Early last year, I picked up Anatomy: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz because, to be completely honest, the cover was beyond stunning. Though Dana’s writing was immaculate and I had a good time reading and enjoying the story, something about it just didn’t vibe with me in the same way that books I love and adore did so it felt a bit underwhelming. I figured that maybe Dana just wasn’t the writer for me, which is completely fine because she’s the one for someone else and that makes my heart sing. Fast forward a few months, I find out that there is actually a sequel! Maybe that’s what was missing for me, a sense of completion. So I requested and was granted an ARC through NetGalley.
Spoilers for Anatomy: A Love Story ahead.
At the end of Anatomy: A Love Story, we left Hazel Sinnett with heartbreak - Jack was dead and Beecham was gone. Now she continues on, treating those who can’t afford a physician and honing her medical skills. Until the day she is accused of a crime and sentenced to jail and then death. But fortunately, her medical services are requested to cure Princess Charlotte of an illness that is confounding all the physicians hired before her. As Hazel works to find the source of the Princess’s ailment, she stumbles upon a greater conspiracy that changes the path of her future.
Immortality: A Love Story is the conclusion to Hazel’s story that I didn’t know I needed. I went into Anatomy: A Love Story believing that it was a standalone and we wouldn’t see Hazel again. The question remained at the end of the first book and persisted through the second - is Jack Currer still alive? It was such a joy to be able to return to this world and find out the answer to that question.
This book also brought in a lot of historical figures and elements that pulled me in deep. I am not a history person by nature, but reading about these things and these people made me want to go digging through some history books to learn more. That is when I feel like historical fiction has done its job - when you become curious about the topics that arise.
I oftentimes have trouble reading “the classics” and books that are written similarly, but Dana is able to straddle the line between flowery prose and the ✨ vibes ✨ (I really am not sure how to better describe it) that really causes me to become engrossed in a story rather than disconnected. I found myself saying “just one more chapter” only to continue into the next chapter a lot more often than I expected and that is a testament to Dana’s ability to keep you on the edge of your seat even when it’s not a crazy action scene.
Seeing Hazel grow into her abilities and become the surgeon/physician that she always wanted to be was one of my favorite things about the book. She is still young, naive, and feels out of place among the glamour of London society, but the fire she has for medicine helps her to metaphorically puff up her chest and stand tall. The introduction of a brand new cast of characters always makes me wary when entering a sequel, but it was easy to get an idea of who they all were and where they fit in the puzzle of Hazel’s life. Some of them even had fun surprises that made me smile from ear to ear.
The only negative thing I have to say (and it’s so incredibly minor and is probably just a me thing) is that Hazel so completely left her life in Edinburgh. It was necessary for her to leave to London, of course, but there was a very specific loose end left at Hawthornden that Hazel was meant to tie up and, once she was in London, we never hear about it again. Again, this is probably just me nitpicking and it doesn’t affect the overall story or my enjoyment of the story - just something that picked at the back of my brain often.
If you read Anatomy: A Love Story and left feeling unsatisfied as I did, I highly recommend picking up Immortality: A Love Story. It is an excellent sequel that doesn’t feel redundant like it is presenting the same story as the first with different coloring. While some series have a standout amongst the books that make it up, this duology is strongest as a whole, both books working perfectly in tandem to tell a larger story.
Immortality: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz is available for preorder here and hits shelves February 28th, 2023.
Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Bookshop affiliate link above, not only will I receive a small commission (which will fuel my coffee and tea addiction and help to keep me up all night reading more books to recommend to you), but you will be supporting indie bookstores as well!