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VINE VOICEon 13 April 2013
A good suspense set in 1830 Scotland, the reign of William IV. Artist, Lady Kiera Darby has taken refuge with her sister and brother in law after the death of her husband, a surgeon and anatomist. Unable to draw and illustrate the book he was writing on anatomy, her husband made Kiera sit in on his autopsies and do the illustrations of various body parts. After his death, scandal breaks when the illustrations are found and it is realised who drew and painted them.

Kiera's sister and brother in law throw a house party, inviting members of the ton. The women of whom are particularly scathing towards Kiera. When a body is found in the castle grounds, it makes things considerably worse for Kiera, especially when her brother in law asks her to help a guest, Sebastian Gage, investigate, as it is going to take the Procurator Fiscal 4 days to get to the house. Prickly and wary Kiera is exceedingly wary of ladies man Gage, as an uneasy alliance is made between the pair.

A good read. There are however a couple af bloomers. We don't have raccoons in the UK and the author mixes up the months somewhat is relation to flowering plants and fruit. Bluebells don't flower in August, nor do wild raspberries fruit at that time (autumn fruiting raspberries are new and wouldn't have been around in 1830). Despite those slip-ups, it's a good book.
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on 26 July 2015
I enjoy the genre of the 1800's independent lady sleuth - Imogen Robertson and Deanna Raybourn's work for example. And although the language has to be accessible to the modern reader it must also keep in mind the era in which it is set. I gave up on this by Chapter 9, so I think I gave it a fair go. It isn't badly written, but nor is it well written. I could have coped, until 'Lady Darby' confessed "I guess I overreacted', and she was "'... trying to figure it out...". She also admitted that she ".. should have kept her mouth shut." Not only inappropriate use of modern English, but American English. Ms Huber is American, but if she set out to write a British period piece perhaps her research might have led her to more appropriate dialogue. Our heroine also appears to live in a constant state of high emotion. If only she had access to Valium! If you can cope with that however, you may enjoy the story. I can't say, not having finished it.
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First Sentence: The scream froze me in my tracks, but the shout that followed propelled me out of my indecision and around the hedge line of the maze.

Lady Kiera Darby is staying with her sister and brother-in-law in order to recover public notoriety heaped on her after her husband’s death. Her peace quickly ends with the murder of a house-party guest, and the request by an enquiry agent, and fellow guest, asking for her to help by employing the skills others deemed unnatural.

There’s no peaceful lead-in here. Huber throws the reader directly into the story while very skillfully introducing the characters, their connections. This is particularly true of the protagonist.

The thing which differentiates Lady Kierra from other similar protagonists is both that she is a widow and, thus, more experienced in life, and that she has a talent and a previous background which enable her to fulfill the role she is asked to play. She is someone who has been bruised by life and is wary, but she is also strong, intelligent, independent and resolute in following her instincts, even when others don’t pay them mind.

Some of the attitudes and relationships seem a bit modern, but not upsettingly so. Gage, the inquiry agent, is a bit stereotypical, but improves in the end. One does particularly appreciate the understanding and support of Kierra's sister and brother-in-law.

We also become aware of Huber’s excellent voice, which includes a wry humor in the midst of an otherwise gruesome scene, as well as just enough period flavor to create a sense of time, which introducing us to a second major character in the story—“What made this golden lothario think he should be there?...As far as I could tell, Mr. Gage’s only talents seemed to be charming his way into house-party invitations and underneath ladies’ skirts.”

There are wonderfully evocative descriptions—“I closed my eyes as he removed the handkerchief. Taking deep breaths through my mouth, I remained in Gage’s loose embrace until I felt my muscles steadying. He cupped my elbow to help e rise, and I immediately felt the loss of his comforting hold and heat.” Interesting observations on the behavior of the wealthy further cements Huber’s attention to detail—“The upper class’s stubborn sense of entitlement could not be curtailed by something so mundane as murder.”

There were a few failings to the writing – portents, being the first. Not just a subtle foreshadowing, but literally—“If only I had known then…” One must question why this is done. They story had already captivated our imagination, the characters were compelling and there was no possibility of not continuing on with the story. The use of portents was not only unnecessary, but off-putting and disruptive. Let us dearly hope the author abandoned this weakness in further books. The second issue was the weak sense of place. Beside one character speaking with in Scots dialect, there was no sense of the book taking place in Scotland. And last, it was a bit overwritten. However, Huber earns points back for although a relationship is brewing, Huber doesn’t overstep the propriety of the time.

In all, Huber has given us an enjoyable period mystery with nicely-done red herrings and a solid plot. She takes advantage of a scandalous actual trial of the day and incorporates the protagonist's past into a tangential relationship to it.

“The Anatomist’s Wife” is a quite good read with well-developed characters, a strong sense of time, and effective suspense.

THE ANATOMIST’S WIFE (Hist Mys-Lady Kiera Darby-Scotland-1830) – G+
Huber, Anne Lee – 1st in series
Berkeley Prime Crime – 2012
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on 21 October 2013
The first novel in a series that is sure to be fabulous. I loved this book. Lady Darby is a very interesting woman with a painful, traumatic and suspicious past. She's also hugely talented. I enjoyed the writing style, as well. Fans of Deanna Raybourn's Lady Julia Grey series will like this I think.
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on 10 January 2015
I greatly enjoyed this book, as the subject matter was interesting and the characters skilfully drawn. The herione is treated like an outcast by society in an almost Cinderella-like manner, and I found myself thinking 'really? surely that attitude towards her is a bit extreme...' and then I thought of the early victorian mind-set and thought - '...actually, sadly not!' At least her family supports her, which makes for some interesting dynamics at a house-party hosted by her sister. Add murder to the mix, and intrigue abounds! I definitely recommend this book for a cosy fireside read, and the two that follow. I selfishly hope this is not 'just' a Trilogy, as the relationship between Heroine and Hero is one worth exploring in greater depth.
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on 26 February 2015
What a complete load of drivel! The write up promised a historical mystery worthy of Deanna Reaybourn fans. Deanna Reaybourn must be horrified! I actually bought the cd to listen to on long car journeys but found the monosyllabic voice of Miss Heather Wilds (who "has appeared on the London Stage to great critical acclaim" - the critics must have been stone deaf!) absolutely unbearable. It was like listening to my SatNav read! The heroine, supposedly highly intelligent, goes all gooey over a man she had previously despised after a mere hour in his company! She "swallows" her irritation, her indignation, her feelings.......even her cold soup. She should be the size of a house! The writing is the worst kind of Mills & Boon. Read/Listen at your peril.

Should have been alerted to the blurb about the author on the back. "Anna Lee Huber is a summa cum laude graduate of Lipscombe University in Nashville, Tennessee" - really?
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on 8 July 2014
The modern American language and behavioural style totally unsuited to the period and place left me in a continued state of critical irritation. The mystery was plainly subsidiary to the penny dreadful romance being painfully wrung out, and the characters are more suited to 1930's Boston. Lots of silly errors and the arduous angst of the heroine had me abandon the book half way through. Even the title was puzzling...she was a widow, not a wife.
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on 26 July 2013
I found the attitudes of the period interesting and enjoyed the storyline. A different type of heroine, if that is the cforrect word.
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on 7 March 2015
Hi this book was not what I expected, but I loved every page of it. Will definitely read the next one
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on 23 August 2015
very good
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