Stories are teachers that entertain and inspire. We are storytellers all of us.
The premise of A Mad, Wicked Folly is something I can get behind – a young woman trying to find her voice at a time when such a notion was unconscionable. I discovered immediately that the writing wasn't as strong as I'd prefer (frequently pulling me out of the story, which was jarring), but its insight into the women's suffrage movement in the UK was worthwhile.
It's normal to feel detached from that time period, but with this story I could feel the crushing censorship of women in every corner of society (from Parliament to the dinner table), and it became real to me how much women struggled and sacrificed to be truly heard. A century later, women still face a culture that routinely disempowers and undervalues them, but the fact that I can even have that opinion and verbalize it is something that shouldn't be taken for granted. At least I can voice my truth and follow my dreams without risking everything (my family, reputation, etc.). That was the reality for many.
I also wanted to point out that the use of art as a medium for rebellion added a great dimension to the story. First, as the main character's personal rebellion against her father and societal norms that kept her from her passion, and then as a political tool to sway opinion in favor of women's rights. Historically, art has continued to serve as an alternative means for marginalized voices to be heard, and this was subtly portrayed in A Mad, Wicked Folly.
Now I'm curious to seek out more in-depth, non-YA novels on the topic of women's suffrage. I welcome any recommendations!