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review 2019-01-10 16:56
Thoughts: The Anatomist's Wife
The Anatomist's Wife - Anna Lee Huber

The Anatomist's Wife

by Anna Lee Huber
Book 1 of Lady Darby Mystery



Scotland, 1830. Following the death of her husband, Lady Darby has taken refuge at her sister’s estate, finding solace in her passion for painting. But when her hosts throw a house party for the cream of London society, Kiera is unable to hide from the ire of those who believe her to be as unnatural as her husband, an anatomist who used her artistic talents to suit his own macabre purposes.

Kiera wants to put her past aside, but when one of the house guests is murdered, her brother-in-law asks her to utilize her knowledge of human anatomy to aid the insufferable Sebastian Gage—a fellow guest with some experience as an inquiry agent. While Gage is clearly more competent than she first assumed, Kiera isn’t about to let her guard down as accusations and rumors swirl.

When Kiera and Gage’s search leads them to even more gruesome discoveries, a series of disturbing notes urges Lady Darby to give up the inquiry. But Kiera is determined to both protect her family and prove her innocence, even as she risks becoming the next victim…

It took a little while to get into the book, as the first couple chapters were sort of slow-paced, but once the story got going, I pretty much got sucked in.

The writing is absolutely wonderful, and the descriptions lend a beautiful atmospheric presence to both the castle and the highlands.

There were some points in the book where I might have rolled my eyes or gotten frustrated, but ultimately, those moments paled in comparison to everything else I liked about the book.  I liked how Lady Darby was quick, level-headed, and resourceful, even in spite of a few times she might have made a few poorly judged decisions about her own safety and her own investigations.  I liked how Sebastian Gage was not made out to be a completely, all-knowing, perfect, yet broody rake--though aside from that, he truly didn't really do much for me aside from be non-standard.

The mystery itself was quite twisty, though at some points pretty predictable, such as the obviousness of some of the red herrings thrown out there.

Meanwhile, if this book had also been intended as a romance, I'm not sure I quite felt the chemistry between Kiera and Gage.  I'm not even sure they partnered all that well investigating the murder together, either, and a lot of the "tells" that Kiera kept mentioning seeing from Gage had to be deliberately mentioned repeatedly, as if trying to convince herself more than anything how well she knew Gage after only a couple days of acquaintance.

Otherwise, this was an extremely intriguing and strong start to this series, and I look forward to the next book already.  I actually appreciate the slow burn approach that I'm sure the romance will take, and am glad that the "I love you" declarations are nowhere in sight for this first book.  Of course, it might also be because I couldn't quite feel the romance, though there is still room for development there.

I particularly like that Kiera isn't completely alone in the world, and that she is at least surrounded by some good people, especially her sister and brother-in-law.  I hope to see more of them as well.

I wish there were a few more positive friendships with Kiera, especially with the women in the book.  I understand the reason why Kiera is ostracized, even if I don't like it, but that was just how I suspect life was like for all women during that time period.  Gossip, scandals, and anything out of the norm can really do a number on your reputation, and Kiera, being a rather introverted person who doesn't seem to care to defend herself or speak up for herself is more likely to face more gossip and scandal.

Then again, speaking up for herself will probably get her trolled by the rest of the ton... so, it's a lose-lose situation, no matter what.  Sad.

Meanwhile, one particular character kind of stood out to me: Marsdale.  I'm not sure how to explain my completely ridiculous, yet intriguing interest in this particular scoundrel.  A jackass and rogue he may be, but somehow I found I appreciated how easily he saw through everyone's outward facades, and how he seems to call out, rather bluntly even if tactlessly, all the obvious truths and open secrets around.  I disliked him to the extreme at first, and I'm not quite sure I even like him much (nor if it will matter if he's just a supporting character in this first book, and we'll never see him again), but he stood out.



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/01/thoughts-anatomists-wife.html
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text 2019-01-01 07:28
24 Festive Tasks: Books Read
Reflex - Dick Francis,Simon Prebble
Persons of Interest - Gildart Jackson,Peter Grainger
A Grave Matter - Anna Lee Huber
Lane: A Case For Willows And Lane, Book 1 - Peter Grainger,Henrietta Meire
A Christmas Carol - Simon Prebble,Charles Dickens
The Man with the Sack - Margery Allingham,David Thorpe,Soundings
Trojan Gold: The Fourth Vicky Bliss Mystery - Elizabeth Peters,Barbara Rosenblat
Cherringham - A Cosy Crime Series Compilation: Cherringham 4-6 - Neil Richards,Matthew Costello,Neil Dudgeon
The Hanging Tree - Ben Aaronovitch


One of my New Year's resolutions is to get my shelves updated. I'm going to make an effort to do a better job than I have been doing the past 6-8 months.


