew what was going to happen at the end long before it happened.  I am pretty good at predicting stories, but I think that the ending was rather played out.  It is something that has been done a lot and I’m certain even my students would know exactly what was going to happen.  Also, there is a sex scene that is a little racy for a younger audience.

4/5 stars

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