Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Matter of Grave Concern

A Matter of Grave ConcernA Matter of Grave Concern by Brenda Novak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am not a huge lover of historical romance though I love history. Maybe it is because I feel like the story sometimes goes insane with the romance part and the historical part is dropped off. A Matter of Grave Concern though entertained me on both levels. The story starts with Abigail trying to buy a dead body. What woman does this? A woman whose father is her world and only parent. A woman who grew up at the Royal College of Surgeons where her father was head surgeon. A woman who desperately wants to follow in her father's footsteps in an era where woman married and ran households; if they were forced to work it was mostly frisky business they were doing. Abigail understands the human body but isn't so well informed of the human emotions. When the purchase of a dead body goes badly Abigail meets Max. Max is one of the men who stole from her. A Resurrectionist. Or is he something entirely different?
I love the story. As a teen I loved Frankenstein. Up until I read that story I had not thought much about how doctors learned so much about the human body. Then I was fascinated by the fact that they used deceased people as "live" samples to learn from. The thought of selling someone, deceased or not, made me queasy. I wonder at the desperation of the people who sold them. I had not given as much thought into people who bought them. Having a female character who buys dead bodies was extremely interesting. I assumed men did the buying and selling of them. I hate to say it but it was not only the era and the fact that not much was expected of women outside the home that made me think that way. It just seemed to me something men would do. (haha) Because of this Abigail fascinated me. That she would do so much for her father's love kind of saddened me. That she did it in part because of her own curiosity heartened me. It is good to know that woman who truly wanted to learn and experience had the courage to step out of bounds and find ways to do it. Max has his own demons. He is participating in some heavy evil as a resurrectionist with the gang of men he is with. That he sees Abigail and accepts her as is was awesome. I enjoyed his tug of war with doing what was right and doing what felt right. I also loved the chemistry between Abigail and Max. I think the demons that chased each of them are what brought them so close.
The author, Brenda Novak, is known to me. I have read her Whiskey Creek series, (which I love!), and a few other of her books. She has written 50+. That, to me, is amazing. The fact that the ones I have read are high quality astounds me and speaks of her talent and devotion. A devotion not only to her writing but to her fans. Some authors who have written that many books lose something in a few of them. Over time they seem to become the same thing using different names and words. I have not read all of Brenda's books. The ones I have read are fresh. Each has a story all its own. Since most of what I have read from her are her more recent books I believe she is an author with much to offer. Her characters are well written, not always the most likable people, but then when have you liked everyone you met? Her stories are researched and care is given for them to be "real". I like that more than I normally say. It is not so much that I want my stories to be realistic, (I read a lot of zombie books - so far not grounded in reality). I enjoy fantasy a lot. I just don't want to be taken so far away it is ridiculous. Brenda Novak has the line between reality and fantasy firmly in check and has the ability to blur them in an enjoyable mix. A Matter of Grave Concern shows off this ability with drama, intrigue, romance and heat. I enjoyed reading it. I hope you will too.

*I was given a review copy of this book. I appreciate the opportunity to review books and would not diminish this opportunity by providing a review that was not honest. A book is only as good as the author who is only as good as their reviewer who is only valuable through honesty.*

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