Friday, September 28, 2018

Blog Tour Review: The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang

From the Back Cover:

Two hearts. Twice as vulnerable.

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. 

My Thoughts:

Core Lee is a medical anomaly. And in a world on the cusp of modern medicine, medical anomalies are big business. When news of the birth of a girl with two hearts spreads, Cora's guardians try to keep her safe from body snatchers and dissectionists by hiding her in the slums of New York City and raising her as a boy, and thus her alter-ego, Jacob, comes into being. But Cora is destined for greater opportunities, and so, when she turns fourteen, her guardians move her back into the fringes of high society as a young woman. But now not only are doctors clamoring for intriguing bodies to study, museums and showmen are engaged in a competition of one-upmanship to draw thrill-seeking crowds into their establishments. And the rumored girl with two hearts is still their holy grail. So Cora stays a step ahead of them by becoming one of them, moving among society as a young woman of means by day, keeping tabs on who is sick, and leading a gang of men at night as Jacob to retrieve the recently deceased and deliver them to universities and museums.

But when people Cora has been keeping tabs on start turning up dead, and not from natural causes, and an unscrupulous museum owner takes a particular interest in her services, Cora begins to question the morality of her business. Rival "resurrectionist" gangs start beating her to the bodies, and a handsome young medical student bribes his way onto her team with promises of more profits. Could he be her ticket out of the business, or does he have ulterior motives? Soon there's a hefty reward for whoever can find the girl with two hearts, and New York's underworld comes out in droves to find her. As they come perilously close, Cora will have to figure out who she can trust before it's too late.

There is much to love in this story. Cora is a compelling character, smart, tough, slightly dangerous, and I found her symbiotic relationship to her alter-ego, Jacob, intriguing. The historical ambiance is excellent, as is the dark air of mystery and danger that pervades the story and causes Cora, and the reader, to question the motivations of everyone Cora comes into contact with. However, as much as I loved some aspects of this story, there were others that didn't work as well for me. I felt like the story was too long and suffered from slow pacing in some parts. While some revelations were predictable, the reveal of the villain was a surprise to me, but I found the motivations and actions to be really over-the-top. I prefer my villains to be a bit more realistic. I also had a couple of unanswered questions.

But despite those quibbles, I really enjoyed the story and marveled at the unique content and the creativity and complexity of the plot. Featuring a smart and capable heroine, a touch of romance, and cameos from some leading medical minds of the times, The Impossible Girl is a thoroughly original historical mystery that vividly brings to life the world of medical study and grave-robbing in a society obsessed with the macabre and grotesque.

My Rating:  4 Stars out of 5

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  1. Sounds like a great historical fiction mystery :)

  2. This historical interests me as it is intriguing and captivating.

  3. It does indeed sound unique. I'm definitely going to read it. A new Author for me as well.
    Carol Luciano
    Lucky4750 at aol dot com

  4. A historical mystery read which sounds fascinating.

  5. It sounds a little morbid with the bodies, but would make an interesting read.

  6. This book is now on my TBR as it sounds so unique from anything I've ever read. I love mysteries so this is going to be fun to read.

  7. Thank you all so much for stopping by!


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