The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson is an inspirational fiction fairy tale retelling set in the middle ages.
a woodcutter's daughter, is fortunate enough to have been apprenticed
to the town healer, meaning that she won't be forced to marry just to
secure her station in life. When she catches the eye of the duke's sons,
her life starts to get extremely complicated. Wilhelm, the older son,
is betrothed to a woman he has never met, and has spent years hunting
the sorcerer who threatens her safety -- but he can't deny his feelings
for Rose. Rupert, the younger son, romances Rose with flowers and
jewelry and sweet words, but his love for wealth means that he will need
to either marry a rich woman, or take a lucrative position in the
church. Will Rose find happiness with either of the two?
this up because I read a favorable review of one of the author's other
inspirational fairy tale retellings, and I decided to start with this
one because it was the first. The story, very loosely based on Sleeping
Beauty, is pleasant enough, and the author ably incorporates her
research on life in the middle ages into the book. There are
occasionally places where the characters do or say something that seems a
bit modern for their time, but those instances are the exception rather
than the rule. My main issue with the book was that I found the plot
entirely predictable, and not in a good fairy-tale-retelling way.
There's a twist at the end, and I saw it coming from a few chapters in.
Even the characters saw it coming, but dismissed it for one reason or
another. It seemed entirely too obvious, so I kept reading, thinking
that perhaps the author would twist it a different way at the last
moment and surprise me . . . but she didn't. Also, the main character
has a dog named Wolfie, and for some inexplicable reason, that minor
detail irked me all the way through. Wolfie. I just can't. (I do give
the author credit for not hurting the dog, though -- I always read books
where the main character has a close animal companion with a looming
sense of dread!) All in all, I think this is the sort of book that I
would have enjoyed as a teen, back when I was less picky and read a lot
more inspirational fiction. As it was, I found it just okay, and
wouldn't recommend it unless the mashup of inspirational fiction and
fairy tale really, really appeals to you.
(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)