Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson

The Healer’s Apprentice is what I hope to be the beginning of an intriguing and unique spin on Christian Teen Romance by Zondervan.

Plenty of magic and classic fairytale elements pepper this tangy take on the Sleeping Beauty story.

Rose is a healer’s apprentice who leaves her lower class family and house full of brothers and sisters to work with the town healer. By day she and her friend Hildy dream about dukes and castles; by night dark shadows of the men who prove prospective suitors for Rose huddle in the background.

After tending to Lord Hamlin’s injured leg, Rose finds herself connected to the most prominent family in the village. The family loves Rose’s stories, the dashing Lord Rupert teaches Rose how to ride and the handsome and good-hearted Wilhelm eventually captures Rose’s heart.

But, theirs is a forbidden love. Wilhelm has been betrothed to an unseen and captive fiancée for years now and as soon as she is released from the sorcery that binds her, he will secure his happy ending.

Mistaken identities and dark spirits pervade the novel and make it a welcome change to the usual Christian teen fare. While Dickerson reimagines these evil forces as blatant spiritual warfare ( something that need not have been spelled out; rather more effectively implied), the story reads deliciously like an age-old fireside tale.

I found the romantic development between Wilhelm and Rose quite believable and it made me pine to see how their plot would untangle and happily-ever-after would reign supreme.

A secondary romantic plot between Rose’s friend Hildy and Gunther ( a charming, be-freckled lad) was another welcome addition.

There is a decidedly Christian element: mostly in the character’s thoughts and prayers, but with the exception of the spiritual warfare slant aforementioned, it is not over-powering: making this a suitable read for non-Christian readers.

I hope to see more of the like from Zondervan teen.

It was so refreshingly different from a lot of the nonsense Christian publishers pass off for YAs and Teens nowadays. Harsh, but true.

visit Melanie's website


Unknown said...

I have GOT to read this book, it has been languishing on my TBR pile for far too long! Sleeping Beauty is my FAVORITE fairy tale! I did read some news from Melanie Dickerson a few weeks ago - Zondervan is publishing her second novel in December (I think), which is a reimagining of the Beauty & the Beast story.

Kailana said...

Oh, sounds good! I love retellings!