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

In this book by author Melanie Dickerson, the story of Sleeping Beauty is retold through the life of Rose, the young daughter of a woodcutter, who has fallen in love with the perfect man for her, only to be kept away from him due to a curse.

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.

ChristianBookPreviews.com

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, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com

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) -- 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 -- 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

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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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