ISBN #: 978-0670014859
Page Count: 416
Copyright: March 6, 2014
Publisher: Viking Adult; First Edition
(Taken from Amazon)
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.
This novel was really written around one simple premise: nature versus nurture. Is it a person's genes that determines who they're going to be and how they're going to act or is a person's behavior based on how they're raised? Can you take a wild child, put them in a nurturing environment, and get them to leave their wildness behind to become civilized? There's a passage in the book that states this perfectly:
"The wild child is a blank slate. He (or she) is perfect for investigations of whether our physical inheritance influences us more than do the circumstances of our raising, or whether it might be the other way around. Nature or nurture? Can a proper, caring environment make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, in other words, or must that ear remain what its nature made it, the auricular flap of a swine?"
While this aspect of the novel appealed to me, for I love trying to figure out human nature, I realize it may not appeal to some of you. Have no fear, lovely reader! Yes, nature versus nurture is the premise of the novel, but the story is written in a narrative telling the story of several murders by a crazed killer, the sudden decline of a wealthy family, jealous loves, and ends with a surprise you won't see coming.
This novel made me think while it entertained me. I loved it ... and I think you would, too.
*A hardcopy of the novel was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.