What is a poor anatomist to do? Twenty pounds, wasted, up in smoke when a beautiful young woman wakes up on the dissection table. Someone has made a ghastly error. Dr Richard Craven, an ethical doctor, has but one choice: to nurse the girl back to health and restore her to her family. She can’t remember anything, only her first name, and she isn’t even sure about that. As his household helps her to recover her strength and her memories trickle, then flood back, their mutual attraction buds into a flowing passion.
I was given a copy of this book to review, and at first I wasn’t sure about it but it really grew on me. The story was very compelling, but moved much more slowly than the books I’m used to reading. It put me more in mind of Jane Austen, whose books I read under duress in high school and college. Richard and Cecelia’s relationship was set almost from the beginning but took the majority of the book to sort out, due in large part to societal pressures and propriety.
There was a lot about British society and the early 19th Century that I didn’t understand while I was reading it, so I was grateful for the footnotes that were included but felt that they took me out of the story so I saved them all for the end. I had to look up a number of things (postilions, a pelisse, etc.) that readers of books set in this time period would probably know right away. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When I was reading the Song of Ice and Fire series I had to look up a lot of things that my fantasy-reading husband already knew about.
Cecelia’s father is the main antagonist, but my distaste for him was nothing compared to the woman he hired at the end to thwart Richard’s plan to marry Cecelia. She was thrown in as a last ditch effort to keep the two from being together and felt a lot more like a plot device than an actual character.
Once we discovered the reason Cecelia’s father is so against the two of them getting together, I felt like there was more suspense and a definite conflict that had more than just societal expectations at stake. The resolution actually made me laugh at the end, and of course there was a happy ending for almost everyone involved.
The Curious Profession of Dr. Craven was an interesting book and I enjoyed it, but I prefer novels with a little more drama that move faster. If you’re a fan of classic societal romance, I highly recommend it. It’s a nice quick weekend read.