Folly

Folly

by Marthe Jocelyn

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375894510
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 05/11/2010
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

Marthe Jocelyn is the author of several award-winning novels and has also written and illustrated picture books. Her novels for Wendy Lamb Books include How It Happened in Peach Hill and Would You. She lives in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. You can visit her on the Web at www.marthejocelyn.com.

Read an Excerpt

MARY 1893  

Telling    

I began exceeding ignorant, apart from what a girl can learn through family mayhem, a dead mother, a grim stepmother, and a sorrowful parting from home. But none of that is useful when it comes to being a servant, is it? And nothing to ready me either, for the other surprises a girl might stumble over. Let no one doubt that I've learned my lesson and plenty more besides.  

Imagine me back then, not knowing how silverware is to be laid out on a table, nor how to swill a stone floor or slice up the oddness of a pineapple; I did not know that tossing old tea leaves on the carpet works wonders toward collecting up the dust, nor how bluing keeps your white things white; I did not know how to write a letter and I had never had one come for me; I did not know what a man and a girl might do on a gravestone when they are crazy for each other; I did not know the heart were like a china teacup hanging in the cupboard from a single hook, that it could chip and crack and finally smash to the ground under a boot heel. And I did not know that even smithereens could reassemble into a heart. I did not know any of this.  

This leads to that, Mam used to say. The trick is knowing where this begins and which that it might be leading to.   The kiss may not have been the start of things, but it led straight on to the rest of it, me without the slightest idea--well, maybe the slightest--of where it could end up. But one thing is certain; I were as ready for that first kiss as a girl can be. My hair were clean, my neck were washed, and my heart were banging away like a baby's fist on a pile of dirt.    

That's jumping ahead of things, so I'll go back and tell what I do know--before and after the kiss, since we won't be hearing anything from Mr. Caden Tucker, will we?  

Caden Tucker--scoundrel, braggart, and heart's delight. He'll never be seen again, not ever, so don't you waste your time. The officers claimed they couldn't find him and neither could I, for all I looked till my bosom would split with holding the ache. He'd have nothing to tell you that I can't, that I promise. He were cocky, but he weren't one to rely on for a true story, as it turned out.  

I'll confess there were a part of me that shone bright in the sunshine cast by Caden Tucker as it never did elsewhere. A part of me that were me, the true Mary Finn, when I were walking out with him.        

MARY 1876  

Telling About Home in Pinchbeck, Lincolnshire    

Our dad had his vegetables, grown for market or trade, or else he planted others' gardens. Winter times, when the ground were sleeping, he'd cut firewood or dig privies or whatever were asked for. Mam were kept busy with us, and the house, but we all helped,as a family does, you know. Though I suppose you're not familiar with the workings of a family.  

We went each week to St. Bartholomew's, me taking the boys out to the graveyard when the sermon got them twitching.  

"How many now?" I'd ask, and they'd tear up and down the rows, tapping the tops of each stone, shouting out the numbers, not thinking about Sunday or stomping on bones under the grass. But then it were Mam who changed the count and the game weren't so merry anymore.  

Mam had four of us before birthing Nan, fifth and last. Mam died a week later, leaving me, just turned thirteen, to be mother as best I could. Until our dad went and found that Margaret Huckle a year after and put her in Mam's bed, thinking he were giving us a present somehow. Really it were like drowning nettles in the bottom of our tea mugs so every time we swallowed there were a sore patch, a blister, hurting deep inside in a way that couldn't be soothed.   That were the kind of talk that would have got me thrashed if anyone heard it, so it stayed quiet, right?  

It were me, then Thomas, Davy, Small John, and the baby. Tall John Finn being our dad, meaning the one named for him could only be small.  

Now, come Sundays, Dad said Thomas and Davy were big enough to stay plunked in the pew with him, so it'd be Small John and Nan in the churchyard with me. John were always coughing, not eager to run around. I devised other games for him. We picked out the letters on the stones, me knowing how to show him that much.  

"Here's an A," he'd shout. "I found a B!" And after a while he made sense of the words.  

