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The Healer by Sharon Sala
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The Healer (2008)

by Sharon Sala

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The Healer is a combination romantic suspense and light paranormal romance. I call it “light,” because there are no supernatural creatures like vampires or werewolves, no witches or wizards, no fantasy worlds, or anything else that would make it wholly paranormal. All the characters are human, although the hero’s origins are admittedly unknown. He possesses a tremendous gift for healing any living thing, human or animal. He can also communicate with animals and can emit a type of psychic pulse that can temporarily control another person and make them do things they don’t necessarily want to do, but he only uses this part of his power in self-defense. Finally, he can track via scent much like a canine and also has a sixth sense about when things are going to happen or when a certain person is nearby. While the hero’s powers are fairly extensive, he inhabits a world that is of the contemporary small-town variety with lots of suspense. The heroine has a stalker who has every intention of raping and killing her, while the hero is on the run from a major baddie who wants the hero’s power for his own gain. So there’s plenty going on to keep the story moving at a fairly fast pace that kept me engaged throughout.

As a toddler, Jonah was walked into the small town of Snow Valley, Alaska by a female wolf. No one knew where he came from or how he came to be with the wolves, but he has an obvious connection with them. When no parents or relatives could be found, the local doctor adopted and raised him. Even as a child, Jonah exhibited the ability to heal animals. After Jonah was grown but still a very young man, Major Bourdain, a millionaire, came to town on a hunting trip and was attacked by a grizzly. Jonah’s father was away delivering a baby, so Bourdain’s friend came to get Jonah, who healed him. It became the only time in his life that he regretted healing someone, because once Bourdain realized what had happened, he decided that he had to control Jonah’s power for his own financial gain and so that he could live forever. He sent hunters after Jonah who ended up murdering his father, and Jonah has been on the run from him ever since. For the past ten years, it’s been a lonely, solitary existence, always trying to stay one step ahead of the men Bourdain sent after him, until he ends up in the small town of Little Top, West Virginia, where he meets and falls in love with Lucia, the heroine. Then he realizes that the running has to stop, so he decides to make a stand.

I loved Jonah. I’m a huge fan of Native American heroes, especially those with long hair, and that’s certainly Jonah. He’s also another one of my favorite hero types, the gentle giant. He’s a big man, but so very kind and gentle, particularly with women, children and animals. He’s no pushover, though. When he’s angry, his powers can make him a very dangerous man to be around for the person who riles him up. I also love the fact that he can communicate with animals. Even the most ferocious beasts turn into pussycats around him. Not to mention his incredible healing abilities, which has always been one of my favorite “superpowers.” Oh yeah, and a man who can give a woman the Big O just by touching her? Yes, please! ;-) Jonah, quite simply, hit many of my favorite tropes, which is also going to put him high on my list of favorite romance heroes. The only thing about Jonah that made me go, hmmm…, is that he has this deep connection with the animals and even tried to protect a tiny field mouse from being eaten by predatory birds, but he himself eats meat, which seemed a little strange and at odds with his abilities, but this isn’t explained.

Lucia was the sole survivor of a car accident that claimed the lives of the rest of her family when she was only a teenager. After that she went to live with an aunt and uncle, but when she couldn’t deal with the uncle’s unwanted advanced any longer, she ran away. Eventually she settled in Little Top, where she works as a waitress at the local diner and lives in a rustic mountain cabin owned by an elderly lady. Lately she seems to have picked up a stalker who has been leaving notes for her. At first, they were merely a little creepy, so the local sheriff refused to do anything about it, but they’ve gradually gotten more threatening over time. After Lucia’s dog, Hobo, was caught in a trap that she suspected was set by the stalker, she ran to the gas station looking for help. Jonah had just arrived in town and offered to come with her. By the time he got Hobo out of the trap, the dog was pretty badly injured, so Jonah healed him, leaving Lucia stunned by what she witnessed. However, she can’t help feeling a connection with the man and a sense that he can be trusted, so when she finds out he has no place to go, she offers him the spare room in her cabin and sets him up working as a handyman for her elderly landlady. Not to mention, she figures that having a man close by might dissuade her stalker from coming around anymore.

