Title: The Savage Instinct
Author(s): M.M. DeLuca
Amount of pages: 377
Read as: ebook
Genre: Historical fiction
The Savage Instinct M.M. DeLuca summary
The Savage Instinct journeys into the dark and desperate mind of a woman with nothing left to lose. After she’s released from the insane asylum her husband sent her to, Clara Blackstone struggles for her freedom and sanity under his watchful eye—until she finds an unlikely confidante and mentor in Mary Ann Cotton, England’s first female serial killer, accused of poisoning her husbands and children. As Clara grows increasingly suspicious of her own husband’s intentions, her fascination with Cotton grows. What lengths will Clara go to protect her money, her freedom, and her life?
The female murderer—such a captivating notion but so rarely explored beyond the femme fatale trope—fascinates in this novel,harkening back to Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace and Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle. DeLuca confronts head-on the taboo of the murderess, whose existence is a violent transgression against our ingrained notions of femininity. But in the context of Victorian female disempowerment, marriage itself was often its own prison. Here, the female murderer offers us a wholly gratifying sense of power seized. Even as it repulses, it gifts us a seductive canvas on which to explore our own latent rage.
M.M. DeLuca The Savage Instinct review
As a woman in the Western world in the 21st century, it’s sometimes easy to forget how far we’ve come. And how different my life would be, had I been born in different times. With The Savage Instinct Marjorie DeLuca shines a light on how small the world of women was in the late 19th century. The moment you didn’t act like a dutiful wife to your husband, you had the risk of being thrown into the asylum. Just for expressing your feelings. That alone would drive one truly mad. This is exactly what happened to Clara in DeLuca’s The Savage Instinct.
Clara’s story took me in and didn’t let me go for all of its 350+ pages. The atmosphere was eerie, the characters unreliable and the women’s story gripping. Beforehand I wasn’t aware that Mary Cotton’s character in The Savage Instinct was based on a real historic figure. Mary Cotton really was England’s first female ‘serial killer’. Even nowadays one can not be entirely sure if she really did what people claim she did. She never got a fair trial.
Compelling until the very end
I really loved reading The Savage Instinct by M.M. DeLuca and it made me crave more historical fiction set in the Victorian era. Right until the very end, and even after finishing, you don’t know whom you can trust. Will Clara and Mary Ann Cotton survive? What will happen to Clara’s husband? Is Clara going to follow up on Mary Ann Cotton her advice? So many questions that you are SO eager to get answers to while turning the pages of The Savage Instinct!