The Healer's Apprentice  -     By: Melanie Dickerson
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The Healer's Apprentice

Zondervan/Youth Specialties / 2010 / Paperback

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An imaginative and romantic retelling of the classic fairy tale Sleeping Beauty! When Rose, a young woodcutter's daughter, falls in love with the village ruler, their relationship is complicated by a curse. Will their shared faith enable them to follow God's will for their lives---even if his plans don't include a happy ending? 272 pages, softcover from Zondervan.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 272
Vendor: Zondervan/Youth Specialties
Publication Date: 2010
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0310721431
ISBN-13: 9780310721437
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

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.

Author Bio


Melanie Dickerson is the author of The Healer’s Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award for Best First Book. Melanie earned a bachelor’s degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has been a teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama.

Throughout Melanie Dickerson’s novel, The Healer’s Apprentice, the issues of duty versus forbidden love and trust in God’s will versus holding onto one’s 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 Healer’s 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 Rupert’s 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 can’t have both, but Rose knows that once he chooses, he will regret not having the other. Because Rose can’t bear the thought of being regretted by Lord Hamlin, she pushes him away and submits to God’s will, knowing that if it is in the Lord’s 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 Christ’s 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, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God” (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 Healer’s Apprentice. – Lyndsey Gammage,

Editorial Reviews

In this debut romance set in Hagenheim, Lower Saxony, in 1382 and loosely based on 'Sleeping Beauty,' a lowly woodcutter’s daughter apprenticed to the town healer falls in love with a handsome nobleman who’s betrothed to a mysterious woman. Although she's grateful to the healer for teaching her to read and write and freeing her from the need to marry, 17-year-old Rose quickly loses her heart when she meets Wilhelm, Lord Hamlin. Wilhelm’s equally smitten, but he's promised to a woman he’s never met and can’t wed until he captures the evil conjurer whose threats forced her parents to hide her 17 years ago. When Wilhelm’s carousing younger brother insistently woos Rose, she feels flattered but conflicted. Should she forget both brothers and remain single, or could there be a fairy-tale finale? The medieval German setting and fastidious details of period clothing, food, music and dance provide an ideal context for this courtly romance between two young lovers who choose duty, virtue and honor above self-interest. Female readers should savor this romantic fare. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 12 and up)
Gr 7-10–Set in 1386, this historical romance has a fairy-tale structure and a Christian emphasis. Rose serves as the apprentice to Frau Geruscha, the court healer. She is not very good at her chosen profession, yet she sees this as her only hope to escape the prospect of an arranged marriage. Enter Lord Hamlin, to whom Rose must minister after he is injured. She falls hard for him, and he for her, but neither can admit their feelings due to her social status and his betrothal to Lady Salomea. Rose soon catches the eye of the philandering Lord Rupert, Lord Hamlin’s brother, and a romance ensues. But alas, Rupert breaks her heart with a proposal she is unwilling to accept, which makes her realize that she never loved him in the first place. Lurking in the shadows is the evil Moncore, who has driven Lady Salomea into hiding because he threatened her life. The identity of Lord Hamlin’s betrothed is transparent from the start, so anticipation is built around how the two lovers will get to the “happily ever after.” Rose is beautifully boring, and not very well developed, but is believable as the young maiden longing for a prince to rescue her. She and Hamlin rely on their faith to make their dreams come true. Fans of fairy tales will enjoy this story.–Wendy Scalfaro, G. Ray Bodley High School, Fulton, NY

Product Reviews

4.7 Stars Out Of 5
4.7 out of 5
4.7 out Of 5
(4.7 out of 5)
4.7 out Of 5
(4.7 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
4.6 out Of 5
(4.6 out of 5)
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
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  1. Texas
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    So good, I stayed up all night reading!
    February 15, 2015
    Jennifer S
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review was written for The Healer's Apprentice - eBook.
    I was excited when I got a chance to read this book because I've read Melanie Dickerson's "The Merchant's Daughter," and I loved it. This book did not disappoint. I started reading it at bedtime, expecting to read a quarter or so of it before going to sleep. Later, around 4 AM, I put the book down with a happy sigh. I only got 3 hours of sleep, but it was worth it: SUCH a great book! This book is categorized as YA, but any adult who enjoys Christian historical romances will love it. I bought all of Melanie Dickerson's remaining novels for e-reader (that I know about), and I can't wait to read them. :)
  2. UK,
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Think I'm really going off this kind of Romance.....
    September 10, 2014
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 3
    Meets Expectations: 3
    This review was written for The Healer's Apprentice - eBook.
    My third read by Melanie Dickerson (although the first book she wrote) did provide some interesting background, as two of the successive books have as leading characters the children of the protagonists. I confess to being perhaps a little obsessed with the subject of surgery and the medical profession in the middle Ages, so Im a big fan of Cadfael and have a liking for the mystery series The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton for its details about surgical practice and medical procedures if nothing else.

