ANATOMY: A LOVE STORY, by Dana Schwartz, Wednesday Books, Jan. 18, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (young adult)
Anatomy: A Love Story, by Dana Schwartz, follows a young woman as she fights to become a surgeon in Georgian-era Edinburgh.
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. —Synopsis provided by Wednesday Books
Sometimes you see a book cover, and you just know you have to read that book. That’s what happened with me and Anatomy: A Love Story. The cover foretells of beauty, complexity, love, and, of course, anatomy. And after completing the book, I can honestly tell you — it lives up to its cover.
This Gothic novel is dark, nuanced and compelling from beginning to end. Author Dana Schwartz deftly combines anatomical science and romance. She seamlessly slips between the two, creating a relationship that’s both believable and mysterious.
In fact, mystery runs throughout Anatomy: A Love Story. It’s sort of the backbone that moves the plot forward, while Hazel’s studies are the blood and her relationship with Jack is the heart. Combined with strong supporting characters and constraints of Georgian society, it’s an entire system that comes together to form an enticing body of work.
Anatomy: A Love Story has a shadowy, sort of Frankenstein feel to it. It’s one of those books that you’ll want to read curled up under a blanket. The year has just barely got under way, but I already know that this novel will be on my “best of” list come the end of 2022.