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The Impossible Girl

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  4,289 ratings  ·  550 reviews
Two hearts. Twice as vulnerable.

Manhattan, 1850. Born out of wedlock to a wealthy socialite and a nameless immigrant, Cora Lee can mingle with the rich just as easily as she can slip unnoticed into the slums and graveyards of the city. As the only female resurrectionist in New York, she’s carved out a niche procuring bodies afflicted with the strangest of anomalies. Anatom
Paperback, 353 pages
Published September 18th 2018 by Lake Union Publishing
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Victoria On one hand, that was my exact set of thoughts, on the other the summary sounds more like a semi-gothic historical thriller/mystery? But then again, e…moreOn one hand, that was my exact set of thoughts, on the other the summary sounds more like a semi-gothic historical thriller/mystery? But then again, even if this has a massive Whovian influence, I won't mind: when Clara first showed up during the Christmas special I loved the idea of a historical companion for the first time since Classic Who, but then...nope, she's a very normal, modern girl that Moffat couldn't be bothered to write a personality for. But that's a rant for another time

So nope, you're not the only one that thought that IMMEDIATELY but before I start rolling my eyes at a published-fanfic (I've read some really blatant ones recently too) I want to read it, since...even if I didn't catch the DW elements, it would have sounded really, really, really interesting. (less)

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Amalia Gkavea
"The impossible girl with two hearts."

One of the most controversial, grim and fascinating aspects of the Victorian era was the exhumation and selling of corpses for medical purposes. The advancing need for therapies over a multitude of ailments made the demand of knowledge of the human body and the way it fights against disease made these criminal actions flourish, the perpetrators earned a small fortune. I've always been drawn to novels dedicated to this subject and "The Impossible Girl" wo
Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang is a 2018 Lake Union Publishing publication.

A dark, gritty, and ghoulish piece of highly suspenseful historical fiction!

Cora Cutter, born of mixed race, and out of wedlock, is raised by her aunt after her mother dies in childbirth. The doctor, who arrived too late to save her mother, examines Cora, and declares she has been born with two hearts. This anomaly would most assuredly place a price on her head and put an end to her life. As such, Cora is brought up as
Kylie D
WOW! This book had me more hooked than any other I've read in a long while!

It is a brilliant, original novel that looks into grave robbing and body snatchers in the mid 1800s. It follows the story of Cora, the only female resurrectionist in New York, as she and her team dig up recently buried bodies and sell them to the highest bidder.

Cora has built a network of doctors who tell her of unusual cases among their patients, for Cora specialises in those that are afflicted with anatomical anomalies
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Looking for something a bit darker to read for the fall season? How about some grave robbing and human anomalies? The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang just might be that book you are searching for then. A historical fiction tale with a bit of mystery this one is certainly fitting for the time of year.

In 1830 Charlotte and her maid Leah were helping a young mother with the birth of her baby as the family wanted nothing to do with her or the out of wedlock child she carried. After the baby was born h
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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This book is currently $1.99 in the Kindle store!

Hello friends, I'd like to introduce you to the book that I've been secretly obsessing over these last couple days. It's adult historical fiction, which I know might seem off-putting to some who have neatly filed "historical fiction" under B for "Boring" in their mental file cabinets, but trust me when I say that this book is amazing and even though it's written for adults, there is tons o
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
"The girl with two hearts, too impossible to have truly been born."

The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang is listed as Adult General Fiction/Women's Fiction which is why I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it is a mystery book more than anything. And a stellar mystery book at that as I did not, not even once, consider the twist when the murderer is finally revealed

Set in the mid 1800's and written in third person, The Impossible Girl follows Cora, a resurrectionist, aka a grave robber, that
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
"A heart doesn't have to stop beating to be dead." (Unknown)

Lydia Kang invites us into a small, ramshackled house on Long Island. It's January of 1830 and the frigid winter winds almost forecast the future existence of the tiny child born this day. Her mother is of the high societal name of Cutter.....cast out by her own family in shame. Her father is unknown. But rumors avail themselves to perhaps an Asian man working on the docks. The time period's ill-fated child will present herself with dua
Iryna *Book and Sword*
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-s, ebooks, netgalley
4/5 stars

First of all - look at the cover! Look at it! It's so beautiful. Was the cover the reason this book caught my eye? Absolutely, I am a cover whore after all. And then I read the description and I was completely sold!