So... I did listen to about 4-5 audiobooks in both November and December, and all but one of those titles will fit the book tasks for this year's 24 Tasks of the Festive Season. I'll try to put up brief reviews this coming week - I was out of commission with the flu and then back issues for over two weeks in December - but for now I'm just going to match up my books/reads with the various holidays.



Melbourne Cup Day: Book About Horses - Reflex by Dick Francis


Advent: Fourth Book in a Series - Persons of Interest by Peter Grainger


St Andrew's Day: Book Set In Scotland - A Grave Matter by Anna Lee Huber


Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Book with a Strong Woman Character

     Lane by Peter Grainger


Christmas: Book About Christmas - A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens


Yule and Solstice: Book Set In December - The Man With the Sack by Margery



Dia De Los Muertos: Reread an Old Favorite by a Deceased Author - Trojan Gold by

     Elizabeth Peters


 Russian Mother's Day: Book Where a Key Character is a Mother - Charringham 4-6

    by Neil Richards and Matthew Costello


Guy Fawkes Night: Book Set in the UK: The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch








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review 2018-10-18 10:00
Treacherous is the Night (Verity Kent Mystery, #2)
Treacherous Is the Night - Anna Lee Huber

This series is driving me crazy; I love the author's writing, the characters, the settings, the mysteries.  But I hate one of the major plot points.  


Verity Kent's husband died during WWI - except, he didn't.  He was wounded but allowed himself to be listed as killed in action, hiding while he hunted out the traitor in his unit.  Well over a year later, after Verity has started moving on, and falling for another man - a man designed by the author to make readers fall for him - her dead husband decided to let her know he's in rude health for a corpse and not understanding why she's not happier to see him.

(spoiler show)


I'm not sure how to reconcile this, really.  I want to read them, but they piss me off at the same time.


With that disclosure, it's a good book, although a bit rambling.  I notice tis with a lot of Kensington books, so I think it's more an editorial style than a failing on the author's part.  A tighter editing would have resulted in a faster paced mystery and less exposition about the devastation of WWI.  Don't get me wrong: the exposition was interesting, but it was a tad repetitive.  My biggest complaint, and again, something that could have been avoided by a stricter editor, was Verity's constant, constant, mention of Her Big Secret and how she should tell her husband; it's revelation is inevitable; they can't move on unless she does; really, it would be best to come clean... but not now.  Never now.  Then, finally, the revelation.  And all I could think was omg, who cares?.  I realise people were a lot touchier about things in 1918, but give me a break; without spoiling things, her husband didn't have a leg to stand on and she really ought to have just told him to suck it up and deal with it.


I don't know if I'll read the third one when it comes out or not.  If I do, I'm pretty sure I'm stuck with that plot point and, well, I just don't know that I care enough about Verity as things stand.

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review 2018-03-31 03:05
Advanced Book Review: A Brush with Shadows
A Brush with Shadows - Anna Lee Huber

Summary: Sebastian Gage returns home to battle the ghosts of his past and prevent them from destroying his future with Kiera in the latest exciting installment in this national bestselling series.

July 1831. It's been fifteen years since Sebastian Gage has set foot in Langstone Manor. Though he has shared little with his wife, Lady Kiera Darby, about his past, she knows that he planned never to return to the place of so many unhappy childhood memories. But when an urgent letter from his grandfather reaches them in Dublin, Ireland, and begs Gage to visit, Kiera convinces him to go.

All is not well at Langstone Manor. Gage's grandfather, the Viscount Tavistock, is gravely ill, and Gage's cousin Alfred has suddenly vanished. He wandered out into the moors and never returned. The Viscount is convinced someone or something other than the natural hazards of the moors is to blame for Alfred's disappearance. And when Alfred's brother Rory goes missing, Kiera and Gage must concede he may be right. Now, they must face the ghosts of Gage's past, discover the truth behind the local superstitions, and see beyond the tricks being played by their very own eyes to expose what has happened to Gage's family before the moors claim yet another victim...  



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review 2018-03-26 16:52
A Brush With Shadows by Anna Lee Huber
A Brush with Shadows - Anna Lee Huber

This series continues to please. This particular installment takes Kiera and Sebastian to Dartmoor, to his family home, because the heir, Alfred, has disappeared. Alfred has a history of a rather nasty relationship with Gage, and Alfred's mother is the frankly not very nice Vanessa.

Anna Lee Huber gives more than a passing nod to ACD's The Hound of the Baskervilles in this one. It's probably impossible for a mystery author to set a mystery on Dartmoor without doing so - and the moor's atmospherics were a substantial element in the book, along with a family curse. 

I've enjoyed every one of these Lady Darby Mysteries, and will continue to read the series. Of all of Huber's ongoing series, this is my favorite. Verity Kent doesn't have the brooding style of Lady Darby, and her Gothic Myths series is too unformed to draw any conclusions, but the first book was a disappointment to me. Nonetheless, she has become an autobuy author for me - as soon as I see she has something available for preorder, I've already bought it.

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