Cover Image: Anatomy: A Love Story

Anatomy: A Love Story

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I DNFed this at 30% because the gore just seemed over the top for a YA novel. To me it was just really gross and I enjoy the Stalking Jack the Ripper Series. I don't mind a little gore but this was all the way through. It gave me Stalking Jack the Ripper vibes but it wasn't done as well. Hazel and Jack were both kind of weird creepy characters, but not in a good way. Jack was pretty much stalking the actress at the theater he worked at. Hazel was just way to into her frog experimentation and watching men get their legs sawed off that it felt like she could be more of a serial killer than a surgeon. I'm sure some will enjoy it, but it just wasn't for me. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of the arc in return for an honest review!
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*I received a free copy of this ebook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

I was fully prepared to give this book 4 stars up until the end, but it left me so unsatisfied that I almost gave it 2 stars out of spite. However, overall, I found the book to be interesting, unique, and well written, so I've settled on 3 stars as a compromise. (I'm still irritated, though.)

I liked the main characters. Hazel (17) was strong willed and determined to pursue her goals despite the limitations and expectations placed on her because she was a woman. Even though Jack (17) had a rather grim occupation as a resurrection man, he was good, kind, and caring. He viewed Hazel as an intelligent person rather than just a pretty face, and I liked that. Of course things were complicated because she had been expected to marry Bernard (17) since they were children.

Throughout the book, I had to remind myself that it likely wouldn't be a happy fairy tale ending because the prospects for Hazel if she did not marry Bernard were quite poor, as her mother pointed out. That said, the ending was not what I expected. Additionally, several important issues were left without a true resolution. I suppose there could be a sequel, but I'm not sure that was the author's intention. If there were one, I would probably read it with the hope that it would fix things.

Prior to this book, I had no idea what a resurrection man was. That aspect of the book was gruesome and fascinating at the same time, as was the work Hazel watched and practiced. It's rather strange that stealing a dead body from a grave was not as serious of a crime as stealing the personal items from the coffin (it's true--I did a little reading about resurrection men after finishing the book).

Note: Some swearing. Bloody medical descriptions.
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First up: this is not a book to read at night. I’m not super squeamish, but I had some moments where I got a little grossed out. If this isn’t a deterrent, then this is a book for you! Horror gothic isn’t my usual genre, but I’ve read enough books that I have an appreciation for it. The book is advertised as a love story (literally in the title), but it wasn’t as romantic as I would have liked. The main character is rather young, although I realize that’s not really a big deal considering the book’s setting. However, I think the author did a great job with developing Hazel as an individual character.
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Hazel wants nothing more than to be a physician. Which is great except she resides in Edinburgh in 1817. Instead of learning anatomy and studying corpses she’s expected to marry her cousin, the son of a Viscount, and lead a respectable life. Hazel is not willing to give into her fate so easily and what follows next is a tale of extraordinary lengths one young woman goes to in order to follow her heart’s desire. 

The part of the title that classifies this book as a love story is a bit misleading to me. The two love interests don’t really start to interact in a meaningful way until well over half-way into the novel and from there they fall hard and fast. 

Well I thought it was cute how a resurrection man falls in love with a society lady, I actually cared more for Hazel shattering the glass ceiling than I did for the romance. She was such a relatable character and her willingness to see right from wrong even when the wrong would have benefited her made her the ultimate heroine to root for.

The story was unintentionally creepy simply by modern standards of medicine. If you’re squeamish this may not be the book for you. This novel is extremely well researched. 

Warning Spoilers Ahead: The part where Beecham reveals he is immortal kind of came out of left field and could have used further exploration. The story felt very real and then just randomly throwing in a fantastical element that was simply glossed over felt like it kind of cheapened the great storytelling up until that point. 

Despite that small hiccup I’d highly recommend Anatomy: A Love Story. It was a delightfully creepy read. 

Thank you to #NetGalley and #StMartinsPress for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Pros: Noble Blood is one of my favorite podcasts—it is well researched and entertaining—so I was very interested to read the author’s work of fiction. The cover art is eye catching, and I think some readers will read this book just because of the cover.

This book contains many things I like: a gothic tale, set in Edinburgh, a castle, a girl from a noble family who wants an education and a career! The topics of plague and inoculation were very timely. My favorite part of this book was the ending, which I did not expect or predict! 

Cons: Although I think the book was well done, it wasn’t really for me because YA romance is not my favorite genre.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press, Wednesday Books for the opportunity to read this book! I've shared this review on Goodreads and StoryGraph.

