Book Review,  Reviews

Sawbones – Catherine Johnson

“Mr Charles Finch closed his eyes and winced as the knife dug into his skin. He bit down hard on the handkerchief and tried to think of good things: his daughter, Loveday, entering the vanishing cabinet with a flourish; the crowd at the Alhambra, Paris, cheering, on their feet. The heat of from the floodlights, the smell of the tallow and rouge. A crescendo of applause.” 

Amongst the open surgeries and dissections in London is the heavy stench of crime. Illegal trading in corpses is rife due to the flourish of people interested in medical science and at the dissection table of his master Ezra McAdam learns that every body tells a story once its gone. Loveday Finch is at her wits end about her fathers death and when she turns to Ezra for help is would appear the pair uncover a world of intrigue and mystery. What happened to Loveday’s father and why are the bodies now piling up around them?

I love historical fiction and I love it even more when its set is a period I don’t read about very often. I have some knowledge of the rise in interest of medical science and knew that the surgeons of the time experimented on dead bodies so to read even more about it was fascinating… especially when it tied together with Ezra and Loveday’s story. Sawbones is not just about the science of the time but about love and friendship and families, and it was brilliant. 
The story kept me hooked from start to end, there was a lot of mystery about it and I loved uncovering the truth. I loved that it was all well rounded off at the end of the book too but there is a possibility for another book, and I hope there will be one. The story is heavy on the social and scientific elements of the times but thats one of the reasons why I loved it. I enjoyed finding out more about who was entitled to what and how the world was changing around the time the book was set, 1792, and I loved that the author included reference to France and what was going on there at the time because it would have effected England too, in a big way. 
The characters were brilliant and I liked that they weren’t all the same. I liked Toms even though he was a bit of an annoying git and Ezra himself was great; though needed a bit more of a backbone (who could blame him in his circumstances though) I absolutely adored Loveday and thought she was the best character, though hated Ahmat and his henchman. There were a lot of seedy characters in the book and I liked how well they came across through the writing. 
I found a couple of parts of the book a little slow but it wasn’t a complete stand still anywhere so just power through those little bits and you’ll be fine. I found once they were over I rush through everything really fast and the last 100 pages especially were fantastic. I will definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction. 
Sawbones was published on 3rd October by Walker Children’s Books. My copy was obtained at the Walker Children’s Books blogger event. 

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