Throughout Melanie Dickersonís novel, The Healerís Apprentice, the issues of duty versus forbidden love and trust in Godís will versus holding onto oneís desires are woven into a tapestry of German medieval castles, dashing princes, and an evil sorcerer. For Rose, being the apprentice of the town healer is seemingly an answer to her prayers, as the position saves her from an arranged marriage by her greedy mother. However, Rose struggles with a feeling of inadequacy as the sight of blood makes her queasy. Then, to further complicate matters, the dashing young Lords Hamlin and Rupert fall for the beautiful Rose, but her desire is for Lord Hamlin, the one man who is off limits to her as he is betrothed to another. Torn and confused, Rose tries to sort through her reeling emotions and her desire ultimately to find true love.
The Healerís Apprentice flows very naturally, appreciating the sensitive moments of dialogue and description of scenery, yet keeping an intense pace that never leaves the reader wanting to skip pages hoping to find the action again. Especially dynamic is the contrast between Lord Hamlin and Rupert in their relationships with Rose. Whereas Rupertís pursuit of Rose is melodramatic and ultimately shallow, the interaction between Rose and Lord Hamlin is reserved yet deep. Every secretly intense moment that Rose and Lord Hamlin share builds to Hamlin finally declaring his love to Rose, even when it would mean the loss of his own title and respect.
Rose sees that honor and respect make up who Lord Hamlin is, but that he also loves her. Unfortunately, he canít have both, but Rose knows that once he chooses, he will regret not having the other. Because Rose canít bear the thought of being regretted by Lord Hamlin, she pushes him away and submits to Godís will, knowing that if it is in the Lordís plan, He can make a way so that Lord Hamlin can have Rose and still fulfill his responsibilities.
Meanwhile, Lord Hamlin is also dealing with his own sense of inadequacy as his betrothed is being threatened by the evil sorcerer, Moncore. Lord Hamlin has tried to find Moncore and bring him to justice so that his betrothed will be safe and come out of hiding. However, he suffers from a sense of failure as he feels that by failing in capturing Moncore, he is failing at his duty to his people, and no crown or title can save him from the weakness he feels inside. Both Lord Hamlin and Rose deal with their own personal senses of failure and inadequacy. Ironically, both seem to think that they cannot be desirable to others because of their flaws, when, in reality, both are greatly loved and respected by their friends and peers. It is in Christís love for them and in their love for each other that they are able to look past the blemishes and into the heart of the person. 1 John 4:7 supports this as it states, ďDear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows GodĒ (ESV).
Touching what is at the heart of many young women, Dickerson has certainly woven a fine novel geared toward middle school to high school aged girls. Whereas some of the plot can take on an air of predictability, overall the characters are dynamic and relational with their triumphs and failures reaching into struggles and feelings many deal with today. Besides, who can resist a tale of secret princesses, ball gowns, and rescue from an evil magician? Get ready for a fantastic treat that will have you reaching for the chocolates and a tissue as you enter the medieval world of The Healerís Apprentice. Ė Lyndsey Gammage, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Two Hearts. One Hope.
Rose has been appointed as a healerís apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, a rare opportunity for a woodcutterís 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 heróa 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 sheís 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 Roseís life spins toward confusion, she must take the first steps on a journey to discover her own destiny.