"Crick!" he'd cry, or "M for Mason!" and I'd know he were right because Walter Crick were dead from pneumonia and Pauline Mason were the butcher's wife who died from a lump in her neck that stopped her swallowing.  

Mam's stone were small next to some of the others, about the size of the church Bible, dawn-gray granite with pink flecks, traded for a year of potatoes.    

Mary Ann Boothby Finn, it said. Wife of John A Mother on Earth An Angel in Heaven b. 1843 d. 1876    

Our dad, knowing Mam's favorites, planted bluebells and lily-of-the-valley. Come springtime they flourished so lush and pretty, even after that Margaret Huckle were thistling about at home, that I know he kept tending Mam's stone, though he never said.  

I didn't go there often, not wanting to look sappy, talking to ghosts. I were leery too, of telling Mam only our miseries, so I'd wait till I had other news.  

"Thomas lost another tooth," I'd say. "He looks a right fiend, pushing his tongue through the front, with his eyeballs crossed over. And Davy, he might be one of those Chinese monkeys that came with the fair, the way he jumps on chairs and swings abouton gates. . . ."  

Then I'd come to Small John and the worries would start. "He coughs, Mam, all night sometimes, though I make a warm garlic plaster like you showed me. I don't know if . . . well, I just don't."  

My hands would go numb with me praying so hard she'd answer. I'd take a two-minute scolding if it meant she'd be there for two minutes. But the swallows would swoop, and the sun would sink, and the evening would sound hollow as an old bucket. The weight of things were on me alone. Along with our dad, of course.

