Anatomy: A Love Story

Wednesday Bks. Jan. 2022. 352p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250774156.
Gr 10 Up–In 1817 Edinburgh, Hazel Sinnett and Jack Currer would ordinarily never cross paths. After all, she’s a lady who will eventually be a viscountess, and he’s a Resurrection Man, providing recently deceased bodies to the Edinburgh Anatomist’s Society for training. However, 17-year-old Hazel doesn’t care about being a lady or marrying a viscount. She wants to be a surgeon, so she decides to train in secret and pass her examinations. All Hazel needs is cadavers for practice, so she hires Jack. However, Jack and Hazel are soon caught up in a mystery when they discover that some of the cadavers, people who supposedly died of Roman plague, are missing vital organs. They suspect someone is killing Edinburgh’s poor for nefarious reasons. Schwartz creates an exquisitely intricate world that is both romantic and macabre; the setting of 1817 Edinburgh is detailed without being overwhelming. The central mystery is intriguing and horrifying; readers will eagerly turn pages, though this is not a book for squeamish readers, as it contains graphic, though not gratuitous, descriptions of human anatomy.
VERDICT A suspenseful, intricately plotted gothic romance, perfect for fans of macabre historical fiction. Recommend to readers who enjoy Kenneth Oppel’s “The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein” series or Megan Shepherd’s “Madman’s Daughter” trilogy.

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