Customer Reviews


40 Reviews
5 star:
 (16)
4 star:
 (14)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:
 (4)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Savage Girl Stole My Heart
Jean Zimmerman's "Savage Girl" has so much going for it, right from the get-go:

1) It's set in New York City during the Gilded Age, my absolute favorite setting for novels in NYC.
2) The cover art is FIERCE. I mean look at Savage Girl.
3) Our narrator is delightfully unreliable, incredibly wealthy, and has a family that can only be kindly...
Published 5 months ago by The Book Bird

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Big Disappointment
I bought this book ( at full price) because it sounds like a mystery/ character study set in Victorian Times. I could only make it a quarter of the way through, though, because it was so boring. The part I read was poor little rich boy of college age traveling with his parents through the mid_west by personal train and and finding Savage Girl. But instead of telling us...
Published 4 months ago by D. dyer


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Savage Girl Stole My Heart, March 6, 2014
This review is from: Savage Girl (Kindle Edition)
Jean Zimmerman's "Savage Girl" has so much going for it, right from the get-go:

1) It's set in New York City during the Gilded Age, my absolute favorite setting for novels in NYC.
2) The cover art is FIERCE. I mean look at Savage Girl.
3) Our narrator is delightfully unreliable, incredibly wealthy, and has a family that can only be kindly described as eccentric.

Weighing in at a solid 400+ pages, Savage Girl is a little slow to start, but soon you'll be flying through it. From the silver mines of the west, to the debutante dance halls of the east, what sounds like a re-telling of the “Pygmalion” story quickly turns into a fast-paced mystery. While on a cross-country trip with his “old money” family, Hugo Delegate, Harvard student and current drop out, encounters Savage Girl—a teenaged girl, “raised by wolves” and barely domesticated. The Delegate Family, with intentions that cannot necessarily be described as selfless, bring Savage Girl into their world of luxury and excess. But far from being the docile pet they expect, it soon becomes clear that Savage Girl, whose name is Bronwyn, actually may have her own agenda. In addition, it appears she seems to leave a trail of bodies wherever she goes… As Hugo finds himself becoming more involved, dare I say, obsessed, with his “sister” Bronwyn, it also becomes clear that he may also not be what he seems.

The highlight of this novel has to be Zimmerman’s characters. They are beautifully fleshed out and vividly fill the pages. Hugo is self-interested, a little bit whiny, and makes for a fun narrator as the reader is never quite sure what to believe. Bronwyn is surprising, strong, and quite believable, despite her outlandish origin story.

My only complaint is that I felt like the ending was a bit rushed- we spend roughly 350 pages on a wonderful adventure, only to have everything be wrapped up and tied with a bow in the last 50. Don’t get me wrong- the ending is satisfying, but it did not feel like it had the same depth and richness as the rest of the novel. I’m sure people will be of divided opinion re: the epilogue, and I’m eager to hear the discussion.

Disclaimer: I received an advance copy of this book via the publisher for review.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical Fiction at its best, March 6, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Savage Girl (Hardcover)
The Gilded Age years 1875-1876 come vividly alive as Hugo Delegate, the (fictitious) troubled, well-educated son of an outrageously wealthy Manhattan family tells the story to his lawyers; itʼs an intriguing mystery centered on a (fictitious) wild girl, found in a side-show act in Virginia City, Nevada, the rowdy silver-rush town. Self-sufficient, smart, and determinedly independent, she remembers that her name from her early childhood was Bronwyn, and she is transformed into the brilliant star of the next debutante season in NYC. But whenever she smiles at a man, whether heʼs a tuxedoed young waiter at Chicagoʼs Palmer House or a gypsy dancer in Central Park or a young member of society, the man turns up dead soon after, viciously murdered and mutilated. Is Bronwyn, in fact, a perverted, two-faced killer?

Everything is knitted into a solid fabric of historically verifiable details: the elaborate twelve-car private train (the consist that transports the family between Nevada and NY) and the Upper East Side mansion across the street from Central Park, the horse-mucked streets of the city, the fatherʼs financial schemes, the amusements, the food, the high-fashion French clothes, the bustled dresses, the cross-dressing, the debate pitting Nature against Nurture, the use of opium, the fascination with anatomy, the influence of the Comanches, Harvard and the Henry James family in Boston, the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia with the torch of the Statue of Liberty... these are not token morsels of fact, scattered here and there, but a solid historical fabric that wraps around the story and helps to tell it.