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Folly 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
dk_phoenix on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I wanted to like this book. I really, really wanted to like this book... after all, the author is local (about an hour away from me) and the description sounds like it's going to be an intriguing historical YA. Ah, yes. Expectations.Instead, I found the book frustrating and imbalanced. Yes, there will be spoilers in this review, so if you don't want them -- stop reading now!First, I do have to commend the author for attempting what few authors will (who don't write fantasy, that is): She writes the book from the perspective of four characters, all of whom get chapters of their own throughout the story. This was a good idea... however, two out of four of these characters get barely any face time, to the point that I wondered why she bothered to include them at all.But first things first. The main character, Mary, is likable at first. She's the typical unfortunate young girl, and her home situation is terrible. She's sent to work in London, and she begins working there, encountering both friends and enemies. One enemy in particular is a girl named Eliza, who gets chapters of her own.Eliza is obsessed with a young man named Bates who works in the same house -- obsessed to the point of reacting with vehemence if Mary so much says "hello" to Bates. Eliza's introduces Mary to another young man in an effort to divert her attention, but when she sees Mary go off walking with him, Eliza -- for whatever reason -- doesn't put two and two together and still suspects that Mary has eyes for Bates. Eliza's jealous and completely illogical actions destroy Mary's happiness with Bates and ends in Mary leaving that household. Unless Eliza has a serious chemical imbalance -- maybe she does, but that certainly isn't hinted at or mentioned -- her actions simply do not make sense in the context of the story. Also, Mary herself makes a bizarre choice. Maybe the author was attempting to show the temptations of lust during the time period, but when we spend a portion of the book hearing Mary talk about her innocence, and establishing her as a proper (if low class) young lady and then in one moment learn that she's lost her virginity as if it was a handkerchief she'd lost in the street, again we have a case of characters acting completely contrary to how they're set up.We're also told that Mary's beau is a scoundrel, a liar, and a heartbreaker... but when he learns that Mary is pregnant, he reacts like one might expect a young man might at learning he's to be a father unexpectedly. He treats Mary well and wants to provide for her in some way. So, why were we told that he's a horrible person? Yet another bizarre case of character actions and what we're told about them not matching up.It also doesn't help that Mary isn't a very interesting person to begin with. In fact, the most interesting point of view is from a young boy named James, whose story is set a number of years later than Mary's. James' -- who is living at Foundling School -- story comes a few years after Mary's. Hmm... not really difficult to put two and two together.This is a problem for me. I find that when we already know what's going to happen to a character at the end of a book, through different timelines, that part of the suspense and mystery of "what's going to happen?" is lost. We already know what's going to happen, so why can't we just go there already and get on with things? Hence, James' chapters were the most exciting, because we didn't have any foreshadowed material or expectations to get in the way of the action.Finally, we have the point of view from a teacher at the school, and I honestly don't remember anything about this character (I had to go find the book and look up who the 4th POV was, as I couldn't remember). I have no doubt that the author did her research and got the historical details right -- she gives us some historical information in the afterword, which I always appreciate -- but ultimately, too many one-dimensional characters
Bitter_Grace on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think Folly is an excellent young adult novel. The story itself is a bit predictable, but that doesn't really matter since it's the characters that matter most, and the characters are beautifully drawn. Mary and Eliza, who work as household servants, are mistakenly at odds with each other over a man; while Oliver, who is a teacher at an orphanage, fosters the progress of a bright young boy, James. The lives of the four characters, each placed firmly in the margins of society, become intertwined as each struggles to find some sort of fulfillment.The book worked well as a historical novel in that it made the late 19th C. tangible for the reader and had just enough dialect in the characters' speech to give a certain flavour to the dialogue, without making it difficult to read. And I really enjoyed the author's writing style; it was a lovely read.On a more superficial note: I loved the cover image and design, but I think it's a shame that a Canadian publisher should feel the need to use American spelling.
mountie9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Good Stuff * Beautifully written * Written so eloquently and real that you feel you are back in the late 1800's * Heartbreakingly sad * Great story for convincing kids to use birth control * Impossible to put down, you care so much for EVERYONE in the story * James: I must adopt that boy and give him a great big hug * Extremely impressed with authors attention to detail and a truly remarkable gift for storytelling in all era's. I look forward to reading more of her works. I have also reviewed her other book Would YouThe Not so Good Stuff * language may be a little challenging for the younger YA reader (Or an overtired Mommy) * Need a lot of kleenex while reading it -- must stop reading sad books in my office, at reference desk and in front of my husband (he made fun of me the cad)Favorite Quotes/Passages"I did not know the heart were like a china teacup hanging in the cupboard from a single hook, that it could chip and crack and finally smash to the ground under a book heel." "Well, you'll not want to know the details any more than we did, though it might benefit mothers forever if young men had a brighter ken of how a baby arrives."What I Learned * That I am damn grateful that I wasn't alive during the late 1800's * Some old English termsWho should/shouldn't read * Due to sexual content I would recommend it for older YA readers. (It isn't very graphic though) * Probably not the best for a reluctant reader as language is a little challenging * A must addition to public and school libraries4 Dewey's (Definitely worth price of cover)
