Healer (Book 1 The Brides of Alba) by Linda Windsor June 2010, Published by David C. Cook
I absolutely loved this book.
Linda Windsor has just become one of those auto-buy authors for me. That means I’ll buy her books just because she’s the author regardless of the story line, because I know I’m going to be highly entertained with her stories. That’s the impression I got from reading Healer. Although she’s multi-published, Healer is the first time I’ve been exposed to Linda’s writing. It certainly won’t be the last.
In Healer, Linda has seamlessly woven historical fact and fiction together with fantasy to create an unforgettable story. The heroine’s gift of vision reminded me of my grandmother. To some, the gift of visions is unnatural or ungodly, but I believe God grants miracles and visions to aid His children today just as he did 2000 years ago and earlier. And yes, even in the 6th century. My grandmother experienced visions when a loved one was in danger so I’m very comfortable with this scenario. I also believe in the healing power of herbs and would rather take a herb than a capsule of modern medicine. I was thoroughly at ease with these 2 aspects of the story.
Healer is set in 6th century Scotland in the days of King Arthur and Merlin. It’s the classic theme of good vs evil in a highly entertaining scenario.
Brenna of Gowrys is a hunted woman. She lives in a cave far from anyone – not because she’s done wrong – but because a madman has sworn to kill the progeny of the woman who scorned him. Alone, save for the occasional visit by a priest, Brenna has learned to survive by her own skills. Trained as a healer, first by mother, then by her nurse, she has an intimate knowledge of the properties of plants.
Brenna is a follower of Christ and gives Him all the glory for her visions, which include tingling and warnings of impending danger. She has no hope of a normal life as long as the madman and his sons live. Part of the problem is because she never gets out in public to meet someone, and part is because she knows no one will want to live the rest of their days with her and her wolf in a cave.
Then one day, Brenna sees a man being attacked. Before she can stop him, her wolf charges into the melee and chases away the attacker. Arrow wounds have almost ended the man’s life. Brenna drags him back to her cave by his cloak and proceeds to use her herbs to heal him. She doesn’t know who he is, but he’s hurt and needs care so she gives it.
As a child, Ronan O’Byrne witnessed his father’s madness. Now an adult, the images are a constant reminder of Ronan’s lost childhood. He’s sick of the hunts for the missing woman but as the heir to the O’Byrne kingdom, doesn’t know how to stop his father.
Ronan doesn’t remember the attack. He wakes in a cave tended by a young woman who’s the exact likeness of his childhood nightmares – the woman murdered by his father. He’d finally found the daughter yet he is too weak to do anything but watch her minister to him. His main concern is if she’ll continue her treatment when she finds out who he is. But does she really need to know?
Healer is a romance with the same problems young people face today when it comes to in-laws and conventions. Brenna loves God and Ronan doesn’t know Him. Her people starve while his have plenty. How will they ever overcome these challenges? And how will Brenna survive the loneliness once Ronan goes back to his people?
Read an excerpt.