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.
This book sounded amazing, just from the deal announcement. A gothic love story set in 1800s Edinburgh, about a girl who dreams of becoming a surgeon, a man who digs up dead bodies, and the shaky alliance they form. It sounded like it would be dark, bloody, and amazing!
I really, really, really hate saying I didn’t love a book, but I didn’t love this book. I wanted to, and there were parts of it that I enjoyed, but I think it just wasn’t for me.
I feel like this book was trying to do a lot of things at once, and the plotlines sort of got jammed down into something shorter, when they could have benefitted from something longer and more fleshed out. There is only twoish achingly romantic scenes. The romance seems more like a side plot than anything else, which I thought was weird because this was literally marketed as a romance. There is also a plotline regarding Hazel’s desire to be a surgeon, and then there is this underlying mystery that steps it’s toes into the mystical. It all felt very short, and the way it was put together just felt a bit off. I found myself asking “why” multiple times because I just didn’t get why a choice was made. It felt like the book was trying to be too many things at once, and it left me feeling frusterated. I wanted it to lean into the romance more, I wanted more from each plot point.
And, the weirdest thing is, I felt like there was a lot of filler. There were multiple plot points vying for attention, and yet I felt like there were so many scenes that were there to fill in gaps or pad the book in some way. I guess that also contributed to some plot points feel short.
The ending also felt a bit adbrupt. I felt like there was more to resolve than what was done, but I think that stems from my feelings regarding the plot. I get why it ended why it did, it just wasn’t for me.
One thing I did like about this book was the writing. It flowed really well, and made the book a lot more enjoyable!
Hazel also felt like a actual, real, teenager which I thought was awesome! The way she thought, and acted, and really just felt, felt like a real teenager.
While I didn’t love this book, I don’t think it’s bad! I think other people will love it. It has amazing writing, and the characters are really solid. I do hope others love it.