FOLLY FRIDAY: A Valentine’s Day gift to you from William Fletcher

I don’t know about you, but for me, the best gifts are the ones that are heartfelt. The ones you know the giver thought a lot about and searched high and low until she found it—that perfect thing she knows you’ll love. Receiving a gift like that, however big or small, is magical.

Recently at my book launch my Aunt Shirley sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers and made sure they arrived at the launch.  My niece, Ashley, sent me orchids.  I felt like a ballerina after a debut when she receives that giant bunch of roses at the curtain call.  Also my aunt made me this awesome scrapbook page.

Art by Aunt Shirley

Art by Aunt Shirley


At the same party my parents gave me bookends in the shape of a mermaid, a nod to Vicky’s favorite painting A Mermaid.  I’ll treasure them forever and each time I look at them I’ll think about my book party and how happy I was.

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Which brings me to William Fletcher and Victoria Darling.  Will is Vicky’s art model and collaborator and when Vicky’s birthday arrives he surprises her with a gift.  I should mention that Will is a working class boy, a police constable without a lot of money.  And Vicky is an upper class girl, the daughter of a wealthy industrialist, who has everything she could ever want, every material thing, that is.  So what could William Fletcher get Victoria Darling for her birthday that she doesn’t already have? Will being Will found her the perfect thing.


SPOILER ALERT! Don’t go any further if you haven’t read A MAD, WICKED FOLLY yet and don’t want to know what the gift was.   Instead enjoy this kitten valentine…


And this cute picture of a boy feeding goats…


Excerpt from A MAD, WICKED FOLLY

“Happy birthday!” Will said when I reached him.  He handed me a small parcel wrapped in brown paper and tied with a green ribbon.

“Will! You didn’t have to do this.”

“I wanted to.  It’s just a little thing.”

He watched carefully as I undid the package.  Inside was slim volume of the poems of Tennyson.

“Turn to page twelve,” Will said.

I found the page, and there was the mermaid poem.  Above the poem was an illustration, a woodcut of Waterhouse’s A Mermaid.  The illustration was signed JW Waterhouse.

Without any warning, tears filled my eyes.  No one had ever given me such a kind and thoughtful gift before.  I pictured Will going into the shop, looking over the books, and then discovering the very one he knew I would love.  I even pictured him watching as the clerk wrapped the volume in brown paper.  I wondered if the clerk had tied the green bow on it or if Will had gone into a notion shop and chosen it himself.  These were all small things, but kindness was built of small things.

So in honor of Valentine’s Day I’m giving page 12 away to 20 lucky people. Leave a comment about your favorite gift you’ve ever received or given.  The first 20 commenters will get the page.  Send me your address through the contact me form and I’ll send you page twelve from Will.

Will's gift to Vicky

Will’s gift to Vicky

The Mermaid by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The Mermaid by Alfred, Lord Tennyson











The mermaid sketch was done by my very talented dad, W.R. Biggs

My dad and a couple of suffragettes

My dad and a couple of suffragettes





13 Responses to FOLLY FRIDAY: A Valentine’s Day gift to you from William Fletcher

  1. Oh my god that is seriously I think my favorite scene in the whole book :’) So beautiful. I think my favorite “gift” that I’ve given is actually not really a gift. Uhh that’s a weird intro. Basically, it was father’s day, and my dad is one of those people who has everything that he wants already (and whenever he finds out he wants something he buys it himself immediately), so I gave him a day to spend together – just the two of us. With family around, we never really got any time like that. So I treated him to a really nice lunch at a French restaurant and a trip to the cinema to see The Proposal, which we both loved 🙂 It’s a memory that’ll stay with me always, and I think him too!

    This giveaway is awesome 🙂 I’m so excited to read the poem!!

    • Sharon Biggs Waller says:

      Woot! First one in, Debby! I love that scene, too! Those poetry/art books were popular then, really collectible. The Pre-Raphs did one and Rossetti took so long in turning his in that he nearly bankrupted the publisher. Of course he was addicted to laudanum and chloral too, so…

  2. terrisbath says:

    Lovely idea from a lovely lady! We are celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary this year and I was thinking how our concept and practices of Valentines have changed. Every time I sit in my living room I look up at a huge beautifully framed mirror that appeared in our bedroom on our 1st anniversary with a huge heart on it drawn in lipstick. This year we snuggled down in front of the same mirror to watch the brilliant formula 1 film Rush which I bought us both as a gift.. Both were great.. How times have changed but still feeling the love!

  3. Wilhelmina Von Drake says:

    Love this post! And again: LOVE YOUR BOOK! That part made me get happy flutter feelings. I should hope my future beau would give me books! 🙂 I have two favorites, a Royal Typewriter from 1910 that a friend gave me, and an old teddy bear from my step great grandmother.

    • Sharon Biggs Waller says:

      Oh, I love that!! It’s so nice to have gifts with memories attached. : )

    • Sharon Biggs Waller says:

      Did you get your swag? I can’t remember if I posted yours. I’m going to have to start keeping track better! I need an assistant. : )


  4. Robin Bissett says:

    Wow!! Your father is talented! The most thoughtful gift I have recieved is a signed copy of Divergent by Veronica Roth from my mother. 🙂

    • Sharon Biggs Waller says:

      I love that one! Thanks Robin!

    • Sharon Biggs Waller says:

      Hi Robin,

      Have you sent me your address for your gifts yet? If you haven’t, go ahead and send it through the form on the Contact Me page.

  5. bn100 says:

    Gave an ereader to my mom