My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Bone Garden is surprisingly a historical thriller. I have been so used to her Rizzoli and Isles series of books that the Bone Garden felt a totally different author. Told in dual timelines of the present and the 1830s, the Bone Garden takes us to an era where being in a hospital was akin to signing one’s death warrant.
As I have never read any novels with a history of medicine being evolved, The Bone Garden was an eye-opener. As the author delves into the deploring conditions of childbirth and the ignorance of the doctors treating them and the kind of treatment practices being used, the huge black market of dead bodies, and the resurrections who ply the trade, she gives the readers a glimpse into the difficult circumstances via which the study of medicine could progress.
By intertwining a murder mystery thru the narrative of the past, the author simply spikes the reader’s interest and keeps them glued to the pages. But it is just not the history or the mystery that comes alive in this story, but also the subject of women and childbirth and the many ways out of wedlock pregnancies can cause disruptions in one’s life.
Rose is the star of the story, at a time when Irish people were looked down on as worse than garbage, she displays exemplary strength to fight for her nieces’ life but it is Norris who took away my heart and if not for that sweet ending in the present, I would have bawled my eyes out. I loved the camaraderie between Holmes, Charles, and Norris and the ways they help each other out. The love that develops between Rose and Norris is kept in the background but even then Tess Gerritsen conveys the kind of love that transcends time. The murderer when revealed was an ultimate shocker, to say the least, which is exactly what you expect from the author. The twists and turns in the story are just crazy and unpredictable.
On-your-toes 5 stars worthy read. ⛈️⛈️⛈️⛈️⛈️
Present day: Julia Hamill has made a horrifying discovery on the grounds of her new home in rural Massachusetts: a skull buried in the rocky soil–human, female, and, according to the trained eye of Boston medical examiner Maura Isles, scarred with the unmistakable marks of murder. But whoever this nameless woman was, and whatever befell her, is knowledge lost to another time.
Boston, 1830: In order to pay for his education, Norris Marshall, a talented but penniless student at Boston Medical College, has joined the ranks of local “resurrectionists”–those who plunder graveyards and harvest the dead for sale on the black market. Yet even this ghoulish commerce pales beside the shocking murder of a nurse found mutilated on the university hospital grounds. And when a distinguished doctor meets the same grisly fate, Norris finds that trafficking in the illicit cadaver trade has made him a prime suspect.
To prove his innocence, Norris must track down the only witness to have glimpsed the killer: Rose Connolly, a beautiful seamstress from the Boston slums who fears she may be the next victim. Joined by a sardonic, keenly intelligent young man named Oliver Wendell Holmes, Norris and Rose comb the city–from its grim cemeteries and autopsy suites to its glittering mansions and centers of Brahmin power–on the trail of a maniacal fiend who lurks where least expected . . . and who waits for his next lethal opportunity.
With unflagging suspense and pitch-perfect period detail, The Bone Garden deftly interweaves the thrilling narratives of its nineteenth- and twenty-first century protagonists, tracing the dark mystery at its heart across time and place to a finale as ingeniously conceived as it is shocking. Bold, bloody, and brilliant, this is Tess Gerritsen’s finest achievement to date.
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