Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Book Review: The Impossible Girl, by Lydia Kang

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

Cora had sent out several notes to the physicians who knew the dead man, as well as her boys, asking if they knew anything of William Timothy’s burial site. Her little messenger boy had been fairly flying all over town with her notes in tow. Leah made herself busy with sponging and pressing Cora’s dress, which had gotten dusty on the walk near the Battery.

The rest of the evening, Cora’s thoughts were consumed with Suzette Cutter. “How could she know about me? I thought they’d been told I was a boy.”

“I don’t know,” Leah said. She shuffled from her left to right foot as she sponged the dress. Her nervous dance again.

“Why would she care about my health? Does she know about my … condition?”

“Perhaps Charlotte spoke to her and didn’t tell us,” Leah said.

“I suppose I could ask Miss Cutter myself,” Cora said, thinking out loud.

“Oh, fie, dear! That’s a mistake, it is!” Leat set down her iron. “Don’t encourage her. We’re not to speak to them!”

Cora’s physical anomaly was not the most interesting thing about her. Her entire life (or lives?) were a mystery to all but a couple of friends who were like family.

Official synopsis:
Book Review: The Impossible Girl, by Lydia Kang
Two hearts. Twice as vulnerable.

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 resurrectionist in New York, she’s carved out a niche procuring bodies afflicted with the strangest of anomalies. Anatomists will pay exorbitant sums for such specimens—dissecting and displaying them for the eager public.

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.

The easiest way for Cora’s aunt to keep her a secret while raising her was to give her a whole new identity. After her hidden childhood, she begins carving out her own special place in the world, with a goal of knowing if anyone is looking for her, and keeping nearly everyone at enough of a distance that they could never find her.

The real story starts as several things happen at once—the rumors about the girl with two hearts start spreading again, Cora meets someone she may want to get to know better, and other citizens with physical anomalies that shouldn’t shorten their lives start dying much sooner than expected. Cora hardly knows which crisis needs to be managed first.

The characters in this book were so interesting. Besides Cora, there are her grave-robbing employees, her ladies’ maid, and the man who has been almost a father figure for most of her life. As the book progresses she meets another grave-robbing entrepreneur/medical student, and relatives of her dead mother. They all have their own goals, and sometimes Cora needs to untangle who is trying to do what. The book was a nice historical read and earned 4 out of 5 stars. 

{click here to purchase on Amazon - affiliate link}

Becki Bayley is a Gemini who has been married almost 17 years and is mother to two school-aged children. She shares some of their adventures on Instagram, where she posts as PoshBecki.


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