_Zoe_ on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm sorry to say that I found the first 80% of this book to be deadly dull. Who knew 250 pages of large font could seem so long? And yet with the point of view alternating between four different characters in two different settings, this too-long book managed to seem superficial as well. At least one of the four characters was completely one-dimensional, which didn't make for a very interesting read.I apologize in advance for the inclusion of spoilers in this review; there's really not much more to the book than the basic sequence of events, so I think it's necessary to describe what happens.The setting is Victorian England. Mary is sent away from home by her uncaring stepmother and obtains a position as a servant. She meets a boy and ends up pregnant. He leaves.This is a pretty uninspired storyline, though with good storytelling it could be developed into something worthwhile. Unfortunately, Jocelyn chooses to stick with the bare facts and instead tries to puff up the plot into more than it is by the abundant use of over-dramatic foreshadowing. The theory seems to be that telling us in advance how badly everything turns out will somehow heighten the sense of pathos, but in fact what it accomplishes is to detract from the actual story.A case in point is the cruel stepmother. Even before knowing a thing about her personality, Mary has to feel "a lump in [her] belly like a week of cold porridge" when she hears that her father is remarrying, and the stepmother has to be ugly too. The first thing the children say about their new stepmother is how her nose is "more bumps than nose" and a "turnip with fungus on it" would be prettier, or a "rotten potato". Because of course, this is what matters. So much effort is devoted to the idea that the stepmother is irredeemably awful that by the time we actually meet her it almost seems like a letdown. We've been told so strongly what to expect that the actual story seems almost secondary, especially since the advance telling takes up more space than the actual events.The same goes for Mary's relationship with Caden Tucker. We're told on the second page that he's a "scoundrel, braggart, and heart's delight", and that he's gone. He's later referred to as a liar as well. The impression built up is that he's a regular heartbreaker who moves casually from girl to girl. Again, all the big talk beforehand overshadows the actual story; and in this case it's even worse, because what we're told to expect doesn't even match very well with reality. When we actually see Caden with Mary, he seems like a decent guy. He's shocked and ashamed when he finds out he's impregnated her, and he comments that he'd kill anyone who did that to one of his sisters. In other words, he's not the heartless rake he's been portrayed as. He cares, but just doesn't react well to the shocking news. I wish we had been allowed to explore the real interactions between characters, rather than being force-fed the flat, black-and white interpretation of events. Telling rather than showing is always a bad thing, but it's even worse when the telling doesn't actually match the few real glimpses of the characters that we're able to catch.And this was one of the more developed stories! We simultaneously see the situation from the perspective of Mary's fellow maid Eliza, an incredibly flat character with only one thought in her head, and that a mistaken one: she thinks that Mary is involved with the servant Bates, whom Eliza loves herself. Needless to say, she develops a deep hatred of Mary and resolves to get revenge. I have to admit, I never have much patience for stories where the protagonist suffers greatly and needlessly because of some idiotic misunderstanding; when the solution for it all is just "talk to each other already!", I find that it makes for a dull and frustrating read.Anyway, this is only half the book. Meanwhile we're alternating with events set in the Foundling Hospital, where children born out of wedlock can be given
dasuzuki on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The chapter's in this alternate from the points of view of various characters and tells Mary and James's stories. At first they appear to be completely separate stories and it isn't until near the end that you find out how the two stories are related. I found both stories fascinating and heart wrenching. Mary was so naive and she soon finds herself pregnant with Caden's child but he disappears on her. Watching Mary come to terms with what she must do for the well-being of the child made me want to cry.James's story was just as touching. The scene where he is dropped off at the foundling house and separated from his foster mother would touch anyones heart. We see how precocious James is as he grows up in the Founding House and endears himself to one of his teachers and the school nurse.Aside from the wonderful main characters I also enjoyed reading about the supporting characters and what life was like during this time period. Eliza, a fellow servant with Mary, was a crack up. The fact that she found a crude and insensitive man so attractive and convinces herself that Mary must feel the same way was hilarious.The only wish I had for this book was to see what happens in the large gap in time there is between when Mary is pregnant and the end of the book when Mary is years older. She changes greatly and it would have been nice to see how she did it.
