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  • Posted April 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Cat for TeensReadToo

    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.

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  • Posted July 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great Historical Fiction

    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.

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