I received a copy of Corpse and Crown from Harlequin TEEN in exchange for an honest review.
Agatha DeLacey’s family isn’t rich or titled, so studying nursing at Ingold’s East End Hospital in London is a rare opportunity for her. Despite the school’s focus on the innovative Bio-Mechanical program, Aggie cares more about the desperately poor human patients who flood the hospital, even if that means providing unauthorized treatment after hours… and trusting a charming, endlessly resourceful thief.
But the Artful Dodger is barely a step ahead of his underworld rivals, the menacing Bill Sykes and mercurial Oliver Twist, and Aggie’s association with him soon leads her into danger. When a brutal attack leaves her blind, she and the Dodger find themselves at the mercy of an experimental Bio-Mech surgery. Though the procedure restores Aggie’s sight, her new eyes come with an unnerving cost, and the changes in Dodger are even more alarming- instead of seeing Aggie as the girl he fancies, he now views her as a potential threat.
As war between England and Germany brews on the horizon and a sinister medical conspiracy threatens to shatter the uneasy peace in Europe, Aggie and the Dodger must find a way to work together so they can protect their friends and expose the truth… even if it means risking their own survival.
“I promise you, we’re not going to do anything bad to your mum. We’re going to help her.” His eyes searched her face. “You swear?” “On my life. May I be struck blind if I’m lying.”
We met Aggie in Cadaver and Queen. We didn’t learn too much about her in the previous book. All that we knew was that she was a nursing student and roomed with Lizzie.
“There were so many ways for a working woman to get burned and bruised and broken in the course of a day. Whenever some man started talking about how women were the weaker sex, Aggie thought about all the women she knew who worked in factories until the moment they went into labor.”
In Corpse and Crown we learn a lot now about Aggie. She’s a nursing student, yes, but she’s a great nursing student. She’s compassionate and caring. She wants to help anyone who is in need of her assistance. I loved seeing the character development throughout the book. It was amazing.
“Without the older woman’s support, Aggie knew she wouldn’t last long here. Her own mother had said as much. “London, is it? You’re just asking for trouble aren’t nurses supposed to keep their legs crossed? We’ll see how long that lasts. I reckon you’ll be ruined by one of them young doctors and selling yourself in the streets within a year.”
My heart does go out for Aggie. Just hearing the way her mother, her own mother, didn’t believe in her. Saying those awful things about her own daughter. Telling her that she will end up a prostitute instead of a nurse.
Even though she was told that she would end up the lowest of the low, and even thought she suffered through a terrible life changing accident, she didn’t let that stop her. She came out stronger than ever and even more confident in her abilities.
“What the eye cannot see, the heart never grieves.”
Throughout the book we see other characters, primary as well as secondary, go through their own struggles and challenges. Dodger, Will, Byram, Justine, Lizzie, Victor.
But in the end, everything will be okay.
“The moment you chose to harm him, you stopped being a nurse.”