red_dianthus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I desperately wanted to like this book, especially after enjoying the author's other book, "Would You?", but I just could not form an attachment to any of the characters. The setting was well described and I liked the pacing, but I just did not find myself caring about the characters and the plot. It took me several tries to finish the book, and if I hadn't gotten it as a early review book i would not have finished it.
hrose2931 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Three fates intertwine in this moving and passionate love story set in Victorian London. Mary Finn: country girl, maid to a lord in LondonCaden Tucker: liar, scoundrel, and heart's delightJames Nelligan: age six, tossed into a herd of boysWhen 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.( Summary from Good Reads).Okay. You got me. I shop by cover sometimes. Who doesn't? The cover catches your eye and you think I've got to have that! The same with shopping for clothes only for me it's books. Well, that's what happened with Folly. I had to know why the girl looked that way. I still don't know why, but it was a good book.I started the book a little disappointed because it was written in 19th century vernacular. It was hard to understand at first. Then I don't know if the author stopped writing that way or I just got used to it because soon it didn't matter. It was clear as a bell to me. I really fell in love with the three main characters. There was nothing about them not to love. Mary was a country girl only 14 when she was forced to leave home, but she was strong willed and sure and good, back when that really meant something. James was a brave boy at six and smart to figure out how to get along in the world without getting picked on and he was so lovable, I could picture him with his blonde curls and giving his head a rub. And my heart ached for Oliver Chester who didn't feel like he was worthy of leaving the place he grew up. The chapters go back and forth between the characters and weaves the story only fully revealing the whole story at the very end, but an astute reader can probably guess the ending before then. I wasn't very astute until I went back and looked at the chapters.The book wasn't very long, but it was heartbreaking in places,(not enough to make me cry) and heartwarming in others. I read this in a couple of hours and enjoyed it. But, I still don't understand the cover. Maybe someone else will.
jakehlyn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Stellar historical fiction set in Victorian London with alternating narratives following the lives of an orphan boy in a foundling hospital and a young servant girl. After I got a handle on distinguishing the two main story lines I was equally captivated by both. Although the cover is quite appealing with a certain gritty glamor to it, it's not really representative of the book itself. Folly belongs in the hands of teens who looking for a more serious, sophisticated YA read.
sensitivemuse on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It took me a while to get into this story. It¿s a bit slow paced, but I thought Mary was such a great character in this novel, that she prevented the story from becoming dry and boring. The descriptions of Victorian London was well written and well done, especially done through the eyes of James, who has never before been to London, and seeing things through a child¿s eyes makes the descriptions clear and very easy to picture. Eliza, as a character was such a mean spiteful harpy you almost wanted to tell Mary to punch her in the face for what she¿s done to her. You really do sympathize with Mary, and as her situation does worsen later in the book you can¿t help but feel more sorry for her. I admire her strength and determination throughout her ordeal though, and her persistence does pay off (in one way or another). Especially in an age where women don¿t really have much rights, Mary does well on her own and it¿s nice to see this despite her ordeals.I¿d have to say that once Caden arrived in the picture, it became a little predictable as to what was going to happen. Yet at the end, I was close to wondering what in the heck does James and Oliver have to do with Mary and Eliza, and then it clicked in during the last few chapters. It was then that I realized, this book wasn¿t so bad after all. It¿s not a really happy tale, but a more somber one. Yet the ending gives an inkling feeling of hope and although it¿s hopeful, it¿s also melancholy. That being said, this book may not be for everyone. Overall, I rather liked it. One of the few novels I¿ve read about Victorian London that doesn¿t romanticize the period. It¿s serious, yet accurate plot makes it a good one to read. It¿s a short book, (less than 300 pages) so don¿t hesitate to pick this one up. Be patient with the slow start. It¿s really Mary point of view you¿re reading for.
bookittyblog More than 1 year ago
Folly was a different book. Not exactly my type of book but good anyways. This book was written from 4 different perspective and jumps back and fort between years. To me the author made every voice unique in the book and that way I knew who's perspective I was reading at the time. I grew fond of James quickly. We see him grow throughout the book and there is no way you can't help to care for him. Folly is sad and realistic because it describe how things were in the past.This book shows how the misinterpretations of events and actions of one person can change completely the faith of another and how little control we have of our own destiny. It also makes you think how different things were back in the 1800s and how now everything it's so easy to accomplish. I recommend Folly to people that like realistic books and are not easily intimidated by difficult vocabulary.