When I was reading this book a thought sprang to mind "this is what "Stalking Jack the Ripper" should have been". Minus Jack the Ripper of course . There are a lot of similarities between the books, but they are also very different from each other.
We have the strong feminis
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Finally, an original idea for a story that is executed perfectly. Lydia Kang is a helluva writer! Her prose is beautiful but it also flows well from page-to-page, making it an absolute pleasure to read. I would describe this as an historical medical mystery in terms of genre, it sort of defies categorisation, mainly because it is such a unique book. I thought the medical elements of the plot were authentic, detailed and realistic, and after discovering Kang is actually a doctor, I realised ...more
Ante The Zmaj
First and foremost, I would like to thank NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for my first ever ARC.

''Many things are possible. The human body's mysteries are finite but not yet solved.''

I can wait the day Goodreads will change it's rating system, because it's so hard to put a rating, especially when a book leaves you with your feelings split. This one is actually 3.5.

I always found 1800s an the first half of 1900s pretty interesting, because there is always something new to discover, someth
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
The wealthy Cutter family of Manhattan will not stand for the shame and embarrassment of heirs born out of wedlock.  
When Elizabeth Cutter finds herself unmarried and pregnant, she's sent away to live with her cousin Charlotte who had also found herself in the same predicament but lost her baby during childbirth.

Elizabeth dies in childbirth but her daughter survives.  When a doctor arrives, he is astonished to find two heartbeats and tells Charlotte and her maid Leah that the girl will not live.
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018, arc
"I’m not ashamed of who I am, Leah. It’s everyone else that has trouble with it."

Review also on my blog.

The Impossible Girl takes an interesting, almost fantastical premise – does Cora Lee, the protagonist, really have two hearts? – and then firmly grounds it in rich historical detail. Especially vivid are the depictions of resurrectionists (people who obtained corpses to serve as public medical dissection cadavers or even as freakshow museum anomalies) and their work in mid-nineteen
Carole (Carole's Random Life)
This review can also be found at Pure Textuality PR.

This was quite good. I became aware of this book from a few positive reviews and once I read the book’s summary, I knew that I would have to give it a try as well. This was one of those books that I liked more and more as I read. It really didn’t take too long before I reached a point where I didn’t want to put the book down. I really had a great time reading this book.

Imagine living each day with the knowledge that you are worth more as a corp
Arybo ✨

“Anatomy is the equalizer, isn’t it? Shows we’re all just clay and water, in the end, no matter if you’re highborn or not.”

New York. About 1850. A peculiar girl. A peculiar work. A peculiar world.

As the darkness descended, Broadway became a bright, jeweled marvel, form the colored lanterns hanging on the edge of the carries, to the gaslights flickering to life.

Let's start with the setting.
I've never read a book set in New York in the 1800s. It was a breath of fresh air. No more Victorian Engl
Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021-reads
This is one of those books that starts off a little slow, that slightly drags, but that wins you over in the end. Overall, I really liked Cora's character and I greatly enjoyed the joined banter of her other half. The author does a nice job of building the tension once the story reaches its midway point, and I was glad to be surprised by a few of the reveals that were shown off near the ending. An ending that was very much deserved and bittersweet to reach. ...more
Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)
I have always had a fascination with the macabre, the "freaks", the strange and different. Probably why Freak Show is still my favorite season of American Horror Story, partly why I loved The Greatest Showman and why I absolutely adore this book.

Cora is the girl with two hearts - having to grow up as a boy and then take on dual roles as herself and her twin brother, taking on a job as a resurrectionist so she could always be privy to any talk of anyone coming after her, to show her, or rather h
I absolutely loved Cora, who lives both as a young man named Jacob and as his sister Cora. She is a shrewd businesswoman with an extensive knowledge of medicine, anatomy and apporapthy. Kang gave us a delightful glimpse of New York, its immigrants, and the seedy side of medical advancements. 

The rich locked their loved one's caskets and set guards but doctors treating patients kept folks like Cora informed as they all padded their pockets. Cora herself watches locals with strange afflictions and
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is historical fiction story like no other, masterfully told. Cora is a resurrectionist with a curious double life, delivering freshly interred corpses to institutions of medical learning while wondering if she might face the same fate of those she unburies.

