ARC Reviews,  Reviews

Dana Schwartz’s Anatomy: A Love Story ARC Review

Thank you to Dana Schwartz, Wednesday Books and NetGalley for the advance reader copy of Anatomy: A Love Story. This book releases on January 18th!

I have been a huge fan of Dana Schwartz’s podcast Noble Blood for a while now. So I jumped at the chance to scoop this title up the minute I saw it on NetGalley.

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.

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.”

Check out my more detailed thoughts below…

  • Characters: Our protagonist is Hazel Sinnett is excentric, resourceful and independent. She rejects most aspects of the rich high society she is growing up in. Much to the chagrin of her mother, her emotionally distant mother. That compliments Hazel’s physically distant father. Hazel wants to be a surgeon and I loved the drive she had towards making her dream a reality. There are two men in Hazel’s life, Bernard and Jack. Bernard is a childhood friend, who she has been set up to marry basically since birth. Hazel herself describes him as “nice enough.” Jack is a lot more of an exciting character, he is a resurrection man, exhuming the bodies of criminals and selling them to medical students for money. I liked him but I didn’t love him. It felt unrealistic who quickly he would flip flop on who he had romantic feelings towards. I also feel like we did not know him as well as we knew Hazel.
  • Setting: The story’s setting is nineteenth-century Scotland, Edinburgh specifically. The setting is very Bridgerton-esque. Staples of the time are in play such as going down to London for the season. With this setting it brings the limited amount of medical knowledge we did know. Much as I expected Dana Schwartz’s work is well researched. There are passages on the medicine of the time and they are really interesting. The medicinal and setting elements were the strongest aspect of this book.
  • Pacing: This YA novel is alright when it comes to pacing. The short and quippy chapters are helpful. The vocabulary and writing are sharp. The language is vivid. The issue with the pacing for me was that it took me a long time to get into the story. Once I was in, I had to put a bit of effort in to keep reading the story. Some things in the book felt rushed while other things dragged.
  • Romance: I did not buy into the romance in this story. Hazel and Jack had a very insta-love style to their relationship. Jack loved one girl one day and was head over heels with Hazel the next. Hazel kept stringing her betrothed Bernard along. I get why she did, but I was not much of a fan of it. A love story is in the title, so I just wished the romance elements of this book were stronger. I did like their first kiss a lot, I will not spoil it for you but it was a unique setting that made for a unique scene.

Anatomy: A Love Story receives three out of five stars.

Thank you again to Dana Schwartz, Wednesday Book and NetGalley for the review opportunity. Thank you for reading and supporting my blog!

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