3.5 stars
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This was FUN, in a creepy-gothic-spooky kind of vibe way. Perfect for fall reading, in my opinion. Frankenstein meets feminism? Maybe? Catch your attenion? Good, it should. I thank netgalley for giving me this chance to get a read ahead of the game with this one but I can already tell this book will be talked about on booktok, maybe under the hashtags creepybooks, feministbooks, etc. the cover choice was beautiful as well, and all characters are well thought out. I adored it, and it will be a reread of mine closer to publication date!
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“What were miracles, but science that man didn’t yet understand? And didn’t that make it all the more miraculous that the secrets of the universe were out there, codes one might decipher if smart enough, tenacious enough?”

Hazel Sinnet is an upper crust teen who is raised to marry well, but longs for a life as a surgeon. She abhors living in the box society has placed her in because she is a woman. She performs science experiments behind her mother’s back and studies nonstop. 

Jack is from the poor section of Edinburgh and works in a theater and as a resurrection man to make ends meet. Resurrection men would steal bodies from graves to sell to medical schools when it was illegal for schools to get them unless there was an execution. 

Hazel and Jack become entangled as they work together to find bodies Hazel can dissect. They enjoy each other’s company even though they are from different sides of town and shouldn’t have anything in common. They are caught in a web of attraction, intrigue, and secrets. 

I won’t give any spoilers because I don’t want to ruin this is a fabulous book. You will really enjoy this book if you enjoy the author’s podcast, Noble Blood. I received an ARC for my honest review.
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Thank you so much Netgalley and St. Martin's Press/Wednesday Books for allowing me to read and review this book!

ANATOMY: A LOVE STORY is about Hazel Sinnett, a seventeen year old who has the dream of becoming a surgeon instead of marrying, having kids, and living the claustrophobic life of an 1800s lady. Jack Currer, an eighteen year old homeless teen, who lives above a theater in the rafters, is a "resurrection man". A resurrection man is someone who digs up graves for bodies and sells them to doctors/scientists to experiment on. After getting kicked out of  Edinburgh Anatomist’s Society school for being a woman, Hazel makes a deal with the doctor in charge: if she passes the final examination without taking classes she and other women will be accepted in the school and Hazel can be one more step away from her goal. During a chance encounter with Jack, Hazel realizes the encounter can work in her favor. Both Jack and Hazel strike a deal as well, he will unbury bodies for her to exam and help her find a cure to the Roman fever that is passing around like wildfire. While unburying the dead and studying for her exam, the two of them dig up secrets and a threatening darkness happening around Edinburgh. 

Hazel and Jack are the sweetest and most determined characters I've read so far this year. I truly loved reading Hazel's POV the most, though I do love Jack as well, I just think Hazel got a little more development. Hazel is such a headstrong, brave, and caring person. Jack is a dreamer, a lover, and a fighter. The two of them definitely meshed so well, I'm glad they had so much time together in the book.

I love the time period, though I wanted to strangle the men in this book for the ideals they have. Its amazing how much has changed since that time period and what we have become and are becoming as a human race with acceptance of women being in certain fields. It was super tough for women to be more than just a mother and something for men to just ogle. Women really have to fight to be heard and seen, sometimes even now-a-days when men don't always take us seriously. Hazel proved those men wrong by being strong, staying true to her beliefs and fighting for what was/is right. Jack was also such a great support system for Hazel especially when her family wasn't really there for her. 

I really enjoyed the story, the characters, and that epilogue really killed me and reminded me of how I felt after reading The Time Traveler's Wife. The ending is bittersweet and rewarding.

If you enjoyed Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco, you'll definitely love this book!

5 stars.
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I absolutely love the podcast Noble Blood. It’s probably one of the few podcasts I listen to immediately after it downloads and a big part of that has to do with Dana Schwartz’s narration and passion of history and often history that is more obscure. I know she’s written non fiction before, but, this is her first foray into YA historical fiction and I think it’s a really strong debut. Hazel is a wonderful heroine is determined in a time when determination by a woman could be considered dangerous. Schwartz’s voice is clear and strong and it was definitely a big part of me enjoying the book along with Hazel. The romance is lacking though, despite what the description and blurb of the novel says, the romance is very much secondary. People going into this thinking this is a straightforward YA romance should proceed with caution. I do recommend this if you’re a fan of Schwartz’s podcast and nonfiction it’s definitely worth it!
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Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Anatomy in exchange for an honest review.

