Hazel Almont is back! The 19th century burgeoning surgeon returns in Schwartz’s sequel to her instant #1 bestseller, and she’s back in the trenches of medicine. Schwartz’s attention to historical detail shines in this book as we see Hazel face criminal charges, seedy societies, the perils of the palace, and her own fate.
The people of Edinburgh needs her services—and Hazel throws herself into her work, especially in order to avoid thinking about Jack. Did he survive the hanging when she slipped him the elixir of immortality? Why hasn’t she heard from him, if he did survive? Surgery allows her to push these concerns out of her head, at least momentarily, as she delivers babies, pulls death, and answers the knocks on her door in the middle of the night. When one particular knock leads Hazel to a jail cell, she’s certain she’ll end up dead in the gallows. Instead of exiting her cell to her death, she is instead whisked away for a chance of a lifetime, to doctor to the beloved, but ailing Princess Charlotte, who is plagued by an unknown illness and now putting the line of succession into crisis. At the palace, her role is also precarious though. King George III himself is descending into madness, and his personal physician, a handsome gentleman from Sweden, can’t help but catch Hazel’s eye. Against the palace intrigue Schwartz paints a portrait of a secret society that flirts with forever but makes promises in the dark of night.
Full of wit, heart, surgical grossness to the appropriate degree, and great historical moments and characters (wink wink) fans of Anatomy will love this (probable) conclusion to Hazel’s story, even if they might want another hundred pages of Hazel doing 19th Century Stuff.
I’m hardly an unbiased reviewer here, but I devoured this book, starting on an airplane back from the ALSC conference in early October, and making it through 87% of the book before my plane landed in Washington, D.C. That, for me, goes a long way in showing how good or well-suited to me a book is. If I’m slow to read it, that’s pretty indicative of my interest in it.
If you love historical books that have a solid plot but also kind of ruminate, briefly, in the historical moment, you’ll enjoy Schwartz work. If you’re a fan of her work on Noble Blood, you’ll see some of her favorite historical moments (from the podcast at least) make their way onto the page, and if you’re like me and spent a week talking about Frankenstein with Dana in England, you’ll be full LEO POINTING AT THE SCREEN meme every time she mentions Lord Byron.
Immortality: A Love Story is on sale wherever books are sold February 28, 2023.
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