Getting back into the swing of things each week is hard. So is finding the quiet time to write a review over the weekend. In order to ease out of the weekend, I’ve decided to begin my blogging week with a mini review.
Much of January and February was a blur of family related responsibilities, so I didn’t get a lot of reading done. I read this book down to the wire but my blurb didn’t make in time for the March issue of Bloggers Recommend (just out on Friday). It wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy the book. It’s one I definitely recommend and it celebrated its publication on March 6th.
Hugo Delegate has lived a life of privilege. His family is rather experimental. Their great Delegate wealth was amassed by an earlier generation, allowing his parents to follow their bliss. They raised their children to do much the same, having their sons call them by their first names. Without any structure and with a propensity toward melancholy, Hugo finds himself on a private train heading West to visit mines his father owns in Nevada. It is there that they discover what may be a feral child on display like a sideshow freak. Hugo isn’t surprised when his parents do what is necessary to bring “Savage Girl” into their family to allow them to test the nature versus nurture debate in their own home. From that moment forward Hugo obsession shifts from his anatomical drawings to Bronwyn, the savage girl who isn’t so easily tamed. Then the murders begin.
Jean Zimmerman has written a sharp gothic novel about the impact of extreme wealth upon families, the role of societal boundaries, and obsession. I felt all along that Hugo, while already a college aged adult, was crying out for some structure in his life. Without them and without a need to provide for himself, he became easily bored and prone to odd behavior. On some levels, he wasn’t any more civilized than Bronwyn was. She in turn taught him more about living than his parents did. I was just as interested in watching these characters morph as I was in the murders that seemed to follow them. Zimmerman delivered on the promise of the book’s opening and I finished this novel happy.