The Healer's Apprentice
In case you haven't figured it out yet, I love fairy tales - original fairy tales, retold fairy tales, contemporary fairy tales, I just love 'em! One of the reasons I decided to join the Once Upon a Time V challenge, and definitely a reason why I picked up this book. It also has the double-bonus of being historical fiction too! Um, double win!
The Healer's Apprentice is a new take on 'Sleeping Beauty' - the "cursed Princess" is hidden away somewhere, while her betrothed is searching for her would-be destroyer. But this is no ordinary 'Sleeping Beauty' story, dear readers! There's a twist: the Hero, seemingly a failure at finding the evil sorcerer threatening his future bride (whom he has never met, knowing only her name), meets a charming young lady - a peasant girl, the daughter of a woodcutter, working as an apprentice to the healer of his father's court. I think you can see where this is going ... Rose and Wilhelm are engaging main characters - their interactions and conversations are sweet and sincere. Rose knows her mind and is very well educated for a woman (let alone a woodcutter's daughter!) - something she's not afraid to demonstrate. She also reads the Bible, having a knowledge of Scripture that most men in the town do not. She is more careful about revealing this, but does take on Wilhelm in theological matters as their uneven, unexpected friendship develops. As a reader I loved her, she is a great leading lady: faithful, loyal, with a gentle heart and a passion for doing what she knows is right, Rose is admirable.
The true beauty of this story lays in the way it all plays out, so I'm going to try very hard not to divulge the twists and turns it takes. I will confess to having an inkling of a hunch somewhere around chapter 4, but I refused to give in and flip ahead to see if I was "right" or not. So very glad I refrained, because the development of the story was beautiful. Skipping ahead to the end would definitely not have given me any reading satisfaction. So if you pick this up: Read it straight through! Don't skip ahead! Your patience will be rewarded with a journey unlike any other. Definitely enjoyed this fairy tale retelling, and look forward to Melanie Dickerson's next novel The Merchant's Daughter (coming out in November), which is a retelling of "Beauty and the Beast"!
Book provided by my local library.