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.
Inspired by the story of her grandfather and his mother, who gave him up to London's Foundling Hospital, Jocelyn (Would You) intimately reimagines and fictionalizes their lives in alternating chapters and in different time periods. In 1876, 15-year-old Mary must leave home, not long after her mother dies, for a job as a scullery maid in London. A conniving co-worker, Eliza, encourages Mary to meet a young man in order to keep her away from an admiring butler; soon Mary finds herself in trouble after a passionate encounter that she herself deems unladylike, but a lady were never what I got up in the morning to be. Meanwhile, in 1884, six-year-old James must leave his beloved foster mother to return to the Foundling Hospital for an education. Told in third person (as are Eliza's chapters and those of an instructor at the Hospital), James's story is perhaps the most affecting, as he is alternately despondent and intrepid in seeking familial connections. The novel skillfully illustrates how the lives of those who resided belowstairs in Victorian England were at the mercy of those with means. Ages 14 up.