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.
In terms of the overall rating of the story, I would give it 4 stars.
In terms of how I specifically liked it (considering i like epic fantasy, and paranormal novels), I would rate it 3 stars.
For a historical fiction story, I found this book to be really exciting. This first half of the book is a little slow (but I might just think that because I just finished reading a Game of Thrones book 3 before reading this). The character development is a main theme in this story as “The Savage Girl” is introduced into high society of late 1800’s New York. The one thing I found was lacking in this book was a strong connection to the characters. I was just not strongly emotionally invested in Hugo or Bronwyn. That being said, there were lots of interesting characters that you would not expect in a novel such as this (including Tu-Li,Queen Zuni,and Sage Hen).
The mystery aspect of the novel seemed to come and go. When the first murder happens, there is a lot of hype from the characters, but that quickly fades and goes back to a calm flow of events for a long time – until the next murder. What I loved is that I never guessed who the killer was. There were a few times when I was sure of the murderer, but I was proven wrong in the last chapter. The last chapter of the book, and the epilogue concluded that story perfectly. It answered all questions that arises in the climax during chapter 31.
What I absolutely love is the cover of this book. It is beautiful! And that is exactly how I pictured Bronwyn to look during her transition into high society.