Students of ancient fable will be reminded not only of Pygmalion but also, surprisingly, of Romulus and Remus; anthropologists will tell other stories of feral children; fans of author Jean Auelʼs series, Earthʼs Children, will recall Ayalaʼs cave lion; students of the American West will remember the Comanchesʼ superior horsemanship, the presence of Chinese, and the progress of the new railroad across the county; students of the economy will recognize the ups and downs of the markets in the Gilded Age; fans of language will enjoy the vocabulary and the pleasant style of the writing, sometimes suitably formal and other times breezily succinct.

This author has studied New York City, having lived there most of her life, most recently in a log cabin, not far north of the city. From New Amsterdam to The Gilded Age to Current Happenings which she narrates in an on-line blog (jeanzimmerman.com), she knows her stuff; Iʼm convinced. Sheʼs fond of the macabre, too; think Edward Scissorhands, and think of a jar full of... I wonʼt say what. (In her first fiction, The Orphanmaster, it was cannibalism.) Anyway, though I shivered at times as I read Savage Girl, I could PICTURE what was happening, and I could HEAR the lines as I read; I think any reader will watch breathlessly as the scenes of Savage Girl unfold almost cinematically, and I think any reader will listen easily to this well-constructed narrative.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When Feral Children Become Debutantes, March 28, 2014
By 
Sarah-Hope (Santa Cruz, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Savage Girl (Kindle Edition)
Savage Girl, set in the gilded age, is a fast-paced read, full of surprises. It's populated by a rather remarkable array of characters including an unstable Harvard student, his precocious younger brother, his wealthy father who "collects" people (a berdache, a Chinese woman, the girl of the title), scions of old New York families, a murderous ex-sheriff, trustworthy and not so trustworthy household retainers.

The plot is sort of a My Fair Lady/Jack the Ripper mash-up with a feral girl turned side-show performer turned debutante as the chief suspect. Or is it the Harvard student who grows less and less stable as the novel progresses?

Savage Girl is what I think of as a not-quite-five-stars book. It's a gripping read with the sort of quirky details that bring a novel to life, but it never quite crosses over from good read to truly great read. Partly, I think that's a result of our narrator, the Harvard student. He holds himself at a distance from most others, including his family, which means the reader walks the book in the sort of isolation he experiences. We can suspect his cynicism isn't always warranted, but he doesn't let us get close enough to anyone else to confirm this possibility.

The novel raises interesting ethical issues--nature vs. nurture, Malthusian economics, class struggle, gender--but it poses problems rather than exploring them. One of my favorite types of reads is the novel that makes us agonize over the right course of action in a situation without any clear right course. Savage Girl could have been this, but by time we get to the end of the novel and realize which characters are its ethical core (but its narrative fringes, unfortunately) it's too late.

I absolutely recommend this book as a satisfying, thick, entertaining read. If you're longing for something more than entertainment, you won't get it here--but you'll nonetheless enjoy every minute.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "There is a hole in the human heart. It is deep and cold and can never be filled.", March 18, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Savage Girl (Kindle Edition)
Born into an immensely wealthy family, Hugo has cause to understand the nature of the lack within himself. His mother has seen men fill the need with gold, but he as other teachers who tell him the secret is love. Bronwyn is the "wild child" and she becomes the focus of Hugo, his family, and an aching city. This is a remarkable book in the scope of its setting. In addressing the world of 1879, Zimmerman has delivered a complex exploration of life on the ground in that Post War era. The details of the plot encompass the real life events of the day including the robber barons, the rules of high society, the abortionist woman doctor, and the lives of the demi monde in the brothels of the Tenderloin. The language is lush. The book contains my favorite porn: rich people porn with all the trappings of wealth and beautiful clothing and possessions.

