“Savage Girl” by Jean Zimmerman
If you’re looking for a riveting tale of high society and the untamable wilderness, then look no further than Jean Zimmerman’s novel Savage Girl. The tale revolves around an 18-year-old girl named Bronwyn who was raised by wolves in the wilds of the Nevada wilderness. She is adopted by a wealthy Manhattan socialite family, the Delegates, in 1875 and is taken back to the East Coast in order to be civilized. Once they deem it’s proper for Bronwyn to go out in public, the Delegates decide to introduce her to their high society buddies. While a pack of suitors find her irresistible, they also wind up mutilated a few days later. This begs the question: is the willful Bronwyn a cold-blooded killer?
To make matters even more muddled, Harvard anatomy student and tormented soul Hugo Delegate falls in love with the wild “Savage Girl” and becomes more and more obsessed with her until readers discover that he too is not what he seems. Despite the hard-to-believe “origin story” that surrounds Bronwyn, she’s a willful, spunky heroine that comes to life before our eyes. Meanwhile, although Hugo is a bit whiny, watching him become more and more obsessed with his “sister” is suitably disturbing. Aside from the compelling characters, Zimmerman brings to life the Gilded Age and the hedonistic lifestyle of the too-wealthy-for-their own-good socialites of the era. While Bronwyn is described as cold, what readers will eventually uncover is that the wealthy family are the true cold ones.