    In this sense, The Healers Apprentice was satisfying, and in some ways a break from the norm, because the female healer was not accused of witchcraft or heresy as is the common misconception and trope in many fictional stories.

    On the simplest level this was a good story, which, aside from the inclusion of the evil magician, stripped away a lot of the fantasy content to create a more historical backdrop for the story of Sleeping Beauty. That may not be according to everyones taste, and sometimes the resemblance to the fairy-tale was rather remote, but generally in this story the shifting of the setting to fourteenth century Germany seemed to work.

    The element of Romance is arguably, essential to any good fairy-tale, or fairy-tale adaptation, yet I personally have to say I am rather going off romance stories at the moment, especially those of the fluffy, mushy and clichd kind.

    This novel did seem to be an offender with its gorgeous heroine and wonderfully handsome, dashing- and of course muscular hero. In other ways Rose and Wilhelm were strong and interesting characters, but in this way far too typical of the genre.

    Perhaps inevitably for the genre, some parts were cliched and some incidents hopelessly convenient or a tad predictable.

    Also, their actions were at times frustratingly inconsistent with Rose being madly infatuated with Wilhelms brother one minute, then turning round and considering him the most evil person who ever walked the earth the next. Admittedly, she had a reason, was of that invariably capricious breed of people called a teenager.

    Her attitude towards her parents I found even harder to swallow. Like with her being convinced that her parents could not possibly have loved her because they sent her away as a child. Or might it not have been because they wanted to protect her from the evil magician intent on subjecting her to a lifetime of torture, the central basis of the plot, and all that?

    Even Wilhelm ended up looking down on them as cowardly and selfish for such a thing. I mean seriously, after all they went through, I rather think they ought to have appreciated the reasons for Roses parents choice to let her go. But no, all they do is whinge and condemn, making their response seem contrived it itself, and them immature.

    Did they learn nothing at all?

    Also, a few historical issues perhaps warrant mention- like the suspiciously out of place presence of the American chipmunk in the forests of Medieval Europe, and some elements of what appeared to be modern clichs and judgements. Such as Rose determined to marry for love, rather than practicality, or looking down on those who saw women only as breeding machines, or her being more enlightened than the general populace who supposedly attributed almost every ill circumstance to demons.

    Altogether The Healers Apprentice was a good and generally clean (aside from the odd kissing scene that verged on the inappropriate- or just tiresome) story for young-adults. Perhaps also in could provide a more wholesome alternative to the fairy tales that present an ambiguous picture of magic as something which can be used for good. I just prefer my medieval stories with a little more substance.
  3. 3 Stars Out Of 5
    Engaging, but Creepy...
    July 23, 2014
    Quality: 4
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 3
    Being a healer's apprentice affords Rose many benefits. She reads Latin, writes stories, knows how to use herbs to heal, and earns an income that allows her to avoid marriage to a bachelor of her mother's choosing. Rose's problem is that blood makes her squeamish. When she must treat Lord Hamlin, the future duke, it isn't just the blood that makes her unsettled. His handsome features and personal integrity draw Rose's interest, in spite of his high social status and well-known betrothal. Lord Hamlin is committed to fulfilling his duty. Rose is committed to becoming a capable healer. Despite their friendship and attraction, Rose and Lord Hamlin must each learn to walk their own path and follow the One whose plans are greater than their own. Read more in The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson.

    The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson is based loosely on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. The story moved very fast in the beginning and right at the end, but for the majority of the time it was well-paced with intriguing characters and an engrossing story that felt original in spite of its fairy tale basis.

    The Healer's Apprentice is marketed as Young Adult reading and had definite YA overtones that were mixed with Middle Age Catholicism. I was creeped out by the strange pagan rituals and demonic possession scene. Had I known those were in the book, I wouldn't have read it. Given its Sleepy Beauty basis, I suppose this shouldn't have been as surprising to me as it was. With an obvious Catholic/Christian perspective, the name of Jesus prevails over the demons. However, for me, that didn't negate the disturbing scenes. Had that part of the fairy tale been creatively changed somehow, I probably would have given this book a five star rating. The creepiness factor brings it down to three. The Healer's Apprentice is well-written and engaging, but I wouldn't read it again or recommend it to any of my friends.
  4. Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    I LOVE this book!
    July 2, 2014
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I have to admit that I only read this book because my 10 year old son (who is now 11) told me that I had to read "The Captive Maiden".