Although Bronwyn is inevitably by far the most enmeshing of the character, it is Hugo's growth that molds the book. His lamentations on his own weakened mind and his endless self exploration comes weary in spots, but it serves its purpose to highlight his growth into consciousness. As he pursues a murder mystery in his narrative, he traces in detail the derailments that he has followed in understanding this girl who is not constrained by his standards. This is a book that grows with memory once completed and I hold this to be high praise. The question is if love can ever be considered civilized or savage. The answer is complex.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Savage Girl, March 11, 2014
This review is from: Savage Girl (Kindle Edition)
This book perplexed me and at times made me smile. I was all over the place trying to figure it out. I was led down many a wrong path trying to figure out just who is the serial killer in this book.
I love the premise of the wild child found, brought into society and then what happens to her and everyone around her as a result. This book has a wealth of information in it about the ultra rich and very disconnected scions of society in New York and how everyone followed the petty whims of the very rich back in the day.
I would like to say had Bronwyn been more forthcoming with Hugo at some point he wouldn't have been so crazed all the time, that being said, I think more of what and who Bronwyn was or where she was coming from might have also made for a more enjoyable read.
Like Hugo I felt left out at times, discombobulated, floundering and not knowing if I should put the book down or just turn the page!
This is mainly a book about the ultra wealthy Hugo, son of the wealthy Delegate family in Manhattan circa 1875, who when on a family trip to Nevada, they come upon a female wild child in a side show act who had allegedly been raised by wolves with razor like claws made especially for her and her wild girl side show act . Hugo immediately feels an affinity, a pull he can't explain with this wild child and this almost becomes his undoing.
The family decides to "buy" her and take her on as their new pet project having done so many times before with other oddities of the population who have since become members of their ultra rich entourage and they try to make her a part of a family that they think anyone in their right mind would love to be a part of. Right mind being a key word here...
They soon find their "Savage Girl" is a very capable, secretive, independent and extremely functional girl in any situation, she can & does run circles around her new family and the people she meets. She tells them she remembers her name is Bronwyn and after that she is clothed and readied for society but, is society ready for her?
There are people sneaking in and out at night, including Bronwyn, Strange goings on that happen in the dark in the huge Delegate home or citadel as it is known. Soon men who have admired Bronwyn and paid her attention start to turn up dead and mutilated all over town. Who could be doing this? Is it Hugo, who is consumed with jealousy, falling hard for his savage girl or is it the savage girl herself who can not be tamed by money or society?
This is something you will be puzzling out throughout the book, wondering who is the savage killer on the loose...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Big Disappointment, April 26, 2014
By 
D. dyer (Charlotte, NC United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Savage Girl (Kindle Edition)
I bought this book ( at full price) because it sounds like a mystery/ character study set in Victorian Times. I could only make it a quarter of the way through, though, because it was so boring. The part I read was poor little rich boy of college age traveling with his parents through the mid_west by personal train and and finding Savage Girl. But instead of telling us about her, the narration is about trains, other machines, the odd people in their party and the mines. But none of this is told in an interesting way. I really wanted to finish since I paid full price and I WANTED to know about the girl, but it was just too much of a chore.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but a little slow at times, March 8, 2014
This review is from: Savage Girl (Hardcover)
This was the first time I have read a book by this author. It was pretty good. It had a lot of twist and turns throughout the story. It did get a little slow and redundant a few times but then would improve again. I look forward to reading more by the author. I give this a 4 out of 5 stars. I received this book through the first reads program for a fair and honest opinion.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SAVAGE GIRL, May 9, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Savage Girl (Kindle Edition)
I ordered "Savage Girl" by Jean Zimmerman after reading a review in the NY Times. It did not disappoint. A fascinating fantasy based on numerous facts of events in history. One gets lost in this book and the fantasy becomes real. It is a book that I wanted to continue reading but was sorry when it was finished.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous read!, May 8, 2014
This review is from: Savage Girl (Kindle Edition)
Lyrical, well-written historical mystery that brings time and place to vivid life. The characters are enthralling. Plenty of hints, but most readers will be surprised by the ending... which is thoroughly satisfying. A riveting peek into the complexities that make us human. A dynamite story that will not soon be forgotten.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring and predictable, May 4, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Savage Girl (Kindle Edition)
In the beginning the book was plain boring. It was just my stubbornness that made me continue reading. Although it became a little better towards the end, this is not a book I wil recommend.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Savage Girl
Savage Girl by Jean Zimmerman (Hardcover - March 6, 2014)
$27.95 $20.17
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.