Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Healer's Apprentice

by Dina Sleiman

Today I would like to recommend a new novel from Zondervan that is sheer delight: The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson. Melanie is a friend of mine and fellow medieval author. This book was a real treat, from the medieval German setting, to the fairy tale elements, to the heart stopping romance. I adored everything about it.

When this book arrived in the mail, my fifteen-year-old daughter hi-jacked it and insisted she read it first. She loved it and finished it in under twenty-four hours (oh, to be young again.) The cover is exquisite and the story line compelling. The Healer's Apprentice was released as a teen fiction novel, but I think any romance lover will adore this book.

The backcover reads: 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.

I was surprised and pleased that while geared to a younger audience, this novel did not shy away from tough issues like abuse, attempted seduction, and the corruption of the clergy at that time. While these topics are dealt with delicately, it is good for young women to learn to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves as the Bible instructs.

This book is well executed all around. Great characters, strong plot, good pacing. The story took some fun twists and turns that will be sure to charm you, and the history was accurate and engaging. Most importantly, though, it contained very strong spiritual elements. The hero and heroine must face the forces of darkness and battle them not with their own strength, but through the power of the name of Jesus. They also learn lessons about trusting God, listening to his voice, and their worth in him. Melanie Dickerson portrayed the right and godly sort of love in this book that will stand the test of time.

So if you are looking for a book that will both entertain you and simultaneously enrich your life, I highly recommend The Healer's Apprentice. Great job Melanie. I look forward to more.


  1. I love books that pull off the YA crossover to Adult. For me that's the sign of great storytelling.
    So all that with fairy tale element to boot?
    Sign me up!!

  2. Well I am definitely going to have to read this book. Am planning on writting a review on a book I just read even though it is not a brand new book.

  3. Cheryl, the fairy tale element was fun and unique. I happen to know that Melanie originally pitched this as an adult book and had a heard time because medievals aren't very marketable. However, the fairy tale aspect appealed to Zondervan, as they thought it would appeal to the Twilight type readers.

  4. Liz, is it the Karen Kingsbury book? I have to confess, I've never read one of hers yet. The premises have never appealed to me. But since you liked it so much, maybe I should give it a try...if I can ever wade through my to be read list. I have Julie Klassen, Julie Lessman, and Lisa Samson books up there calling my name right now. Plus some Ted Dekker's. I've been wanting to check his out. Figure out why he's so popular, not that I plan to switch to writing thrillers anytime soon.

  5. Hey Dina, not to pull attention from Melanie's awesome book but try the Dekker book BLINK (or Blink of an eye).

    Okay back to The Healer's Apprentice. I hope this book rocks all the assumptions out there about YA, medieval, and Christian fiction. So far, from what I've heard, Melanie's book has had only one negative review and that was by someone who loved it but was angry to realize it was (surprise!) Christian fiction and dared to mention God and a believer's faith!

    I have yet to read it but I won't let that be so for too much longer!

    Run out and buy this book and pass it on and show the publishing world that YA (young adult) doesn't just mean vampires and wizards!

  6. I loved Melanie's book -- it was wonderfully crafted and so enjoyable to read! Congrats to Melanie. And thanks for your review, Dina!

  7. Yes Dina, It is the Karen Kingsbury book.I honestly,do not get into every book that she writes.However, this book called Shades of Blue is very good and I would highly recommended.

  8. Deb, I guess it would seem weird to an unbeliever that they overcome the odds not through their own strength of ingenuity, but the surrendering to God.

  9. Susanne, glad you liked it too. Yes, I thought it was very well crafted. A lot of times I feel like novels are slightly off in the pacing, but this one was great.

  10. Thanks so much, Dina!!! I can't wait until I'm writing a review for you some day. :-)

    This book is so different from anything else that Christian publishers are publishing these days, but it's getting lots of attention! I'm grateful for that. Thanks again for the thoughtful review, Dina!

  11. Cheryl and Louise, thanks so much for your comments! I do hope you will read The Healer's Apprentice and enjoy it! :-)

    Debra and Susanne, thank you so much for your encouraging words!!! You both are awesome. :-)

  12. Melanie, I can't wait until you write a review of my book either ;)
    I'm doing a rewrite of my medieval for a small publishing company right now, so it's hopeful.

  13. Dina, this sounds like a great book. I can't wait to read it. I must confess that I never grew out of enjoying YA. I love anything with a fairy tale element, so I'm looking forward to this one. And Melanie, congratulations!

  14. Hi Suzie. Always happy to see you stop by. Hope your fall is going well.


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