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The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson
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The Healer's Apprentice (edition 2010)

by Melanie Dickerson

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3203134,663 (3.64)5
Member:booksandwine
Title:The Healer's Apprentice
Authors:Melanie Dickerson
Info:Zondervan (2010), Paperback, 272 pages
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The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson

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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 I’m 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 Healer’s 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 everyone’s 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 clichéd 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 Wilhelm’s 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 Rose’s 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 clichés 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.
( )
  Medievalgirl | Oct 4, 2016 |
This book really is one of my favorites. I got it on my NookColor when it was free and I didn't think much of it but, from the very first sentence I was pulled into it. I frequently refer back to this book for inspiration and to just reread my favorite parts. I love this book! ( )
  Hve6610 | Oct 2, 2016 |
This was a great book clean and appropriate for a teen audience. Loved the setting and the characters ( )
  cool-mom-e | May 7, 2016 |
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.


Amazing!

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!


Exciting!
( )
  JCMorrows | Aug 25, 2015 |
I loved this book, which was kind of unexpected. It reminded me of Ella Enchanted, but a little more serious; I mean when you're dealing with assault, attempted rape, and demons, it's not really a light, humorous read. But somehow Dickerson pulled it off.

I figured out the twist about halfway through, and the ending was predictable of course, but it was still enjoyable. I loved that the Rose stays faithful in trusting and waiting on God. Such a great story.

I found the Q and A with Dickerson at the end interesting too. I think she did a much better job of retelling Sleeping Beauty, even though the story only had hints of the original, than Disney did. It stood alone well. ( )
  lyssa73 | Aug 2, 2014 |
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To Joe, Grace, and Faith.
—M. D.
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The townspeople of Hagenheim craned their necks as they peered down the cobblestone street, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Duke of Hagenheim’s two handsome sons.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0310721431, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:46 -0400)

In this story loosely based on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, seventeen-year-old Rose, a healer's apprentice, falls in love with the betrothed Lord Hamlin, who is seeking the sorcerer who cursed his future bride.

(summary from another edition)

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