Grade 9 Up Mary Finn is unmarried and pregnant. Her baby's father has disappeared and she's been dismissed from her domestic position. A kindhearted woman takes her in, but then dies after the baby is born, and Mary is homeless again. She realizes that her son's only hope for survival is to be raised in the Foundling Hospital. Six-year-old James has been happy in his foster home, but now he must return to the hospital, where he was placed by his mother as a baby, so he can receive his education. His third-person narrative, which takes place in 1884, alternates with Mary's first-person account, which is set between 1877 and 1878. This alternating point of view may be a bit confusing for teens at first, but the story will quickly pull them in. Jocelyn's characters are richly drawn and fully developed, and the setting of late-1800s London is vividly detailed. The climactic scenes between Mary and Eliza, another maid, are funny and sad at the same time. The novel has a melancholy feel to it, but readers will care very much for these characters as they experience first love and sex, physical pain, jealousy, homelessness, hunger, shame, desertion, and heart-wrenching decisions. Teens will find Folly historically enlightening as well as rewarding. Wendy Scalfaro, G. Ray Bodley High School, Fulton, NY
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When author Jocelyn learned her grandfather had been born out of wedlock and raised at London's Foundling Hospital, her curiosity was piqued. Research led to names and places and a “sentimental” hope that the woman who gave up her baby also had romance in her life. Here, Jocelyn reshapes family history into the story of Mary Finn, living in Victorian England. A new stepmother leads to a move to London, and an encounter with a handsome soldier eventually leads to a baby. Mary's story, told in a clear-sighted, sometimes rueful voice, alternates with that of six-year-old James Nelligan, fostered during his early years and now back at the Foundling Hospital, where he tries to make a life for himself. Jocelyn sharply draws both Mary and James; her keen ear for dialect gives all her characters dimension, while her eye for detail makes her settings real and rich. The story stumbles a bit when other characters take over the narration, but readers will be caught up in the dual tales and revel in the promising ending. Grades 8-12. --Ilene Cooper --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
I often feel my reviews for books that I didn't like are more informative than those for books I did like. Read morePublished on January 9, 2012 by Barbarino
I picked up Folly while doing research on foundlings in literature. I'm rather familiar with foundling literature that dates from the 19th century and before but was curious about... Read morePublished on September 9, 2011 by lebarnes
Told in an authentic voice, Folly is an eye-opening look at not only the ramifications of our choices, but also 19th Century English society. Read morePublished on August 3, 2011 by Kate B.
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. Read morePublished on July 25, 2011 by bookittyblog
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. Read morePublished on January 31, 2011 by Heather
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? Read morePublished on November 30, 2010 by Dunyazad
A quick, simple read set in another time and place when raising a child as a single mother was not an option, regardless of your class and status. Read more
The chapter's in this alternate from the points of view of various characters and tells Mary and James's stories. Read morePublished on September 6, 2010 by Debbie's World of Books
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... Read morePublished on July 13, 2010 by Bookventures Book Club