Title: Anatomy: A Love Story
Author: Dana Schwartz
Series: Anatomy #1
Genre: Historical Fiction/Sci-Fi
Audience: Young Adult
Length: 338 pages
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: January 18, 2022
Recommended for fans of: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Content Warnings: gore, medical content, sexism, body horror
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, the university will allow her to enroll. Without official lessons, though, Hazel will need more than just her books – she’ll need bodies to study, corpses to dissect.
Lucky that she’s made the acquaintance of someone who digs them up for a living, then.
But Jack has his own problems: strange men have been seen skulking around cemeteries, his friends are disappearing off the streets. Hazel and Jack work together to uncover the secrets buried not just in unmarked graves, but in the very heart of Edinburgh society.
A gothic tale full of mystery and romance about a willful female surgeon, a resurrection man who sells bodies for a living, and the buried secrets they must uncover together.
I really wanted to love the book. The cover drew me in, and the synopsis sounds right up my alley. I truly admired Hazel’s determination to pursue her education and live independently in an era when women relied so heavily on men for their wellbeing. Some readers might be turned off by the gory and macabre descriptions of surgery and grave robbing in the story, but I thought they contributed to the dark, gothic atmosphere. While the book has romance, the true love story is that between Hazel and her study of anatomy.
However, I had a lot of issues with the plot. I understand that Hazel’s mother was not the most present parent, but I found it unbelievable that a girl of Hazel’s status during the Regency era would be left so totally unchaperoned and free to do as she pleased. In general, there were a lot of very convenient plot points throughout the book that made things too neat and easy for the characters. The book also included an unnecessary and underdeveloped supernatural element.
I liked a lot of things about this book, but overall the pieces didn’t come together in a satisfying way for me. I couldn’t help but compare it to Stalking Jack the Ripper since it gives off very similar vibes, but I thought SJTR worked better. However, a sequel was just announced, and I’m hoping the new setting will allow this concept to live up to its potential.
Thank you to the publisher for the gifted copy.