    Now you're wondering why_

    Once upon a time, I signed up to win a copy of Melanie Dickerson's "The Captive Maiden" and I won. I was surprised because I don't usually win when I sign up for giveaways. I do it to show support for the author.

    But apparently God meant for me to read this series!

    I was not impressed when I started reading the book. The cruelty was almost too much for me and I stopped reading. Then my son picked up the book, looked at the cover and read the back. After that, he demanded that I read it. This was such a rare occurrence (usually he ignores the books I buy or teases me about it) that I knew I had to give it a try.

    And again, it must have been God's leading.

    These books are the absolute BEST versions I've ever seen of what are typically know of as "classic" fairy tales!

    I've read reviews that complain about the strong themes in these books and I've read reviews that say they wish more from the original tales had been incorporated. And I am here to tell you that, in my opinion, they are wrong.

    Melanie Dickerson deals with hard-core themes, yes. But she does it in a way that is honest and realistic while maintaining, what some may feel are ridiculously, high standards of modesty and decency - but I find refreshing in a world of bared bodies and brutish language. Our children need to be aware of these things and how to deal with them, especially since they are very much a part of the world we live in today. As much as I would like to shelter them from everything bad or wrong in the world, they have to know that evil exists and they have to know how to confront it!

    I feel that Melanie Dickerson presents these harsh issues with grace and discretion.

    And as for having more from the original tales, I think it is amazing how well Melanie weaves the pieces of the classic fairy tales through her own stories - using them to help tell the story and reveal the hidden truths slowly throughout.

    "The Healer's Apprentice" is a masterpiece of reality blended flawlessly with fairy tale!

    Melanie Dickerson's characters are simply astonishing - well written, colorful and embodying the very same values and flaws of the heroes and villains that inspired them. And, as much as I would love to say that she always paints the bad guys as bad - it would not be true to life if that were the case.

    Evil is deceptive and tricky and it is not always easy to see it for what it really is.

    The plot is so well-conceived, it is difficult to believe this is the first book she wrote after fifteen years of not writing. It flows beautifully and there is absolutely nothing I can think that would add to it.


    And now I have three more books to look forward to - "The Merchant's Daughter" and "The Fairest Beauty" right now and "The Princess Spy" releases soon!

  5. Neosho, MO
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Not for younger girls
    January 5, 2014
    Neosho, MO
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 3
    Based on the overwhelmingly positive reviews, I bought this entire series for my 12 year old daughter for Christmas. Unfortunately she can't read them as they are not appropriate for younger girls. I guess because we homeschool, my children have maintained their innocence longer than other children because insinuations of rape and/or premarital sex do not figure into their worldview. I also did not realize that it is romance -ugh! I want my daughter to focus on the Lord not some 'Prince Charming'. I have tried to read the book to check for its appropriateness but just can't get past the contrived storyline and trite characters. So sorry I wasted money on this Christmas present which my daughter cannot enjoy.
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Author/Artist Review

Author: Melanie Dickerson
Located in: Huntsville, Alabama
Submitted: July 15, 2010

    Tell us a little about yourself.  I grew up in a rural area of "Lower Alabama" about 30 miles from Harper Lee. We shared a last name and a burning desire to write a book! After writing my first two novels while still in high school, I took a long hiatus from writing and earned my bachelors degree in special education from the University of Alabama. God gave my dream of writing novels back to me after I got married and had two children, and I'm thankful he did.

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  I feel about this book the same way Velvet feels about the Pi in the classic movie National Velvet. I want it to win the Grand National, so to speak, to inspire others and bless people's lives. If it is able to do that, then the glory belongs to God, since this whole story was so much like a gift. The whole thing seemed to just fall into place gradually, as I went along. Like manna from heaven!

    How were you personally impacted by working on this project?  Writing for me is kind of like prayer; it's very healing and therapeutic. The Healer's Apprentice helped me strengthen my belief that God really does have a beautiful plan for each person, and sometimes I just need to trust him to work out the details. I need to trust that God loves me and can make good things come from even the bad things in my life, which is what happens with Rose. She had to let go of her own will and let God work out his perfect plan. God sees and knows everything, things we can't begin to know about. He knows how it's all going to work out, and he wants us to believe that and trust him.

    Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists?  A writer is inspired and influenced by so many things, even in the course of writing just one story. I was inspired by the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, particularly the more modern versions of the story. I was also inspired by my love of all things medieval and the German town of Hildesheim, where I spent my summer in 1992. The town dates back from the 1100's and the architecture is just breathtaking. If you see a picture of the Marktplatz, or town square, of Hildesheim, you'll be looking at my fictional town of Hagenheim.

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