The Impossible Girl by: Lydia Kang

background Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

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. “

Photo by Eva Elijas from Pexels

Content Warning:
-Descriptions of cadavers/dead bodies
-Graverobbing/grave desecration
-Racism and sexism
-Murder, poisoning, and attempted murder
-Sexual harassment and assault

Photo by Svetlana Ponomareva from Pexels

Last night I took one of those hot showers that are so hot it seems your brain turns to jelly. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to read next, which can already be a trying task when you’re a mood reader. Looking at my bookshelf and my stack of “should be read soon” I wasn’t getting any sparks. I was genuinely worried that maybe I was hitting a book slump and needed to take a few days off.

As I lay in bed I decided to go through my Kindle library and see if any of my unread books sparked my interest. Sure enough, I found myself looking at the cover of “The Impossible Girl” that’d I’d bought in the fall of 2020 and just left unread. I feel this becoming a trend, me gushing about a book that, I openly admit, I left unread for a long time. Most of the amazing books I’ve read, so far this year, have been books that have been just waiting patiently for me to read them.

Set in the late 1800s this book follows Cora, a girl of mixed heritage [daughter of a mother who was disinherited due to getting pregnant, out of wedlock, by a Chinese laborer], who was born with two hearts. To ensure her secret [her extra heart] remains secret she works as a graverobber procuring and delivering bodies with anomalies to doctors and medical colleges. By working closely with those in the medical field she’s able to make sure that no one ever mentions looking for a girl with two hearts.

I stayed up, last night, reading until my eyes could barely stay open and as soon as I had time today I dove right back in. Cora lives in constant fear of being found out, only those who’ve known her since birth know of and guard her secret. Fear of exposure has made her feel very isolated and has prevented her from making any close relationships outside of those that know her truth.

Start to finish this book had me hooked. The atmosphere, Cora herself, and all those she came into contact with had me constantly worried whether or not she could trust those around her, both new and old. This is one of those books that has me wishing to explore more of the characters and places within.

Another thing I loved to learn was that the author herself is also a physician. In the author’s notes, she mentions her time in medical school when they had to work with cadavers and how she was fascinated by the dark history of acquiring bodies for science. Honestly, I was deeply fascinated reading through the author’s note on how she was inspired by a lot of real-world events and people, some of which she mentions as characters in her book.

This was my first read from Lydia but it definitely won’t be my last. I look forward to seeing more of her writing and I definitely can see myself re-reading this book over and over. Are there any books set in this same time period that you’ve loved?

Published by Noelle Loves Books

Growing up, Japanese and Indigenous, it was hard to find books that showcased stories and worlds that accurately portrayed Noelle’s experiences. Fantasy quickly became her main love, as you could really be anyone, anywhere. As the years went on, and technology grew, Noelle was finally able to see more stories and authors that looked and felt like her. Noelle is open to all genre’s though she can mostly be found reading own voice, fantasy, and romance. Ratings: 5 Stars: Completely blew me away 4 Stars: Loved the story but didn't feel completely blown away by it 3 Stars: Liked the overall concept of the story but either had poor execution, had a lot of plot holes, or was written poorly 2 Stars: I struggled to understand the plot, poorly written, or just had really unlikeable characters along with a poor writing 1 Star: Horribly written, major plot holes, or extremely unlikeable characters and plots.

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