Anatomy is definitely unique and tries to do a lot, but I think that's what keeps it from being spectacular. Since Anatomy literally advertises it's love story element in the title, I would have actually been fine if the plot took a backseat to the romance, but it's more like a lot of really cool ideas that all end up half baked, including the romance. We start off with what seems like is going to be a really cool historical feminist piece and while it's followed through on, it feels a bit underdeveloped once the love story is introduced. Which then become underdeveloped once the mystery is introduced. Which then becomes underdeveloped when we have to loop back to the other plot points.

This was still an enjoyable read and I'd want to read more from Schwartz, but it could have been so much more if all 3 main plotlines were given more time to develop organically.
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Hazel Sinnett wants to be a surgeon, but she’s a lady. She tries to sneak into lectures and is caught; so she buys bodies from a young and handsome resurrectionist man, Jack Currer. Hazel is pressured to marry her cousin, but his kiss is nothing like Jack’s. Roman fever spreads around the city and grave robbers are being found missing organs and arms. Something sinister is afoot… 

I loved Hazel’s passion and purpose to become a physician (especially in a time when it wasn’t socially acceptable). The pacing is a little slow, but picks up about halfway through. 

A great read-a-like for fans of Kerri Maniscalco’s Stalking Jack the Ripper.  Less banter, but lots of dead bodies.
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This was such a thrilling gothic romance with a haunting Frankenstein feel. Perfect for fans of Down Comes the Night and House of Salt and Sorrows.
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Book received for free through NetGalley 

It took a little bit of time to get into this book and then I was hooked. I adored it. That said I would really love another book continuing the story.
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I really thought I would like this book, a gothic setting in 1800s Edinburgh following a girl trying to become a surgeon and a resurrection man, yes please. Anyone in their right mind would see that description, this book cover, and immediately buy it. The marketing team did an incredible job. Sadly, I did not enjoy the actual book, for a multitude of reasons.

First off, to call this is a love story is far fetched. I’m not joking when I say that the protagonist meets the love interest for the second time halfway through the book. How can an author expect to develop a full fledged relationship in 160 pages? The answer (as least in my mind) is: you can’t. The couple kisses once or twice, with an actual standout “romantic” scene occurring once in this 320 page novel. The romance just wasn’t believable for me.

One thing I did like about this book was the characters. Our main character actually seems like a teenager in the way she approaches the world. I admired her, and understood the way she saw herself. She was confident after she had proven herself, but that didn’t mean she didn’t have doubts along the way. While the characters themselves were fully developed, the decisions that they made were poorly explained. Multiple times in the book characters did things I never could wrap my head around. After all, book characters are supposed to act like real people, and I was unconvinced that any real person would make the decisions these characters made.

In terms of the author’s writing style, I didn’t hate it. It could be a bit flowery and over-descriptive at times, but it was bearable. The pacing in this novel is where the real problem was. The beginning of the book felt slow, with multiple scenes being obvious fillers. Then, we get to the last half of the book and the speed starts to steadily increase. By the last quarter of the book, plot points were happening so quickly that I barley had time to actually comprehend them. Not to mention the twist at the end, which had no actual explanation to how the situation happened or worked. For a book called “anatomy” and filled with themes of science, I was expecting an actual delineation here, or at least some foreshadowing to ease the reader into the idea.

The most disappointing thing about this book is that it could have been really good. With more time to develop the romance, better pacing of the plot, and a bit of foreshadowing I could have loved this book. Sadly I just did not enjoy it. I take careful consideration of the novels I read and review and I promise to give my honest opinion, this is it. I feel like if the author had spent more time with beta-readers this could have evolved into a fantastic book. I’m silently hoping that there is a sequel released, the author definitely left this book open to a continuation of the story. I might actually consider reading it just to see how the author develops this story.

Overall, this book contained some great ideas… with poor execution.

I would recommend this to: Anyone looking for a book in a gothic setting with a strong female lead.
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DNF - did not finish. I was intrigued by this one and I love gothic tales. However, I could not connect with the writing and storyline so I decided to put this one down. Thank you, publisher and netgalley for the chance to check this out!
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Wow! Just wow! That’s so much than I expected: Alienist meets Frankenstein with Scottish romance vibes, hot love sessions and forbidden kisses at the graveyard! Yeap! Quirky, disturbing but also surprising, stimulating, intelligent! A great concoction for gothic thriller lovers who adore tough, bold, smart heroines! 

