Sunday, November 6, 2011

Irish Healer: A Novel by Nancy Herriman

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ 
Obtained from: Netgalley
Read: Oct. 26, 2011 

Fiction in the ever-popular Historical/Romance genre -- during the deadly 1832 cholera epidemic in London, a heartsick Irish healer must find the strength to overcome her most fearsome obstacles. Accused of murdering a child under her care, Irish healer Rachel Dunne flees the ensuing scandal while vowing to never sit at another sickbed. She no longer trusts in her abilities—or God’s mercy. When a cholera epidemic sweeps through London, she feels compelled to nurse the dying daughter of the enigmatic physician she has come to love. James Edmunds, wearied by the deaths of too many patients, has his own doubts about God’s grace. Can they face their darkest fears? Or is it too late to learn that trust and love just might heal their hearts?

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I don’t often find books like this. The Irish Healer by Nancy Harrimann is a beautiful novel with a message that both secular and nonsecular readers can enjoy. The Irish Healer is inspired fiction and incorporate strong religious themes but I think the personal journeys of Harrimann's cast have wide appeal.

I love getting lost in a good book and one of the easiest ways for an author to make that happen is to create characters and situations a reader can relate to. At the beginning of Harrimann's story, James is struggling with the death of his wife and Rachel is questioning her value as a healer after losing a young patient. Self doubt is something everyone can understand and most of us have experienced the loss of a loved one. By incorporating these very common emotions Harrimann was able to craft two notably compelling and unique leading characters.

The story itself is simple but I think it works in Harrimann's favor. Nothing here seems overly contrived. James and Rachel are brought together in very realistic circumstances and bond in similar fashion. The authentic quality of the story is something I really appreciate. The comprehensive depiction of evolving affection is much more affecting than the more dramatic and less believable love at first sight scenario.

Historically not as strong as I would like but The Irish Healer is a heartwarming tale of personal trial and triumph. Recommended to fans of The Song of Acadia Series by Janet Oak and Davis Bunn. 

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He signaled for Rachel to join him. When she came to his side, he slid his arm around her waist and tucked her close. Her slim, small body fit perfectly, as if made to be a part of him.
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