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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Review: The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson

I never would have thought that this was a re-telling of Sleeping Beauty. And re-tellings are my favorite kind of books to read.

Title: The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson
Pages: 261
Release Date: October 1st 2010
Published by: Zondervan
Source: Publisher (thanks Bridget!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

Summary (from Goodreads):

Two Hearts.
One Hope.

Rose has been appointed as a healer's apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, a rare opportunity for a woodcutter's daughter like her. While she often feels uneasy at the sight of blood, Rose is determined to prove herself capable. Failure will mean returning home to marry the aging bachelor her mother has chosen for her---a bloated, disgusting merchant who makes Rose feel ill.When Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured, it is Rose who must tend to him. As she works to heal his wound, she begins to understand emotions she's never felt before and wonders if he feels the same. But falling in love is forbidden, as Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a mysterious young woman in hiding. As Rose's life spins toward confusion, she must take the first steps on a journey to discover her own destiny.

See even if I didn't know that this was a re-telling, I'd still love it. I still love it! I was stunned when I found out that it was, and then all of a sudden everything made sense. The Healer's Apprentice has this silent charm that beckons readers. The simplicity of the plot and Melanie's writing style just urges the reader to read more, until you grow attached to the characters and the story itself.

Rose, a woodcutter's daughter, is the new apprentice of the town healer. Unlike her friend she doesn't have illusions that the sons of the Duke will ever take notice of her. Rose was instead busy contemplating if she will ever be as great a healer as Frau Francesca. But Rose finds it difficult to become a healer, getting queasy at the sight of blood and injuries. When Lord Hamlin, next in line to become the Duke, gets injured, Rose tended to his wounds. From that day on, Rose's life started to become tangled with the young Lord's, his younger brother and his family. But Rose couldn't possibly fall in love with Wilhelm. He's betrothed and their social status aren't equal. As Rose fights her feelings for Wilhelm, secrets regarding her identity started surfacing one by one, and what she knew to be the truth about herself started to suddenly become false.

There is something about chivalrous men, men who treat women with utter most care and respect that makes them very desirable. Wilhelm is the perfect example of a man preparing to be a Duke, serious, responsible, honorable, always does the right thing for the greater good. He's fiercely loyal to his betrothed whom he has never seen. A magnificent older brother who heeds wishes even though it's against his will, because he wants nothing more than see those he loves happy. His interactions with Rose gave me a warm fuzzy feeling throughout the book. Wilhelm's confusion with his feelings towards Rose were cleared through his faith that God knows what is good for him. Sadly, men like Wilhelm Hamlin do not exist anymore.

While it was easy to guess Rose's true identity, I still enjoyed reading about her. A girl so unloved, who wants to make a difference and defy the life everyone expects her to have. Rose was being promised by her mother to the next person who has the means to give her even a few comforts in love, but she doesn't want that kind of life. Innocent, trusting, and pure of heart, Rose's faith anchored her through a lot of tough moments and she found her strength to go on when she started doubting herself. God has a plan for her, and turns out that he did. Rose wasn't meant to be a woodcutter's daughter. She wasn't one in the first place.

The romantic aspect of this book is what I enjoyed reading about. There was instant attraction, but the author took time to develop Rose and Wilhelm's feelings for each other. The love triangle gave their love story a bigger appeal, and even I found myself wondering if Wilhelm and Rose were never really meant to be with each other.  Before I knew it I was rooting for them and hating Rupert for being so frivolous and shallow.

Evil came in a form of magic in this book. It's what finally gave the book a fairy tale like quality. A vile sorcerer out for revenge and a "prince" who tried to stop him and almost failed. Who thought it would be possible to blend magic and talk about faith at the same time? Two clashing themes and yet Melanie Dickerson managed to combine both elements into a wonderful, interpretation of a classic children's tale. All the characters are there, re-invented but still familiar! An imaginative tale of love and faith, The Healer's Apprentice is a great, laid back read. A very good Historical fiction novel with a dash of romance set in  Saxony!

Content (plot, story flow, character):

Shining: Worthy of a Goddess' Love!

Book Cover:
Rose looks so beautiful in the cover!

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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