Loved the details of historic New York, the beginnings of pharmacology, and the cast of colorful characters.
Kate Olson
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
(free review copy) HOLY MOTHER OF MACABRE. You guys know I’m obsessed with medical history AND that I love New York City history, so this book was on my TBR when I first heard about it. @tlcbooktours was gracious enough to send me a free review copy, and oh my goodness am I glad they did. Or maybe I’m not, given how absolutely delightfully disgusting this book was - HA!
Kang holds absolutely nothing back in her descriptions of medical deformities and atrocities and of the corpses……so, so, so, so
I was surprised by this book. I tend to stay away from historical fiction as it's not my cup of tea, but this book has a premise that after reading the synopsis I couldn't resist.
It's very easy to read and it offers a captivating story. I enjoyed how well the characters were written, and I especially enjoyed the story. The book gave me the impression that it was well-researched and planned to the smallest of details, as everything was coming together plot-wise. I do have a bit of an issue with t
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
Thank you Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for the ARC.

I'm always on the lookout for some macabre historical fiction and when offered the chance to review this book, my expectations reached the gothic spires.
I wasn't disappointed.

Come, let's enter the morbid world of graverobbers.

It's 1850 and the New York resurrectionists are digging up freshly buried bodies to sell to the medical schools. The ones with the most fascinating anomalies fetch the best price, so there's quite an industry in fol
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-netgalley
I received this from in exchange for a review.

Manhattan, 1850. Born out of wedlock to a wealthy socialite and a nameless immigrant, Cora Lee is born with two hearts. Now, her life is in danger and she must find the person who is killing people with strange anomalies and selling their bodies for a profit.

Great gothic story. The writing flowed nicely and the story was interesting to read. Great imagery of 1800's medical practices and the murky city streets of New York.

Sep 25, 2018 rated it liked it
If you don't try to analyze or make sense of some of the characters' actions, this makes for an entertaining historical mystery-thriller. It takes place in 1850s NYC, during an interesting period in history, when medical schools needed cadavers for their anatomy classes and research, with demand high and voluntary supply (by family members, etc.) almost nonexistent. What to do but steal freshly-dead bodies from graves to sell. Those involved in this grave robbing were known as resurrectionists a ...more
Enjoyable! Lydia Kang’s story reminded me of favorites I read in high school, like Madeleine Brent’s Moonraker’s Bride. And narrator Saskia Maarleveld brought the characters to life so well. A great find on Kindle Unlimited.
Lolly K Dandeneau
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
via my blog:
'So, thirteen-year old Cora had shivered and cried, wondering if her numbed left arm and leg would work again, or her garbled speech would right itself. And they did- only a few hours later. It never happened again, but the incident reminded Cora that her body held dark sway over her existence.'

Cora, birthed three weeks too early in shame to Elizabeth, an unmarried socialite is born with an anomaly, two hearts. When her mother dies giving birth t
Two hearts. Twice as vulnerable.

Manhattan, 1850. Born out of wedlock to a wealthy socialite and a nameless immigrant, Cora Lee can mingle with the rich just as easily as she can slip unnoticed into the slums and graveyards of the city. As the only female resurrectionist in New York, she’s carved out a niche procuring bodies afflicted with the strangest of anomalies. Anatomists will pay exorbitant sums for such specimens—dissecting and displaying them for the eager public.

Cora’s specialty is n
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love Lydia Kang's historical (and occasionally medical) mysteries. ...more
The Lit Bitch
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a book that I was excited about when I got the pitch and then I kind of forgot about it until closer to the review date. I wasn’t entirely excited to read it when the time came to start it, but that slight was rectified almost immediately when I started this one.

This book had a little bit of everything, romance, mystery, fantasy, and history. I loved this one almost from the first word! It made an excellent early fall/Halloween read.

This book touched on some of the most interesting aspe
Cindy ✩☽♔
Sep 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, arc
Well, that was interesting...

Truly an interesting and rather unexpected read. A tale of a young woman determined to make a life for herself during a time where women are regarded as the inferior gender by society - filled with murder, mystery and twisted family hierocracy. In some ways, it quite reminds me of These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly which I really enjoyed as well.

And honestly, I did not guess the killer right at all. Which is pretty rare, so kudos to the author for throwing me
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of this novel from the publishing house. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

If you are looking for a historical fiction pick that you won't be able to put down,  The Impossible Girl is a book I would HIGHLY recommend. Kang uses her own background in medicine, working as a practicing physician on the side, and crafts the incredible story of a girl born with two hearts in 1850.

Cora, born out of wedlock to a wealthy socialite and nameless immigrant, is the stuff that legends
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