The road to self-discovery is a treacherous one for everyone involved in the heart-wrenching Madame X conclusion. Each of the primary characters is portrayed in varying lights, as they are dependent on one another. The lives of Caleb, Logan and Isabel coalesce into the startling, but not entirely unexpected, ending to Wilder’s compelling series.
Jakob is sent to America to live with his only remaining relative when his wealthy father commits suicide after his wife dies. His cousin turns him out on the street after purloining his inheritance. Although educated, he struggles to survive until a wealthy patron pulls him out of the gutter. She uses him to entertain men and women alike who are intrigued by the handsome young man. She turns him into an addict, but he works his way out when she dies. He becomes a legitimate businessman, and suddenly, Jakob gives it all up, sells everything and disappears. Caleb emerges. Isabel has struggles of her own as Logan lies wounded in the hospital. She rushes to his side knowing he was shot by Caleb, the man whose clutches she cannot escape. Then a situation arises that forges their lives together once again. (BERKLEY, Aug., 304 pp., $15.00)