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The Anatomist’s Wife

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Anatomist’s Wife (2012) Anna Lee Huber

Set in Scotland in 1830.

I must have read the first paragraph of about twenty books before I settled on a re-read of The The Anatomist’s Wife. Lady Darby has been hiding at her brother-in-law’s estate after her husband’s death and the ensuing scandal.

At a house party, when a guest is murdered, suspicion falls upon her (by the guests, not her family) so her brother-in-law asks her to help Sebastian Gage (son of a renowned inquiry agent) to look into the murder until the local authorities can arrive. (Because her BiL *would* normally be the local authority, they have to send to a neighboring area, which takes several days.)

To be clear, none of her family knew what plans her husband had in mind when Kiera’s marraige was arranged.

I, on the other hand, had declined my father’s offer to have a season, content with an arranged marriage of his making so that I might spend the time painting instead. To be completely honest, I had preferred to remain single, but my father would have none of that.

The strongest part of this story is Kiera’s family, and how they stood by her and sheltered her after the scandal, and were willing to be patient with her lack of interest in returning to society.

As strong and courageous as my sister was, that strength and courage did not carry over to matters of the internal workings of the human body. She had once asked me about the things I had seen during the years I was forced to assist my husband, and later confessed she had nightmares for a week afterward just from imaging the few things I told her. Telling her to think of the body as a work of art did not seem to console her as it did me.

One of the things I find fascinating about reading historicals is that no matter how prim and proper things were on their face, in a society of arranged marriages, things were different, and in some ways far more immoral than current times.

“Did Lady Godwin know who the father was?”

“Yes, but she not tell me. Only say she was pleased.”

I looked at Gage. He looked just as puzzled as I was. I would have assumed Lady Godwin would be panicked at the realization she was expecting and that her husband had been hundreds of miles away at the time of conception. There was no way of fooling the man into believing it was his.

Another thing I liked is that although Kiera does place herself in danger, it is not through acting stupidly–and sometimes the danger was completely unforseeable.

Then I picked up a page of foolscap and jotted off a quick message to Gage explaining my findings and my intention to speak with Lady Stratford. No matter how much I wished to do otherwise, I knew better than to run off without leaving word of my whereabouts.

This ended up being a good choice for distraction when I didn’t know what else I was in the mood for.
Rating: 7/10

Publisher: Berkley

Categories: British, Female, Historical, Mystery, Re-Read     Comments (0)    



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