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Mary Finn is only fourteen years old when she's forced out of her home in rural Lincolnshire at the behest of her new stepmother to act as a servant for the woman's sister at her roadside inn. Sixty-seven days later, Mary flees to London as nanny to Lucilla Allyn's infant son, only to discover the position is unavailable upon arrival. Despite her lack of domestic skills, Mary is able to secure employment as maid in the Allyn household and soon becomes ensconced in her new life. It's not long before she meets the dashing, young Caden Tucker - a British soldier who steals Mary's heart and leaves her in far more dire straights than she ever could have imagined. Inter cut with Mary's narrative is the story of six-year-old James Nelligan, to whom we're introduced on the day he must leave his foster home and return to the Foundling Hospital. Life as a foundling is brutal, and it will take all of James's resources just to survive, but thanks to his mischievous nature and innate cleverness, he manages to garner a few allies along the way. I'm reluctant to admit this, but I cried several times while reading FOLLY. Whether it was a scene depicting the grinding misery of Mary's early childhood, the gut-wrenching ache of families ripped apart, or the deplorable conditions and inherent coldness of the Foundling Hospital, Marthe Jocelyn draws an unflinching eye to the harsh realities faced by so many during the Victorian Era. That's not to say the book is without moments of joy; in fact, the closing sentiment is one of hope, which makes the book, in its entirety, all the more powerful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sensitivemuse More than 1 year ago
It took me a while to get into this story. It's a bit slow paced, but I thought Mary was such a great character in this novel, that she prevented the story from becoming dry and boring. The descriptions of Victorian London was well written and well done, especially done through the eyes of James, who has never before been to London, and seeing things through a child's eyes makes the descriptions clear and very easy to picture. Eliza, as a character was such a mean spiteful harpy you almost wanted to tell Mary to punch her in the face for what she's done to her. You really do sympathize with Mary, and as her situation does worsen later in the book you can't help but feel more sorry for her. I admire her strength and determination throughout her ordeal though, and her persistence does pay off (in one way or another). Especially in an age where women don't really have much rights, Mary does well on her own and it's nice to see this despite her ordeals. I'd have to say that once Caden arrived in the picture, it became a little predictable as to what was going to happen. Yet at the end, I was close to wondering what in the heck does James and Oliver have to do with Mary and Eliza, and then it clicked in during the last few chapters. It was then that I realized, this book wasn't so bad after all. It's not a really happy tale, but a more somber one. Yet the ending gives an inkling feeling of hope and although it's hopeful, it's also melancholy. That being said, this book may not be for everyone. Overall, I rather liked it. One of the few novels I've read about Victorian London that doesn't romanticize the period. It's serious, yet accurate plot makes it a good one to read. It's a short book, (less than 300 pages) so don't hesitate to pick this one up. Be patient with the slow start. It's really Mary point of view you're reading for.
Bookventures More than 1 year ago
Have you read Folly yet? If not then you have no idea that you are missing out on. This historical fiction by Marthe Jocelyn has all the elements of a great story; a strong cast of characters, great story line and plot that is not to obvious and the story is really well paced. But more importantly, it has a real message behind the story. By the time you get into this book, you would not want this story to end. Folly is about a young woman Mary, who leaves her comfort zone in the country side to work in London. The move is orchestrated by her 'evil step mother'. Her new position in the Allyn house brings not only a new opportunity for her but it also brings jealously, intrigue and love. For those of us who judge a book by its cover, the front cover of this book doesn't accurately prepare you for the story that you are about to read. It's the first paragraph in the book that grips you and sets up the tone for the remainder of the book. Jocelyn uses four point-of-views to help tell the story of Mary and James. These characters live in different time periods ie Mary (1878) and James (1888). I thought it was a great idea to not only get the perspective of the two main characters but to also get the perspective of other people who are closely related to the story. Without even knowing it, those four points-of-view is what ultimately builds the story. It is evident that Marthe's book belongs in the young adult genre. There are many issues in the story that would resonate well with that age bracket. Jocelyn is also really good at tapping into the emotions of teens and young adults no matter what period in time they live in. I guess you can call folly a great coming of age story as well since in the beginning, Mary's tone starts off as a teenager but ends as an adult. Somehow, Jocelyn's writing allows Mary to mature right in front of your eyes. You especially notice it in her tone coming to the end of the book. I think that adults will also appreciate this story since Mary grapples with very adult issues. You cannot help but feel for Mary in her situation. Speaking of the lead character, I really really liked her and I wished all women could be like her. Mary is funny, witting and so headstrong. She stands up for what she believes in even if that appears to be going against the established status quo in nineteenth century England. James on the other hand is so youthful, brave and extremely smart. It was a joy to get to know him. This is a light, funny story with real issues and Jocelyn is a great author who, even though she remains relatively unknown, should be on everyone's reading list.
KaydenceCA More than 1 year ago
Product Details * Pub. Date: May 11, 2010 * Publisher:Random House Children's Books * Format: Hardcover, 256pp * Sales Rank: 432,074 * Age Range: Young Adult * ISBN-13: 9780385738460 * ISBN: 0385738463 ?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