I really liked Lucia. She’s a strong Latina woman, who is very open-minded and accepting of Jonah for what he is. She’s impressed and in constant awe of his power, rather than being afraid of it. Her landlady, Bridie, thinks of her as a daughter, and pretty much everyone in town likes her and knows she’s a hard worker. Luce is just an all-around likable heroine, so the only small issue I had was that I felt like her characterization could have been a little more developed. I thought perhaps her past and her feelings surrounding that could have been brought out a bit more, but at the same time, I recognize that this was primarily Jonah’s story and between that and everything else going on, there wasn’t a lot of extra room. So in the end, I wasn’t too perturbed by this.

Overall, I very much enjoyed The Healer. It’s a unique story that really drew me in and definitely kept me reading. I waffled a bit on my rating between giving it 4.5 stars and the full five, but went with 4.5. Aside from Lucia’s weaker characterization there were a few other minor things that bothered me just enough to drop the half-star. Jonah and Lucia fall in love very quickly, within only a couple of days, which kind of pushes the bounds of credibility a bit. But the two things that helped to mitigate this some is the paranormal element which implies that they are somehow soul mates and also the author is very good at expressing the deep emotional connection between these characters. One other thing that I wasn’t overly fond of is that the author engages in head-hopping narration. Especially in scenes involving multiple characters, she may change the POV every paragraph or two. I was still able to keep up with it, but I couldn’t help wondering what it might have been like to get that deep POV that’s only afforded by staying in one character’s perspective for an entire scene. Lastly, I did pick up on a tiny bit of repetition, but it wasn’t too bad. Although together, these things were enough for me knock off the half-star, they didn’t really detract much from my overall enjoyment of the book. It was my first read by the prolific Sharon Sala, but it definitely won’t be my last. I look forward to exploring more of her backlist soon. ( )
  mom2lnb | Jul 25, 2017 |
I enjoyed it enough to seek out other books of hers. I would have liked to have learned the who, what, when and how of the healer but nether the less still a very good read. ( )
  whybehave2002 | Feb 4, 2015 |
I was hooked from the first page, well from the author's dedication to her grandmother.

I really enjoyed this book. There is a wonderful love story, action and more than one mystery. I even love the cover. I really loved the Hero and Heroine. The side characters are well developed and come to life as well, some more than others.

Luce and Jonah are two of the strongest and loneliest H/h couple I’ve read about in a while. To watch them find love with each other and make themselves vulnerable enough to fight for that love was delightful. I appreciate it when the main characters don’t fight their attraction or each other, but instead recognize what a precious gift love is and hold on with both hands.

There is more than one mystery in this story and they were done in such a way that, for once, I didn’t figure it out until just before the answer was revealed. That was fun. I picked more than one person to be the “stalker” and was really impressed with how well it was hidden. I didn’t see that one coming, but keep trying to figure out the clues.

The second mystery is who is after Jonah this time. I seriously didn’t figure that one out until it was obvious. It was a good twist to the usual. I can’t say much more without spoiling it.

This is definitely one I will re-read. I recommend this for anyone who likes romance and/or mystery.

ETA: More detailed review. ( )
  Tala2cubs | Sep 3, 2014 |
I normally love Sharon Sala's books, but this one wasn't nearly as good as some of the other ones I've read that she has authored. I wasn't expecting a great piece of literature, but I was expecting something more than the hokey story that I got. The characters were so two-dimensional that it was painful to read; the only reason I gave this two stars instead of one was that the premise, though poorly executed, was original. ( )
  schatzi | Oct 17, 2009 |
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The rangy gray she-wolf, still thin from the passing winter, paused at the edge of the tree line above the valley.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 077832544X, Mass Market Paperback)

It is a gift that may cost him everything

All his life, Jonah Gray Wolf has had an uncanny connection to animals and the power to heal the sick and wounded. Driven from the only home he's ever known by those who wish to harness his gift for profit, he becomes a drifter, working in out-of-the-way towns, never staying long. It's a lonely life, but Jonah knows he's still being hunted—he can't afford to get close to anyone who might learn his secret.

In West Virginia he finds Luce, a tough but beautiful loner who knows all about keeping people at a distance—a kindred soul with whom he might dare to make a life. But the hunters have caught Jonah's scent again. Danger is coming to their mountain refuge—a confrontation that will be decided only by a force of nature.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:06 -0400)

Driven from his home and hunted by those who want to use his mysterious connection to animals and ability to heal for profit, Jonah Gray Wolf makes his way to West Virginia, where he encounters Luce, a beautiful loner with whom he forms a connection, but danger is approaching their mountain refuge as those hunting him continue their pursuit.… (more)

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