  Welcome to the 19th century of Scotland: where the plague erupted and womanhood was the biggest obstacle to choose medicine as profession. 

Poor Hazel Sinnett lives in a secluded, gothic family mansion, electrifying frogs for testing her peculiar medical methods behind the locked doors as her mother still mourns after her dead brother George and her little brother Percy stays in the middle of this chaos, behaving like most irritating spoiler kid.

  Hazel might be only 16 but she’s so determined to pursue her career in medicine in expanse of being disguised in her dead brother’s clothes, acting like a man to be accepted to the coursework. 

  The entire city of Edinburgh is getting through the most demanding and struggling times as the plague threat arises and the resurrection men who are the gravediggers for providing more dead bodies to the anatomists and surgeons to resume their researches against the deadly effects of fever and contagious disease. 

  Jack Currer is one of the resurrection men, taking risks to dig out more graves as the dangerous men lurk around the graveyards to hunt them. 

  His path crosses with the ambitious, vivid, reckless Hazel and they reluctantly turn into partner in crimes and the danger of the job, staying alive against terminal disease make them vulnerable. As sparks fly around them, they do everything to concentrate on their jobs. But as you may see: The intimate romance blossoms at most inappropriate places ( yes this book could be defined as graveyard romance! Isn’t it a fabulous new genre idea? )
  Hazel takes the responsibility to be a doctor too hard, dealing with her capricious almost fiancée, barely resisting her feelings for Jack! 

  I went back and forth between giving this mind blowing story four and five stars but that WTH, OMG I’m screaming at the top of my lungs ending was game changer! I’m rounding up 4.5 stars to 5 dark, haunted, gory, thrilling, deadly, creepy, unputdownable stars!

 Special thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press/ Wednesday Books for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts.
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Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Anatomy: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz is an amazing blend of history, romance, adventure, thriller, mystery, science, fantasy, and feminism.  I don't think I've read a more original YA book this year.  It's so hard to categorize this book.  If I had to compare it to something similar, I would say that this book is perfect for fans of TNT's The Alienist or Kerri Maniscalco's Stalking Jack the Ripper series.  The plot revolves around Hazel Sinnett, a proper young lady in 19th century Edinburgh who wants to become a surgeon.  Unfortunately, nobody will train a woman as a surgeon, and everyone is pressuring her to accept her place and marry a high-ranking nobleman.  She meets Jack Currer, a man from the lower classes who digs up corpses and sells them.  Since she needs corpses to learn how to become a surgeon, they agree to work together.  But when people of the lower classes go missing, including Jack's friends, the two get entangled in a sinister and deadly plot.

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 2 that expands on Hazel's predicament:

This was the sort of event Hazel wanted to attend! Not the dreary luncheons with dowdy widowers and insufferable debutantes or the dull, endless balls. As soon as Hazel turned fifteen, her mother had begun forcing her down to London for the social season, where Hazel would be squeezed into crinoline the size of a small sofa so that she could whiz around various ballrooms in the arms of various foul-breathed boys."

Overall, as stated before, Anatomy: A Love Story is an incredibly original and difficult-to-categorize book.  It's definitely isn't a typical YA fantasy.  I enjoyed the historical and medical aspects of 19th century Edinburgh, as well as Hazel's attempt to subvert or dismantle the patriarchy that pressures her to get married instead of pursuing a career.  I also enjoyed the slow-burn romance between Hazel and Jack.  The two characters are great, and I was rooting for them to get together the whole time. Fortunately, the romance goes at a nice, slow pace, giving them plenty of time to get to know each other before anything happens.  Lastly, I loved the mystery and thriller aspects of this book, specifically the people who go missing and how Jack and Hazel find out what's going on.  The climax of this book was amazing, and I couldn't put it down.  If you're intrigued by the excerpt above, or if you're a fan of any of the genres that this book encapsulates, then you won't regret checking it out when it comes out in February!
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I really enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. It was unique and the author took the story where I was not expecting. I will be recommending this book to all of my friends.
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A must read for young adult book fans! Anatomy: A Love Story will leave you surprised! You won't want to put it down.
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This definitely qualifies as a "gothic tale" but the romance piece definitely takes a while to get rolling and almost felt like an afterthought until towards the end. Speaking of the end, it felt a bit abrupt and I wanted more from the ending. Perhaps there will be another novel? 

Kindly received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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