Rose is a woodcutter’s daughter in 14th century Germany. Social classes have distinct divisions and expectations, but Rose has been pulled from the lowly life she experienced as a child. She’s been appointed as the apprentice to the town healer, Frau Geruscha, which means she lives on the castle grounds with a hands-on education. She struggles to conquer her uneasiness around blood and to focus on learning the healing arts instead of letting her mind wander to thoughts of Lord Hamlin, the future duke. But her mind and heart refuse to follow her orders. Every encounter with Lord Hamlin increases her respect and affection.
Rose and her friend Hildy dare to dream that Lord Hamlin might return some of Rose’s feelings. But he’s betrothed to the mysterious daughter of another duke, and has been in hiding for years. She can’t come forward to marry Lord Hamlin until he finds and destroys the evil sorcerer who cursed her.
The Healer’s Apprentice is what’s called a fairy tale retelling, because it’s loosely based on the story of Sleeping Beauty. But Dickerson weaves in enough other elements and supporting characters to keep things interesting instead of by-the-book predictable. Yes, some readers might connect the pieces before they all come together in the story, but that shouldn’t spoil the fun. The Healer’s Apprentice was a fun read for me, and I’ve heard that teenage girls especially loved it.
Look for it in your local bookstore or download the ebook version online. Then visit Melanie Dickerson’s website to learn about her other projects, including her next book The Merchant’s Daughter. It’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and will be available in November. I’m looking forward to reading it, too!