A Matter of Grave Concern by Brenda Novak (audiobook) – narrated by Michael Page

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When Maximillian Wilder hides his noble identity and joins the notorious body snatchers known as the London Supply Company, the last thing on his mind is love. He’s worried about Madeline, his vanished half sister, who was last seen in the company of Jack Hurtsill, the gang’s conscienceless leader. Raiding graveyards, stealing corpses, and selling them to medical colleges as dissection material is dirty work, but Max knows he must gain Jack’s trust. He’s determined to find out what happened to Madeline and to bring Jack to justice if she was murdered for the coin her body could earn.

Beautiful, spirited Abigail Hale, daughter of the surgeon at Aldersgate School of Medicine, detests the challenging, hard-bargaining Max almost as much as Jack. But she must procure the necessary specimens if she is to save the college and her father’s career. She believes she is going to be successful until Jack double-crosses her. Then she’s swept into a plot of danger and intrigue, one where Max must intervene to protect her, no matter the risk to his plan or his heart.

Rating: B for narration; C for content

A Matter of Grave Concern is one of those books that has an interesting premise and starts strongly, but which loses momentum fairly quickly and ends up not living up to its potential.

The story is set in London in 1830, at a time when the study of the medical sciences was increasing disproportionately to the number of corpses and cadavers that were available to medical students for study, meaning that many colleges resorted to purchasing corpses illegally. One such institution is Aldersgate College in the East End of London, where anatomy is taught by Edwin Hale, a highly respected surgeon and anatomist. His daughter, Abigail, more or less runs the college and is devoted to her father, in spite of the fact that it quickly becomes apparent to the listener that her devotion is not reciprocated. In fact, Hale has been rather a neglectful father since the death of his wife when Abigail was six, and the only education she has received is one she has gleaned herself from her father’s books. She is thus rather ignorant of the ways of society, and also dreams of one day being admitted to the college to study rather than just supervise the accounts.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals

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