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The Healer's Apprentice
Youth Specialty / 2010 / Paperback
$8.19 (CBD Price)
Save: $1.80 (18%)
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CBD Stock No: WW721437
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.
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 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
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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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