Cover Image: The Savage Instinct

The Savage Instinct

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Member Reviews

Interesting story reminiscent of “the yellow wallpaper” I enjoyed the atmosphere and the feminist tone but ultimately DNF
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I got about 70% through the book before I had to admit, I did not care and so i put it down. Objectively, I think a lot of people could enjoy this book. I was just not one of those people. So I put it down. And so I will not be giving a proper review.
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I did not enjoy reading this book that much. I appreciate the author's vision though and see potential in the writing. Thanks to net galley and the publisher for the copy.
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This book was very hard to read for me, but not because I didn't enjoy it. It drove me a little mad. However, it provides amazing insight into the 1800s and mental health treatment during the 17th century. The character's, and the mental health aspects were historically accurate, and well researched. The character's were human enough for you to like and hate them at the same time. It was a fun, if thoughtful, read.
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Honestly I don’t have an interest in reading this book anymore and I want to be more selective with what I request.
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This was definitely one of the best books I have read this year... I did managed to finish this book within a few hours. It was captivating and difficult to put down.
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I loved the use of the historical fiction and mystery genre, it was a well done story with interesting characters and a great plot. I look forward to seeing what the author will write next.
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I have always been fascinated by Mary Ann Cotton. England's first female serial killer so was very keen to read this book. The book does not disappoint.
The two women central to the novel are unusal to say the least : one of them is a serial killer and the other is emotionally tormented by her husband to the point of bringing her to the edge of the unthinkable.
The characters were convincing and the story was compelling. I wish there had been a bit more page time for Mary Ann Cotton but that does not detract from the story itself.
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This just didn’t end up being a book that interested me. When I first read the premise, I was very excited and invested, but getting into it made it clear that it just wasn’t for me. Hopefully it works for others out there!
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Easily one of my favorite books of 2021 so far! The Savage Instinct is a thrilling, infuriating, and mesmerizing look into the myth of female hysteria and female poisoners of yore, as well as a look into the reality of abusive and manipulative relationships. I loved every second of this book, even though many of them enraged me. I wanted to bring Clara's husband, Henry, to life just so I could kick his ass myself! But what is a story without a villain, aye? Anyway, highly recommend this one to anyone who loves a dark and twisted tale with a historical flavor. It was beautifully written and thoroughly enjoyable.
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Another great read, not so much my thing will be checking out author and this type more often. I’d like to say this was more than 3 star but please just because it was 3 star don’t skip
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I was excited about this book but it just didn’t grip me and I DNFed this book at about 25%, I was very disappointed with this one as I thought I’d love it
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Thank you to the publisher, author and Netgalley for an Advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  This is a masterfully written novel about a young woman trapped in a marriage and her unusual friendship with a murderess.

At the beginning of the novel we learn that Clara Blackstone is returning from time spent in asylums to her husband's house in Durham.  She is determined to put the horrific death of her child behind her and settle into married life with her ambitious husband - she is under pressure to be a prominent wife in the community and help him with his social climb. 

She is encouraged to begin some charitable work and visits the infamous child and husband killer, Mary Ann Cotton, who is being held in the prison in Durham, awaiting trial.  What starts out as morbid curiosity becomes a strange bond between these complex women and a possible means of escape from Clara's increasingly unbearable existence as the wife of an evil man.

I found some parts of this book very difficult to read, especially the terrible treatment Henry, Clara's husband, and other men subject Clara to.  But this book is very well written and the black despair of Clara's life in interspersed with the knowledge that she eventually escapes her husband's devious plans.

The sympathy I felt for Mary Ann Cotton is difficult to explain and also a credit to this talented author, who writes with an equally strong grasp on empathy and history.

This is a dark, macabre and at times, uncomfortable read - but I relished every word.
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I'm so grateful to Marjorie DeLuca, Inkshares, and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this ARC ebook in exchange for my honest review.

"The Savage Instinct" is about Clara Blackstone, who suffered a mental breakdown after giving birth to a stillborn baby and is sent away to an asylum by her husband, Henry. When she's get out, it's pretty clear that Henry is not happy with her return and that he is capable of anything to prove her insanity. At the same time, she starts charitable work at the prison where she meets Mary Ann Cotton, England's first female serial killer. Soon enough their relationship develops into a friendship and a strong influence. When everyone calls her mad, is there any way of Clara to gain her freedom?

