ABOUT THE BOOK:
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
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.
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The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang is a 2018 Lake Union Publishing publication.
A dark, gritty, and ghoulish piece of highly suspenseful historical fiction!
Cora Cutter, born of mixed race, and out of wedlock, is raised by her aunt after her mother dies in childbirth. The doctor, who arrived too late to save her mother, examines Cora, and declares she has been born with two hearts. This anomaly would most assuredly place a price on her head and put an end to her life. As such, Cora is brought up as a boy to protect her real identity.
Now living in Manhattan, in 1850, Cora presents herself as twins. In her male disguise, she performs the physical labor of a Resurrectionist. When Cora ditches her male persona, she handles the business end of the operation. The clandestine operation of exhuming bodies, especially those who, like Cora, are unusual- a port wine stain birthmark, or a girl born with a tail, for example, brings top dollar when sold to museums of curiosities. Cora, herself, would make prime exhibit, which, of course, makes her a target, especially now, as a killer is out there hastening the deaths of those who have certain unique traits or characteristics.
Yet, Cora’s enterprise is threatened by some stiff competition and the rumors swirling about a girl with two hearts is threatening to cut into her profits and expose her closely guarded secret!
Historical fiction is probably my favorite genre right now. This book is a prime example of why I think this genre is so rich and fulfilling. This book knocked my socks off!!
There are so many layers to this tale, I’d love to write a long analysis, but will try to keep it my thoughts brief and an on point.
If you like strong female leads, you won’t find one better than Cora! She’s savvy, because she’s had no other choice but to find clever ways to remain incognito and earn a living. Despite her unseemly occupation, she is loyal to a fault, flawed and human, but also entirely believable. In fact, all the characters in this book are realistically portrayed. Human frailties abound, and the darkness at the center of humanity is absolutely spot on.
The premise is also based in fact, believe it or not, as grave robbing was indeed a lucrative business during this era. Hard to imagine, but morbidly fascinating at the same time. This is a terrific backdrop for this outstanding, atmospheric, and highly suspenseful mystery, which develops at a tantalizing pace.
The writing is superb, and the story flows beautifully. The dialogue, while less than authentic at times, is still crisp, witty, and sharp. This is an intelligent story, well- structured for optimum suspense, but, is also a story with a great big heart- pun intended.
The conclusion is absolutely riveting!! I was on the edge of my seat, on pins and needles! I was in total shock and completely bowled over when the twist of all diabolical twist hit me right between the eyes- and I never saw it coming!! Whew! Oh, yes- this is my kind of book!
This is a fantastic novel from start to finish! If you like dark, twisted mysteries, novels of suspense, or realistic historical fiction, this one should be in your wheelhouse!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
My adult fiction debut is an historical forensic mystery, entitled A BEAUTIFUL POISON from Lake Union Publishing. My second book, THE IMPOSSIBLE GIRL is available now.
I have a nonfiction, adult book written with Nate Pederson entitled QUACKERY: A Short History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything, (Workman).
I'm also part of the new anthology, COLOR OUTSIDE THE LINES, with Soho Teen coming in 2019!