Healer by Linda Windsor
Publisher: David C. Cook
Genre: Historical, Inspirational
Length: Full (351 pages)
Rating: LASR Best Book
Reviewed by Camellia
First of The Brides of Alba Trilogy
Brenna of Gowrys has grown up in hiding-hunted by the O'Byrne clan, who fear her mother's dying prophecy, and by her own kinsmen, who expect her to lead them against their oppressors. But Brenna is a gifted healer, not a witch or a warrior queen. So she lives alone in the wilderness with only her pet wolf for company. When she rescues a stranger badly wounded from an ambush, she believes he may be the answer to her deep loneliness. Healing him comes as easy as loving him. But can their love overcome years of bitterness and hatred?
Awe-inspiring and spellbinding, Healer is a celebration of love at its very best. Not only is earthly love pure and true but also spiritual love that passes all understanding guides and sustains Brenna of Gowrys, who is the hope of both Gowrys and Glenarden during the troubled times of sixth century Scotland.
The prophecy for Glenarden says that the seed of Gowrys will divide the mighty house of Glenarden and bring peace beyond all understanding of a wicked soul.
Brenna of Gowrys is the embodiment of love. Ealga, Brenna’s nurse and now her friend, companion, and mentor, brings Brenna back to the hallowed hills of Gododdin to fulfill her part in the prophecy. Now sixteen, Brenna is armed with a legacy of love, wisdom, academic and religious studies with the best teachers and has an unshakable faith in God the One Creator. After Ealga’s death, Brenna lives in hiding with the white wolf Faol.
Believing God’s grace is sufficient for all things sustains Brenna as the yearly hunt for her by the people of Glenarden sets events in motion for the prophecy to come to fruition.
Roan, heir to Glenarden, leads the hunt that his father, Tarlach, demands take place each year on the anniversary of the horrific massacre of the Gowrys that Ronan was forced to take part in at age Six. Nightmares still plague Ronan about that night and the scar on his cheek is a constant reminder. Trained and taught in an atmosphere of hate, bitterness, and never-ending need for revenge, Ronan knows nothing of love, forgiveness, or giving of oneself to be of service to others.
As Brenna and Ronan’s lives become entwined, the reader sees a subtle, sweet, solid love emerge that is tested to its limits as outside forces press in.
Secondary characters play mighty roles in the events that test family ties, religious beliefs, superstitions, and the powers of evil. When the bounty of nature is used for evil instead of for good, things spiral out of control, or so it seems.
Linda Windsor weaves together a tapestry of a tale that is filled with wonderful truths, sweet humor, remarkable faith, historical events, customs of the time, and a wealth of little things that make Healer seem so real. The imagery and the ties to some of the events in the story that relate to events in the Bible are intriguing and thought provoking.
Exquisitely crafted, Healer, the first of the trilogy of The Brides of Alba, is a treasure to keep on one’s bookshelf to be read more than once.