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FOLLY by Marthe Jocelyn Kirkus Star

FOLLY

By Marthe Jocelyn

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: May 11th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-385-73846-0
Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Alternating narratives weave a tale of fatalistic misfortune set in Victorian England with an unexpected note of hope striking the final chord. A girl cast out of her home by her stepmother finds a place as a kitchen servant, falls in love with a charming young soldier and is soon terrified to find herself pregnant. Meanwhile, a boy raised in a loving foster family reaches the age at which he must leave them and return to the foundling home of his birth. Careful readers will guess the connection between the two early on, but this will not lessen the impact of this poignant story, which lays bare the ravages of the era’s poverty and social stratification while tempering the tone with mischievous humor. Nicely realized secondary characters, particularly a kindly teacher and a jealous maid, add dimension, and the author’s note relating her own family history will further create empathy. A thoughtful, accessible and richly detailed read that moves along at a satisfying clip—this will appeal beyond just already-established fans of historical fiction. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)