The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson is one of those rare and special books that promises to be amazing the moment you set eyes on them and then follows through in spades!
Blurb: 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 enjoy historicals and romantic adventures so, needless to say, this book was right up my alley. It’s a realistic retelling, loosely based on (or should I say inspired by), a popular fairy tale but I wasn’t aware of that when I started reading and, even after I knew, it took me a good chunk of the book to figure out which story. I really liked that aspect – that it was such a unique take on the tale that I had no idea where it was going to go.
Almost all of the characters are likeable – even one who ends up being a cad was rather likeable on the surface. He reminded me of Willoughby from Sense & Sensibility – someone you pity because they had such potential. The romance was well-developed and it hit my absolute favorite trope when it comes to romance with simmering attraction that is always held back due to various obstacles.
While not a magical fantasy, it touched upon those spots by containing unique spiritual warfare. It’s a tricky subject and I appreciated the effort though I did have some frustrations with the way a few things went. HIDDEN SPOILERS BELOW, highlight to read – For those who have already read the book only: Namely, I do not believe Christians can be demon possessed and I believe the Holy Spirit protects us from such attacks. While Rose was never possessed or attacked outright (as it was more of a fear attack?), I had niggles over that whole situation. As for the big bad guy – whatever he sprinkled on Rose didn’t bother me too much. But I didn’t like that her prayers & the prayers of Frau Geruscha didn’t drive the demons from her room in the first place and then that she was so terrified that she couldn’t even pray later and Hamlin had to save the day. And why was Frau Geruscha telling him what to pray? Didn’t he already know? And why didn’t she just pray herself? The man’s gotta do it?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.