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Posted November 3, 2012
Historical Mystery lovers - you're going to love this one!
Scotland, 1830. A widow whose husband used her artistic talents for his own macabre purposes. From the opening scream to the hushed ending, Anna Lee Huber’s The Anatomist’s Wife is a tight, historical mystery with skillful undertones of isolation, inequality, jealousy, and rules of society. Amid rustles of skirts and stirring of tea, clues are planted, lies are exposed, false leads send us along diverted trails, and characters are stripped of their proper Victorian façades. Here we see the polite drawing room tea, forced manners, and undercurrents of tension and injustice. One can serve tea while ruining a reputation at the same time. Thankfully, this book did not dwell on the cat and mouse games of London Seasons and scandalous liaisons. Okay there was scandal. But an unwarranted scandal cast upon Lady Darby, our protagonist. I loved the premise of setting this following the Resurrectionist Era of Burke and Hare and entangling Lady Darby in the bloody aftermath.
Aristotle would be delighted at Ms. Huber’s use of story elements. The plot was tight, the characters dimensional with clear goals, and even the secondary characters left us with tidbits of their lives. The themes of isolation, guilt, revenge and family devotion in this story are relevant today. While I did not find that the language rang true to the locale, the clean use of grammar and conversation style between characters clearly indicated the Victorian Era. Finally, the setting was in my favorite place. However, my Scottish obsession was not, at first, satisfied, as I wanted to be transported right away to the textures, buildings, landscapes and surrounding area of the Highlands. Yet as the plot thickened and lies were revealed, I was soon in the middle of lush chambers and chilly stairways, and then an unstable boat rocking above the dark depths of a loch.
The author’s intent for a good mystery is intelligently carried out with a tantalizing dash of romance slowly evolving and emerging through the self-imposed walls of Lady Darby’s isolation. Yes, I would have liked to see more sparks between Sebastian Gage and Lady Darby, but it would not ring true for this story. It would not align with Darby’s long self-exile and the gentle evolution of her return into society. Now the ending was the cleverest of all. Yes, it wrapped up with a credible resolution. Better than that, it left me very anxious to read the next book. Smart. See for yourself. Buy the book, a flavorful tea, and curl up under a good reading light. I bet you will not stop until the last page.
6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 3, 2012
Scotland, 1830. Following the death of her husband, Lady Darby h
Scotland, 1830. Following the death of her husband, Lady Darby has taken refuge at her sister's estate, finding solace in her passion for painting. But when her hosts throw a house party for the cream of London society, Kiera is unable to hide from the ire of those who believe her to be as unnatural as her husband, an anatomist who used her artistic talents to suit his own macabre purposes.
Kiera wants to put her past aside, but when one of the house guests is murdered, her brother-in-law asks her to utilize her knowledge of human anatomy to aid the insufferable Sebastian Gage--a fellow guest with some experience as an inquiry agent. While Gage is clearly more competent than she first assumed, Kiera isn't about to let her guard down as accusations and rumors swirl.
When Kiera and Gage's search leads them to even more gruesome discoveries, a series of disturbing notes urges Lady Darby to give up the inquiry. But Kiera is determined to both protect her family and prove her innocence, even as she risks becoming the next victim...
Anna Lee Huber has created an extraordinary heroine in Lady Kiera Darby. A heroine with an unusual past that allows her right into the middle of the murder investigation. A past that has isolated her and besmirched her name. A past she wishes would stay in the past.
Sebastian Gage has assisted his father in many investigations but has never undertaken one totally on his own. He is unsure of how Kiera can help him but he bows to the wishes The Earl of Cromarty, his host. As the guests point fingers at Lady Darby and proclaim she is the murderer, Cage decides to allow her to assist him even for no other reason than to keep his eye on her. But it isn't long before they start to have feelings for each other and he feels the need to protect her. Neither is ready to admit their feelings and Lady Darby has been burned badly in her prior relationship so the while the romantic tension is great, the pace is slow and absolutely perfect.
Huber takes us back in time, to a drafty and dark castle. We go deep into the remotest part of the castle for the preliminary inquiry to ascertain the cause of death of the victim. The halls are full of shadows and cobwebs. Lady Darby's travels through the fortress are always mired with the feeling that she is being followed or watched. The reader can almost feel the tickles up the back of our own necks as she travels through the manor and tries to search out the real killer.
The author has given us a haunting story, in a fabulous setting, with the most intriguing characters. The story itself is very fast paced but each word should be savored. This is a chilling tale that may give you a sleepless night because you won't be able to put it down. I can believe we have to wait until next September for the return of Lady Darby, but I know it will be well worth the wait.
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 22, 2012
Man I love a good historical mystery romance - and this was FANT
Man I love a good historical mystery romance - and this was FANTASTIC! Deanna Reybourn and Tasha Alexander fans should pick this up. Couldn't stop reading and loved every second!!
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 14, 2013
I love to read, mysteries and romance among my favorites. Writing of this high caliber is a treat. I am so impressed by the tight mystery, wonderfully drawn characters and the subtle beginning of a romance. This is a very tasteful romance that is fine for any age. The mystery is also tasteful but can be a bit shocking depicting the evil behind the misdeeds. I started reading mysteries in grade school. Depending on the individual grade schooler, I think grades 7 and up is fine. (Heaven knows they have probably seen tv shows that are far more graphic). I cannot come up with enough words of praise for this book and thanks to the author for her imagination and great writing. I am delighted that the main characters will be back in the next book of what I hope is a long series. I have read all the reviews here and suggest reading the review by "BetsyBean". I have never suggested a review before, but I appreciate her ability to tell you about the book without giving anything away. Read this wonderful mystery, you will be happy you did.
2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 20, 2013
CSI Old School Style -Excellent debut novel
Strong characters, wonderful family, brutal murder and a young widow artist with a keen eye for detail who most solve. Romance, yes, but not a historical bodice-ripper. What a great find.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 22, 2013
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Posted April 26, 2013
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Posted May 4, 2013
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