Wednesday 27 April 2022

ANATOMY: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz


Edinburgh, 1817.

Hazel Sinnett is a lady who wants to be a surgeon more than she wants to marry.

Jack Currer is a resurrection man who's just trying to survive in a city where it's too easy to die.

When the two of them have a chance encounter outside the Edinburgh Anatomist's Society, Hazel thinks nothing of it at first. But after she gets kicked out of renowned surgeon Dr. Beecham's lectures for being the wrong gender, she realizes that her new acquaintance might be more helpful than she first thought. Because Hazel has made a deal with Dr. Beecham: if she can pass the medical examination on her own, Beecham will allow her to continue her medical career. Without official lessons, though, Hazel will need more than just her books - she'll need corpses to study.

Lucky that she's made the acquaintance of someone who digs them up for a living.

But Jack has his own problems: strange men have been seen skulking around cemeteries, his friends are disappearing off the streets, and the dreaded Roman Fever, which wiped out thousands a few years ago, is back with a vengeance. Nobody important cares - until Hazel. 

Now, Hazel and Jack must work together to uncover the secrets buried not just in unmarked graves, but in the very heart of Edinburgh society. 

Firstly, this cover is absolutely beautiful. It's such a simple piece of art that captures the heart of the plot. So, thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy.

Hazel Sinnett isn't as interested in getting married as she is in becoming a surgeon. But it's 1817 and ladies are expected to behave a certain way, while being excluded from many things. Jack Currer is a resurrection man and stagehand, just another person trying to survive in Edinburgh's Old Town. When the two meet, they realise they might be able to help each other in a lot of ways...

Well, that was amazing! A seriously awesome book that I found hard to put down.

I got sucked into this gloomy tale as soon as I started reading. The city of Edinburgh at the beginning of the 19th century is a cesspool of filth, entertainment, and scientific breakthroughs. It's a place that isn't pretty, even for the wealthy because there's a plague sweeping through the city.

This most fascinating story captured all of that misery and desperation in such a vivid way that I felt like I was temporarily transported there.

Actually, all of the imagery is described in the same detailed way. Starting from the grave digging, all the way to the many surgical procedures handled in the interesting narrative, as well as the social expectations, and the anatomy Hazel is so obsessed with.

Hazel is the main narrator, but we also catch a glimpse of Jack's POV. I really liked both Hazel and Jack. Hazel is such a strong-willed young woman with an interest others consider morbid and reserved only for the male species. And she does everything she can in order to learn the trade, even if it's bound to backfire because the odds are against her. Jack is just as strong. He works two hard, physical jobs to stay afloat in the decaying city he calls home. Their time together was captivating. Their connection serves as the backbone to the events that help uncover the horrible mystery they find themselves in the middle of when Hazel starts helping the poor.

Anatomy: A Love Story turned out to be a very dark and entertaining novel peppered with the frustration of how women were treated/disrespected through history, even when they had ambitions to be more than wife and mother, but still weren't considered important family members. There's a serious Frankenstein vibe throughout that I found intriguing, and a sense of wonder that spills from every page. Plus, I'm always a sucker for strange happenings in the middle of the night inside a cemetery. Especially in such a bleak setting, during an awful and unsteady time.

It's also a heartwarming love story between two young people who should never have even crossed paths, let alone found each other.

I absolutely loved this! ❤️

Anatomy: A Love Story, January 2022, ISBN 9780349433356, Piatkus

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