Name: The Anatomist’s Wife
Author: Anna Lee Huber
Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Historical, Romance
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Kiera Darby lives in 19th century Scotland with her older sister, brother-in-law, nephew, and two nieces. Recently widowed, Kiera escaped to her sister’s home after being falsely accused of heinous crimes. Her late husband was a surgeon who specialized in autopsies and Kiera was his unwilling assistant (through an arranged marriage). In those times, the idea of women being involved in such things was unthinkable. When word got out, all of Scotland thought such a sick woman should be hung immediately.
She was quickly acquitted because of her ignorance of her husband’s practice. She followed his orders without question, as all wives were expected to do at the time. Now living with her sister’s family, Kiera is slowly moving on with her life. Until a house-guest is found murdered in the garden and Kiera is called upon to find the cause of death. The nearest authorities are days away and her brother-in-law needs this resolved as quickly as possible. Reluctantly, she agrees.
This is how she meets Sebastian Gage, the son of a prominent investigator and another house guest. Kiera must now find a killer before he or she kills again, while also defending her innocence against a houseful of guests who believe her to be guilty of murder.
** Minor Spoilers Ahead**
“The Anatomist’s Wife” has a plot I haven’t seen before, which really boosted my overall rating. Kiera is a complex character, with a painful past that most women wouldn’t even dream of experiencing. After sketching numerous autopsies, she has a general understanding of human anatomy, which helps her to quickly discover Lady Godwin’s cause of death. It was a refreshing change of pace to read about an aristocratic woman with actual life skills besides knitting and table manners.
The author also does an excellent job of evolving Sebastian Gage’s character, from an annoying playboy to competent investigator and overall trustworthy man. I really didn’t like him at first; he was snobbish and judgmental. By the end, I was really hoping he and Kiera would get together. The last sentence revealed that “The Anatomist’s Wife” wouldn’t be the end of their relationship, though:
For as it happened, trouble was brewing near Edinburgh, and it would once again bring Gage and me together, far sooner than either of us could have predicted, and with unexpected consequences.
Another thing I absolutely love about this book is that most of the snobby lords and ladies visiting the estate learn the meaning of “Karma is a bitch”. Kiera and her sister definitely don’t suffer in silence, with hilarious and seriously gratifying results. When Kiera finally snapped, I was so happy that I actually laughed aloud (something I rarely do when reading).
A word of warning: there isn’t an excessive amount of gore, but it may be too much for the fainthearted to handle. The author doesn’t hide the gruesome facts of the murder and there is a lot of blood.
Overall, I seriously recommend this book. I finished it in less than a day because I just couldn’t put it down. There were no slow parts or excessive thinking (i.e. paragraph after paragraph of the narrator speculating or pitying themselves).