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Fiction Psychological

The Savage Instinct

by (author) Marjorie DeLuca

Initial publish date
May 2021
Psychological, Psychological, Historical
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2021
    List Price

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"A fascinating portrayal of womanhood in Victorian England that is also a nail-biting thriller that will keep readers riveted until the very last page." Booklist

Perfect for fans of Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace and Hannah Kent's Burial Rites, this taut psychological thriller offers a delicious take on deviant and defiant Victorian women in a time when marriage itself was its own prison.

England, 1873. Clara Blackstone has just been released after one year in a private asylum for the insane. Clara has two goals: to reunite with her husband, Henry, and to never—ever—return to the asylum. As she enters Durham, Clara finds her carriage surrounded by a mob gathered to witness the imprisonment of Mary Ann Cotton—England’s first female serial killer—accused of poisoning nearly twenty people, including her husbands and children.

Clara soon finds the oppressive confinement of her marriage no less terrifying than the white-tiled walls of Hoxton. And as she grows increasingly suspicious of Henry’s intentions, her fascination with Cotton grows. Soon, Cotton is not just a notorious figure from the headlines, but an unlikely confidante, mentor—and perhaps accomplice—in Clara’s struggle to protect her money, her freedom and her life.

About the author

Marjorie DeLuca spent her childhood in the ancient cathedral city of Durham in North-Eastern England. She attended the University of London, Goldsmiths College, studied psychology, then became a teacher. Marjorie immigrated to Canada and lives in Winnipeg with her husband and two children.

Marjorie DeLuca's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"DeLuca keeps readers guessing. Minette Walters fans will be pleased." Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Not only does this novel do Mary Ann Cotton justice, but it paints a realistic and emotional portrayal of the struggles of a woman in Victorian England.” — Mystery & Suspense Magazine

“Fans of Fingersmith and Alias Grace should enjoy Marjorie DeLuca’s take on deviant, dangerous, and defiant Victorian women.” —Erin Sulla, Librarian at University of Illinois “DeLuca’s thriller is like boiling a lobster; the pot gets hotter and hotter while you weren’t watching till it is boiling over in the final act where the tension is high and keeps the pages turning.” — Horror Buzz

“Immediately gripping.” — Biblio Obscura

“Underneath all the wonderful dramatic tension is the frequently horrifying theme of pre-code of ethics psychology and a medical-legal system far too willing to certify inconvenient people insane.” —Utah Valley University

“Knocks your socks off.” — The Book Review Crew

“Flawless narration that captivated me until the very end. Recommended to everyone who enjoys atmospheric historical fiction featuring strong women.” —The Elder Books

“If you have high blood pressure, maybe skip this one. The writing and story is incredible—I can’t remember the last time I was this angry at a story I loved.” – Only The Darkest Reads

“A compelling story set in the 1800s about a young woman as she navigates suffocating societal expectations, the torments of the human mind, and a growing fascination with England's first female serial killer." — Jacqui Castle, award-winning author of The Seclusion

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