Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Guest Review: HEALER

    Guest Reviewer: Danielle Dodge

It's a pleasure to welcome Danielle and her review. At fourteen, about to enter her freshman year, she already has several credentials. She has written two novellas, a novel, and several guest blogs. She also has placed in numerous writing competitions. Her goal is to write and traditionally publish YA that will "make a change in teen fiction."  

Healer: A Novel by Linda Windsor

Brides of Alba series

Copyright 2010 by Linda Windsor
Published by David C. Cook
384 pages
ISBN-10: 1434764788
 ISBN-13: 978-1434764782

Back cover copy: 
Sixth-century Scotland—in the time of Arthur….
“The Gowrys’ seed shall divide your mighty house and bring a peace beyond the ken of your wicked soul.”
Her mother’s dying prophecy to the chieftain Tarlach O’Byrne sentenced Brenna of Gowrys to twenty years of hiding. Twenty years of being hunted—by the O’Byrnes, who fear the prophecy, and by her kinsmen, who expect her to lead them against their oppressors. But Brenna is a trained and gifted healer, not a warrior queen. So she lives alone in the wilderness with only her pet wolf for company. When she rescues a man badly wounded from an ambush, she believes he may be the answer to her deep loneliness. Healing him comes as easy as loving him. But can their love overcome years of bitterness and greed…and bring peace and renewed faith to the shattered kingdom?

Danielle's Review:
This book is set in 6th century Scotland.  In Healer, Brenna of the clan of Gowrys lives in the hills, hiding from an enemy clan that hunts her because of her mother’s dying prophecy.  She knows many arts of healing and wants to use her gift to help people.  But she is also afraid to come out of hiding so she stays in her mountain cave with her wolf, Faol.
          Ronan of the clan of Glenarden is son to the madman chief, Tarlach.  Ronan knows well the prophecy of Joanna of Gowrys: that her daughter will split the clan of Glenarden.  Ronan searches for the daughter of Joanna – an alleged witch – every year.  But one year during the witch hunt, Ronan is attacked by an assassin.
          Brenna, who watches from the hills just above him, saves his life, takes him back to her cave, and nurses him back to health.  During that healing process, the two fall in love, get married, and Brenna comes back to Glenarden with Ronan.  But can the two warring clans of Glenarden and Gowrys come to peace with each other?  And can they find the would-be assassin before it’s too late?

          Linda Windsor has a very good writing style.  Her dialogue flows naturally and her description is good.  I can always see the story flowing through my mind.  She includes several Christian themes and melds them into the story.  But several parts of this book crossed the line in places for me.
          While Brenna and Ronan are together in the cave, they fall in love.  For a devout Christian, Brenna seemed to let her romantic fantasies run away with her too easily.  Because of the story, it was God’s plan that the two would later marry.  But Brenna had a dream of their intimacy before they were even engaged which is something I do not believe God would do.
          Brenna also slept right next to Ronan to be able to check on him during the night.  Being that close just to check on him seemed a bit unnecessary to me.
          There was an un-foreshadowed event that left me feeling like it was a bit too easy in the end.
          There is also some radical driving out of demons in two places in the story.  While that is realistic and things like that happen today, I would recommend this for more mature readers.  Not really a book for younger readers.

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