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Set in the late 1800's, Marthe Jocelyn's stunning new novel is told in the voices of four people whose lives and destinies intertwine. There's Mary, who begins "exceeding ignorant" (apart from what a girl can learn from family mayhem, a dead mother, and a grim stepmother) and winds up encountering lust and betrayal when she becomes a servant in a fine house in London. Mary's nemesis is another maid in ...
Set in the late 1800's, Marthe Jocelyn's stunning new novel is told in the voices of four people whose lives and destinies intertwine. There's Mary, who begins "exceeding ignorant" (apart from what a girl can learn from family mayhem, a dead mother, and a grim stepmother) and winds up encountering lust and betrayal when she becomes a servant in a fine house in London. Mary's nemesis is another maid in the household, Eliza. Eliza also knows lust and betrayal, but she doesn't know who is betraying who.
Mary's and Eliza's actions will intersect with a foundling home in London, where Oliver is a teacher who tries to avoid feeling anything that will perhaps make him live a real life. And then there's the foundling boy, James. Who will he grow up to be if he doesn't know where he comes from?
In the chaotic way of every life, where the past, present, and future collide, Marthe Jocelyn has traced a story that is heartbreaking and unforgettable.
"The narrative's strength is in its candor.... A realistic and very credible account of how one family's life is inexplicably and unexpectedly shattered."
— Kirkus Review
From the Hardcover edition.
Posted July 25, 2011
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.
Posted April 10, 2011
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 16, 2010
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.
Posted July 13, 2010
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.
Posted May 8, 2010
* 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.
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Posted January 23, 2011
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