Book Review: The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson

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.

Release Date:  October 10, 2010
Age Group:  Young Adult
Publisher:  Zondervan
Source: Purchased

What a sweet story!  The Healer's Apprentice is the second book I've read by Melanie Dickerson, and I've really enjoyed them both.  Dickerson's more recent book, The Merchant's Daughter (read my review here) is a historical Christian fiction retelling of Beauty and the Beast.  I loved it!  

I knew nothing of The Healer's Apprentice beyond the summary, but knew how much I liked Dickerson's work and knew it would be worth my money to buy and read this book.  And it was.  I really enjoyed it, in fact I stayed up late reading, it was so good.

Like with The Merchant's Daughter, I did not realize until I was almost at the end of the story that The Healer's Apprentice is a retelling of a classic fairy tale, in this case, Sleeping BeautyThe Healer's Apprentice was a unique take on the story, in that Dickerson added some characters and changed some things up while keeping the basic tenets of the classic fairy tale intact.  And of course, the Christian element to the story provided another layer of interest for me. 

While The Merchant's Daughter had more depth and a more layered plot to it, The Healer's Apprentice was a straightforward love story.  Actually, it was a love triangle, which was very well-handled.  Forbidden love, oh, it gets me every time.  I just love it!  I don't say this to be critical, but I could tell that The Healer's Apprentice was Dickerson's earlier work.  It had a more elementary feel to it.  The writing did not feel as mature as the writing in The Merchant's Daughter.  That's not to say I didn't enjoy the book, because I did, I'm just saying that the story was a little more simple than I expected it to be.  It turned out to be just what I was needing at the time, though.  Sometimes I need an uncomplicated story to read and relax, and The Healer's Apprentice was perfect for that.

Overall, The Healer's Apprentice is a good, clean love story with a Christian faith element to it.  I enjoyed the historical setting, the love triangle, and the emotional writing.  I am glad I read this book, would recommend it to others, and will most definitely be reading Melanie Dickerson again.

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