This book is the perfect mix of thriller and historical fiction! I adored how the author weaved in the required historical fact into the narrative. Mary Ann was terrifying, but as we read, we realized that she's not the villain even though she's not inocent at all. Clara is so easy to connect with and feel her sadness by her grief and traumas. This strange female relationship of two women who were both negligected by society and faced its machist judgments in different ways creates a powerful narrative to a thriller who made me anxious and bitting my nails. Even with the slow pace at the beggining, the story's wrapping up and satisfying conclusion were perfectly crafted.
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thanks to netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a digital arc in exchange for an honest review.

this was quite the interesting read, i just think this book wasn't for me. i was frustrated the whole time i was reading this and just wanted to finish it. the main character is stagnant, the scene transitions are rough and not in a subtle way. i wanted more out of this, but it just didn't work for me at all.
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It had a very interesting promise as a plot, but somehow I have found it very boringly written and I could only read it very slowly. Maybe it was because of my english knowledge as the writer used old and literature-like language. However, I have liked the parts when Clara and Mary Ann discussed, but Clara altogether and her life had the more boring parts until the last 100 pages. Oh and the end, it was so sad and annoying!! I would have written it differently.
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" I BECAME ACQUAINTED with madness at the age of twenty-six"

After giving birth to a stillborn baby, Clara suffered a mental breakdown and as a result of the psychological trauma, her husband Henry locked her away in an asylum.
After a full year of physical and mental torment, a doctor declared that Clara can go back to her normal life with her husband. Soon after the release Clara finds out that her husband is not happy about her return and that he would do all he could to prove her mad and lock her in an asylum once more, this time for good, and his only aim is to seize her fortune.

As Clara and her husband go to their house in Durham, they face the news of Mary Ann Cotton, England's first female serial killer, who was thought to have killed twenty persons.
As her husband and his colleague attempt to prove her mad and do all they could to restrict her movement, Clara resorts to charitable work at the prison, where she meets the famous Mary Ann. Soon enough their relationship proves to be more than charitable work and develops into a friendship and a strong influence.
As the time passes we follow Clara's attempt to gain her freedom, but when everyone calls her mad, is there any chance of ever getting away?

What I loved about the book:
OH MY GOD!! This book is so dark. It has the right amount of horror, the right amount of madness and the gripping tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
The writing style was just so good. This is an absolute page turner.
This is a very good book that doesn't shy away from the fact that many women suffer a lot of pressure and hate.

Trigger warnings: violence, PTSD, Sexual violence, sexism, and mental disorder.

Thank you to Netgalley and Inkshares for providing a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Having suffered through the trauma of a stillbirth, Clara Blackstone is finally being released from the asylum her husband had committed her to. Joining her husband in his new home in Durham, where he has a new position, she quickly finds that her freedom is tenuous and her husband cold. A chance sighting of an infamous poisoner, Mary Ann Cotton, leads to obsession as she repeatedly visits her in prison. 

Set in Victorian England, a time when women had no rights within marriage, this story explores ways in which women were endangered by a husband's power and greed along with other women's compliance and complicity. When all it took was two Doctor's signatures and a woman could be consigned to an insane asylum for life. 

Clara is traumatized after the delivery of her child, at the asylum, and then in her new home as her husband Henry forces her to take a sleeping draught each night. And under the influence of a senior professor, it is Henry's mind that seems to be coming unhinged with the power he wields over Clara. As his intentions become clearer, Clara sinks farther under the influence of Mary Cotton.

Written in Clara's voice, this is not altogether an easy read, but the early scenes hooked me in as her narration reflects the splintering of a mind subjected to torturous medical treatments. Conversely, the lessons she learned in the asylum see her attempting to hold everything, allowing conversations to go on about and around her or to be overheard that illustrated the thinking of the time but were maddening to read. 

A provocative, possibly polarizing, psychological thriller that is propelled as much by the writing as the story. 

This review refers to a temporary digital galley I voluntarily read through NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher. A positive review was not required and these are only my own, honest opinions.
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One of the best Historical Fiction I've read this year. I don't usually pick up historical fictions because they are not that catchy for me but when I read the synopsis of the book, I thought it would be amazing and indeed it turned out to be amazing. The etiquettes by the characters are fantastic and this seems that the book has been very well researched. We have a serial killer and I was just hooked by that. I could not put it down for even a moment. Marjorie is truly an exceptional writer!
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Thriller isn't something I usually go for: I've read exactly one book before The Savage Instinct that was meant to be haunting and it didn't really deliver. This one, though, did. Steeped in atmosphere and beautifully written, this book absolutely sucked me in from beginning to end. The pace at which the story unfolds is definitely a slow burn, but not so slow that you'll lose interest. As more and more eerie aspects about the two women it follows are revealed, the tension ramps up and then doesn't let go until the conclusion of it all.
Full review to come on my YouTube channel.
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