Review: THE HEALER’S APPRENTICE by Melanie Dickerson

TITLE: The Healer’s Apprentice
AUTHOR: Melanie Dickerson –
Web, Blog
GENRE: Young Adult,
PUBLISHED: Zondervan (September 14, 2010)
(*See additional Book Club review at the end.)


(Provided by Publisher)
Rose has been appointed as a healer's apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, a rare opportunity for a woodcutter's daughter. While she often feels uneasy at the sight of blood, Rose is determined to prove herself capable. Failure will mean marrying the aging bachelor her mother has chosen--a bloated, disgusting merchant.
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 feel emotions she's never experienced before. 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.


“Whoa, I need to read this,” is what I originally said. Not only is the cover so pretty, the synopsis makes me equally curious. I enjoyed the narrative of Rose, a very prim and proper peasant who knows her place. She is what I would imagine a peasant of the middle ages is like. She tries to be inconspicuous but two men take notice of her and they just so happen to be royalty. Let’s pretend for a moment that this is at all likely, there are instances where one or the other just shows up wherever Rose may be. There’s no rhyme or reason to their appearance, like it was way over planned or crazy coincidence.
There’s not a whole lot wrong with the characters in this story. They are deep and interesting and appropriately flawed. (I mean a Lord falling in love with a peasant while he’s betrothed, that’s a serious weakness.) I couldn’t help but want to kick Lord Rupert in the neck. Frau Gerusha is mysterious and interesting. (Love the prayer and God element. It felt quite accurate to the time period.)
The trouble in this book lies with the plot and the writing of it. If this story was a glass of water, it would only be two-thirds full. If it were a picnic, it would be a sandwich shy. What I mean is, this is a great story idea and we only really got two-thirds of the power of the story. The emotions of the love affair are just right, but the plot felt like it had a gaping hole in it which leads me to…


Yay! There is spiritual warfare in this book! That thrilled me! BUT this is where the gaping hole was… there was a deficit to the storyline of the bad guy. I wanted to be able to smell his evil but it felt like he was avoided so no one was too scared. Supernatural stuff is freaky and I wasn’t nervous at all about Rose being in danger. Even though it was totally cool how the author accurately used spiritual authority to cast out demons. (You go girl!) I just wish we were given the full opportunity to really loathe the bad guy—see him close up, see why he’s so bad, see him mess someone else up too or something. We were only told about him, not shown. I wanna see how bad he is!


I’m really not sure how to rate this book. The characters were fine, the romance was juicy, the spiritual warfare was cool, but the antagonist was only 2-demensional, the Sleeping Beauty thing was kind of lame, and it felt like a one legged plotline. I know giving it a 3 is being generous, but it had spiritual stuff in it! So: 3. Good. It was good, no regrets.


This is a Christian novel. (I didn’t actually know that until I cracked it open.) And it’s totally appropriate for teens especially so they can see the supernatural at work. I think that it is more appropriate for early teens, pre-teens: 10-13. (I think I’ll let my 9 year old read it.)


So this was a book we read for book club. And this was what they thought: The general consensus was that it was predictable. Everyone one knew the secrets near the beginning. (Umm, I only figured it out half way through. Lol.) They agreed that the story was cut short and really could have been more intense. I have to agree, we were shorted with the suspense. To many secrets given away to early on.


This is a SPOILER! If you want to know what our favorite scene was, highlight this paragraph to reveal text:

The most powerful scene in the whole book was when Gunther was sent to the gallows and Rose brought Hilde just in time to save him and MARRY HIM! What a great old-law twist. The scene was emotional and surprising.