The Irish Healer

Nancy Herriman, Author
Nancy Herriman. Worthy, $14.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1936034789
Reviewed on: 03/05/2012
Release date: 04/01/2012
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-61795-035-3
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Herriman, an award winner for unpublished fiction, debuts with a romance. In 1832, healer Rachel Dunne leaves Ireland seeking a fresh start in England after being acquitted of murdering a child who inexplicably died while in her care. Hiding her past, Rachel works as a library assistant to widowed James Edmunds, a doctor with secrets of his own. Both struggle with feelings of guilt and disappointment with God while trying to deny their growing attraction. Offering help and advice along the way are the doctor's godly housekeeper and Rachel's Christian cousin, who is kind despite the shame her family feels toward their Irish relative. A servant who uncovers Rachel's past, another woman with marriage designs on James, and a cholera epidemic, however, could combine to keep the couple from finding happiness together. Themes of forgiveness, judgment, friendship, trust, and even abortion are nicely handled without becoming preachy. A promising premise and strong descriptive passages, however, fail to balance clich├ęs ("gentle as the sigh of a breeze tickling a stand of reeds"), melodramatic sentence fragments ("A miracle whose name was James Edmunds."), and a slow-moving, predictable plot. (Apr.)
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