Release Date: March 6, 2014
Source: Publisher via First To Read
Genre(s): Adult, YA Crossover Appeal, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Synopsis from Goodreads:
A riveting tale from the author of The Orphanmaster about a wild girl from Nevada who lands in Manhattan’s Gilded Age society
Jean Zimmerman’s new novel tells of the dramatic events that transpire when an alluring, blazingly smart eighteen-year-old girl named Bronwyn, reputedly raised by wolves in the wilds of Nevada, is adopted in 1875 by the Delegates, an outlandishly wealthy Manhattan couple, and taken back East to be civilized and introduced into high society.
Bronwyn hits the highly mannered world of Edith Wharton era Manhattan like a bomb. A series of suitors, both young and old, find her irresistible, but the willful girl’s illicit lovers begin to turn up murdered.
Zimmerman’s tale is narrated by the Delegate’s son, a Harvard anatomy student. The tormented, self-dramatizing Hugo Delegate speaks from a prison cell where he is prepared to take the fall for his beloved Savage Girl. This narrative—a love story and a mystery with a powerful sense of fable—is his confession.
Special thanks to Viking Adult and Penguin’s First to Read for providing an advance copy of this book for review!
Savage Girl is a mysterious story, filled with murder, family, and a touch of romance. Unlike many adult books I have chosen to read, this was one that I didn’t want to put down.
Although Savage Girl begins at a slow pace, it gradually picks up speed at about a quarter of the way through it. It is a fairly large book, just over 400 pages. But because of this the author is very descriptive, giving it a dark and gothic feel. I was reminded a lot of Frankenstein while reading. (Frankenstein was even mentioned in this book, which was an added bonus! I love it when books mention other books!)
One this that I really enjoyed about the book was the unique point of view from which the story is told – a confession. I really loved how the reader doesn’t know what to believe when it comes to the murder mystery that the story is somewhat centered on. Hugo, the confessor, is a possibly unreliable source for the events that happened. He believes that he’s going insane, giving the reader the same notion.
The one and only complaint that I have when it comes to Savage Girl is that I found that I didn’t become attached to the characters. Bronwyn was my favorite out of the group. Her transformation from savage animal to intellectual and smart lady was great. Especially with the underlying question of if she really did “it”.
Overall, Savage Girl is a mysterious and dark historical fiction woven with family scandal, murder, and a haunting romance.