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[Book Review] "Immortality: A Love Story" by Dana Schwartz

The eagerly anticipated sequel to #1 Bestselling YA-Gothic Fantasy - Anatomy: A Love Story

By Meg IlsleyPublished 3 months ago 4 min read
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SYNOPSIS:

Hazel Sinnett is alone and half-convinced the events of the year before―the immortality, Beecham’s vial―were a figment of her imagination. She doesn’t even know if Jack is alive or dead. All she can really do now is treat patients and maintain Hawthornden Castle as it starts to decay around her.

When saving a life leads to her arrest, Hazel seems doomed to rot in prison until a message intervenes: Hazel has been specifically requested to be the personal physician of Princess Charlotte, the sickly granddaughter of King George III. Soon Hazel is pulled into the glamor and romance of a court where everyone has something to hide, especially the enigmatic, brilliant members of a social club known as the Companions to the Death.

As Hazel’s work entangles her more and more with the British court, she realizes that her own future as a surgeon isn't the only thing at stake. Malicious forces are at work in the monarchy, and Hazel may be the only one capable of setting things right.

GENRE: YA Fantasy / Historical Fiction / Mystery

PUBLISHED: February 28, 2023

RECEPTION: Mixed-Positive (4.3 on Amazon; 3.95 on Goodreads)

CONTENT WARNINGS: None

REVIEW:

Immortality: A Love Story is the second story in Dana Schwartz's YA-Gothic Fantasy Anatomy Duology, following the events of the first book Anatomy: A Love Story. Immortality picks up a year after the events of Anatomy, with main character Hazel Sinnett alone in Hawthornden Castle and working on her treatise. Hazel is not sure what happened to Jack Currer after the events that ended Anatomy - nor if he is alive - but attempting to move past the loss of Jack, and throw herself into working on her manuscript and helping those who come to her seeking care. When saving a life leads to her arrest, things look bleak for Hazel. That is until she is pardoned by the Prince Regent to help care for the sickly Princess Charlotte of Wales...

Immortality is a perfect follow up to Anatomy in my opinion. Not only does it do what I hoped it would by leaning into the more fantastical elements that were introduced in its prequel, but it shows us a young woman growing and learning to accept the consequences of what she is passionate about. It is not a story about Hazel getting everything she wants (at first), but the stories of those we met in the prequel (Bernard, Lady Sinnett, Percy, etc.) are wrapped up - with the exception of Jack - to allow us to follow Hazel as she goes on this next journey in her life, and as she faces new trials and tribulations. Hazel herself is struggling with where she fits into this world and with the consequences of her choices but she does it well. Albeit not without setbacks.

Perhaps my only criticism of Immortality, however, is the manner in which Dana Schwartz handles Jack's story and its resolution. I had been hoping that the introduction of a new love interest in Simon von Ferris meant we were seeing a hint of what happened to Jack, that we were seeing a bit of what Hazel's life could be once she let him go. Alas, that was not the case. I honestly found myself rooting more for Simon than Jack; he was a much more likeable character who provided a much better counterbalance for Hazel and likely would have made for a better ending. In truth, I felt the ending was wrapped up in too neat a bow for a love story (not the same as a romance, even if they can both have a happy ending), but I do understand the stylistic choice that was made to end it there.

Schwartz did well in wrapping up the previous story, she leant more into the fantastical elements that seemed so out of place in the prequel, and the characters in this story were likeable. Hazel facing the challenges of being a woman, being a surgeon, and being cut off from her family provided an interesting backdrop and motivation, and the introduction of some famous figures that any history buff would enjoy was a nice nod to those who enjoy Schwartz's Noble Blood podcast. While I enjoyed his characterisation and loved the storyline, I think introducing Simon as a love interest given the ending was a mistake, especially since this is a duology and unlikely to have a third installment (though if Dana Schwartz ever reads this, may I propose "Mortality" as a title given the ending?), but despite that criticism, it was a beautiful sequel.

FINAL RATING: 5 Stars; would recommend

PURCHASE: Available on amazon.ca, amazon.com, and in most major bookstores.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dana Schwartz is an American best-selling author, screenwriter, journalist, and podcast host. She is the author of five books (The White Man’s Guide to White Male Writers of the Western Canon, And We’re off, Choose Your Own Disaster, Anatomy: A Love Story, and Immortality: A Love Story) to date, and her books have been published in over 20 countries around the world and translated into more than a dozen languages. She is the writer and host of the podcast Noble Blood, hosted on iHeartMedia, where she explores the darker (and lesser known) sides of royals from around the world (and throughout history).

Dana lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their cats, Eddie and Beetlejuice, and has written for publications such as Entertainment Weekly, The New Yorker, and Vanity Fair. You can learn more about Dana Schwartz on her website: https://dana-schwartz.com/about

Review
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About the Creator

Meg Ilsley

Born in Australia, I moved to Canada in 2013 where I live with my four cats and two snakes. I have a Certificate in Creative Writing, am pursuing a Diploma of Graphic Design, and am an amateur author. Find me on Goodreads or Instagram.

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