Anatomy: A Love Story

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Industrial Age

Anatomy: A Love Story
Author: Schwartz, Dana
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Time Period: Industrial Age
Time Frame: 1817
Geographic Area: Europe
Country: Great Britain
Topics: Medicine, Graverobbers, Women in Science
Genre: Fiction
Reading Age: Young Adult, Adult
Format: Novel
Published: 2022

Anatomy: A Love Story
Immortality: A Love Story

World History > Industrial Age > Women in Science


"Schwartz's magical novel is at once gripping and tender, and the intricate plot is engrossing as the reader tries to solve the mystery. She doesn't miss a beat in either the characterization or action, scattering clues with a delicate, precise hand. This is, in the end, the story of the anatomy of the human heart." - Booklist (starred review)

Dana Schwartz’s Anatomy: A Love Story is a gothic tale full of mystery and romance.

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.

Emily's Review

I would describe this as Get Out meets Frankenstein. This story has such great gothic vibes with a wonderfully plucky heroine.

Hazel Sinnet lives in a secluded gothic mansion, where she spends her days studying medicine. She's determined to become a surgeon, even going so far as to dress in her dead brother's clothes so she can attend classes and lectures. Her future has already been planned out for her - she'll have to marry her cousin Bertrand eventually. But she hopes he'll be willing to let her continue her studies and even become a physician someday.

Jack Currer is a resurrection man - he digs up fresh corpses to sell to doctors willing to pay. But there are dangers in this trade far beyond what Jack could imagine.

Their paths cross when Hazel requires bodies for her studies and they quickly become partners in crime. Hazel is willing to get right down into the graves to dig up corpses with Jack. Roman Fever is raging through the city, and it is leaving more than enough corpses to study. However, there is something dark and sinister at play, leaving them behind as well.

I LOVE stories about girls and women in science, particularly in a time period when a young woman's job was to just be pretty and get married. Hazel is such a fantastic character. I loved her can-do attitude, but also appreciated her moments of self-doubt. She had a brilliant mind and desperation to learn which I found endearing. The story is very well-written and fast-paced - I found it difficult to put the book down.

I also loved the setting - the Edinburgh of this book felt deliciously gothic and creepy. Not to mention that medicine in the 1800s, surgery, in particular, was completely in horror territory. This novel is full of corpses and there is some gore but of the Frankenstein variety.

This is called "A Love Story" and I was a little concerned going in that it was going to be a full-on romance novel. There is a romance between Hazel and Jack, and it's very well done. However, after reading it, I think the love story is actually between Hazel and medicine.

Overall, I highly recommend this one to anyone who loves a good gothic story about medicine, grave robbing, and surgery. This is best for ages 14+

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