This was a book that I was excited about when I got the pitch and then I kind of forgot about it until closer to the review date. I wasn’t entirely excited to read it when the time came to start it, but that slight was rectified almost immediately when I started this one.
This book had a little bit of everything, romance, mystery, fantasy, and history. I loved this one almost from the first word! It made an excellent early fall/Halloween read.
Manhattan, 1850. Born out of wedlock to a wealthy socialite and a nameless immigrant, Cora Lee can mingle with the rich just as easily as she can slip unnoticed into the slums and graveyards of the city. As the only female resurrectionist in New York, she’s carved out a niche procuring bodies afflicted with the strangest of anomalies. Anatomists will pay exorbitant sums for such specimens—dissecting and displaying them for the eager public.
Cora’s specialty is not only profitable, it’s a means to keep a finger on the pulse of those searching for her. She’s the girl born with two hearts—a legend among grave robbers and anatomists—sought after as an endangered prize.
Now, as a series of murders unfolds closer and closer to Cora, she can no longer trust those she holds dear, including the young medical student she’s fallen for. Because someone has no intention of waiting for Cora to die a natural death (summary from Goodreads).
This book touched on some of the most interesting aspects of Victorian society. While this book is set in Manhattan, the English influence can still be seen in this book. The controversial busy and selling of dead bodies to science and medical students as well as grave robbing is predominantly featured in this book and I absolutely loved it! So I have a macabre curiosity? Yes, absolutely. But as a social historian I also love how resourceful people and students were. The whole body snatching industry was quite the operation and took quite a bit of ingenuity if you ask me. Not to mention this book explores quite a bit about the medical profession during that time and I absolutely loved that….beyond words!
While I found many of the medical anomalies captivating as well as some of the moral ambiguity discussions, I was quickly diverted by all the interesting characters. I loved that there were feminist characters like Dr Blackwell, though I would have liked to have seen a little more of her. I easily loved Cora, as the protagonist she was perfect and interesting. As a resurrectionist, that should make her stand out, but for me it was her ethnicity that stood out. To me being a resurrectionist was just part of her job rather than who she was. I loved that she was a minority in a time when minorities weren’t widely trusted or accepted and that she wanted to be a doctor. She was memorable and I loved her.
There are some paranormal elements to the story, but to me it wasn’t the focus. At the heart of this book, it’s a mystery. The mystery outshines the paranormal. It also features a good deal of forensics and I found that it captured my imagination and intrigue.
This book took me by surprise and I was hooked from the first chapter. I loved it and read it in one weekend. I would highly recommend this book, especially in time for Halloween! And can I just say how in love with the cover I am? If that doesn’t say Victorian then I don’t know what does. That cover is perfect for this book and made me want to read it not to mention buy a hard copy for my bookshelf to display!
Kindle Edition, 364 pagesExpected publication: September 18th 2018 by Lake Union Publishing
- Review copy provided by: Publisher/Author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
- Recommendation: 5 out of 5
- Genre: paranormal, Victorian lit, mystery
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