The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson is described as a “realistic, fast-paced reimagining of the Sleeping Beauty fairytale….” Though there is a “true love’s kiss,” I wouldn’t describe the book as such – the parallel to Sleeping Beauty is such a miniscule portion of the book. However, it is a delightful (and clean) historical romance that both YA and adult readers will enjoy.
Set in the 14th century, Rose is the new apprentice of the healer Frau Geruscha at Hagenheim Castle, a wonderful and rare opportunity for someone of Rose’s class. Being the healer’s apprentice opens a new door for Rose as opposed to marrying a man of her parents’ choosing. While serving as apprentice, Lord Wilhelm Hamlin, the future duke, comes in after a hunting accident. Rose is the one who treats Lord Hamlin’s injury, and Rose begins to fall for the young and handsome lord. However, Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a young maiden in hiding from an evil conjurer who has threatened her for years – Rose can’t fall in love with Lord Hamlin. But unbeknownst to Rose, Lord Hamlin has feelings for her; yet, he tries to fight them in order to fulfill his responsibilities. Lord Hamlin tries to convince Rose, and himself, that his brother would be a good match for her in part because marrying Rupert would raise Rose’s social standing and ensure she will always be provided for. While Rupert attempts to woo Rose, she finds herself greatly conflicted.
The love story is inevitable, but there are many obstacles and setbacks for the young couple to be. There were parts in the book that seemed to be filler – such as the plot of Hildi and Gunther who just sort of disappear after a certain point. And then there’s the man that stalks Rose after she rejects his proposal – he accosts her three times. The second time he sprinkles powder on her head, but nothing happens – why tell us about the powder and the odd incantation he said if it doesn’t do anything? Maybe it was just meant to be a clue to the man’s identity, but I was a bit disappointed here.
Despite this, I absolutely adore Rose and her journey to discover who she is. I love her devotion to God, and even when she falters in judgement, she turns back to God for guidance. The entire story is a reminder that God is in control, that God knows what is best, and that the name of Jesus is powerful. Readers of Christian fiction as well as clean historical romance will enjoy this book.
Overall, I rate this book 3.5/5 stars. I plan to read more works by Melanie Dickerson in the future.
Order your copy of The Healer’s Apprentice here.