Hopefully, you have already read guest blogger, Nancy Herriman's "The Journey" in my other "Irish Healer" post. If you haven't, I encourage you to do so.
About the book: In 1832, Rachel Dunne is an Irish healer accused of the death of a child under her care. Acquitted but shunned, she flees to England searching for a new life. She vows to never sit at another bedside again...or trust in a God who abandoned her when she needed Him most.
London physician James Edmunds is wearied by his failures, especially his inability to save his wife, who died from childbed fever. He has decided to abandon his practice and lose himself in the running of his family’s small country estate. Until a red-haired Irish servant girl with a deep and mysterious strength makes him think about living again.
My thoughts: This story is set in 1830s London and involves the gentry class - professional Dr. James Edmunds, his widowed sister-in-law, and others along with the servant class. We see the main character, an Irish young lady who was a "healer" back in poverty stricken Ireland. The lovely Rachel Dunne has come from Ireland to London with the financial and emotional support of her cousin, Clarice - another member of the gentry.
Rachel must leave Ireland because shame and ruination has been brought on her family because one of the sick that she was nursing dies and Rachel has been accused of murder in the situation. Though a jury acquitted her of wrong doing, the rumors persist. She and her mother have lost their means of livelihood. Hence the move Rachel makes to London to seek employment.
Temporary work arrangements have been for Rachel with Dr. Edmunds through the good graces and recommendation of her cousin, Clarice. Rachel is not accepted readily amongst the servants but graciously holds on to her position by working hard and being kind to others.
The story moves along revealing the definite class distinction and bias of London in the 1830s. Nancy Herriman portrays these distinctions vividly through the actions and conversations of each of the characters. Though the household of Dr. Edmunds is busy with preparations for a move to the country, the city of London is plagued with a break out of cholera.
The scenes and conversations of the sick, the sick room, the odors, the sights are quite descriptive and your senses will feel the vivid descriptions very thoroughly. The filthy streets and back alleys of London are also vividly portrayed which helps to understand the rapid spread of disease during the time. Dr. Edmunds and his other physician friends practice medicine typical of that period with sweats, leeches, purges. However, Dr. Edmunds tends toward a more gentle practice. Rachel tries to keep her skills as a healer hidden because she fears her past being revealed and the consequences of such a revelation, nonetheless, her skills are needed from time to time and her secret does come out.
This is a gently told story of individuals with personal struggles of failure and fear of past and present. It is a story of disappointment and a story of love and the need to be loved. It is also a story of a bleak time in London's history when disease was rampant, filth and poverty abounded, and health care so inadequate. It is a story of triumph and of faith. It is a gently told story of rediscovering one's lost faith in God.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~GIVEAWAY: Nancy Herriman is offering a copy to one of Chat With Vera's readers. Begins August 10 ENDS August 24 Noon EDT- USA only. Email required for contacting winner (edit it as "myname at yahoo [dot][com]" )
- Mandatory entry: Read The Journey, guest blog article by Nancy Herriman at http://chatwithvera.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-journey-by-guest-blogger-nancy.html. Return here and leave a comment telling me how many books Nancy wrote before The Irish Healer was accepted and published. Leave your email so I can contact you if you are the winner.
- Extra entry/s: May be done DAILY! Tweet the review and/or The Journey blog post. Each Tweet is a separate entry. So you CAN do 2 tweets a day. 1 for The Journey and 1 for the giveaway/review. Separate comments must be left--leave the entry comments in the comments of this review post only. Use the Tweet button at the end of the post to Tweet & include the hashtags @Nancy_Herriman and #Giveaway. Each comment counts as an entry so leave a separate comment here for each which includes the Twitter URL for the Tweet (your email, too, please).
- Extra entry/s: Share both Nancy's "The Journey" link and this review link in separate Facebook posts. Each comment counts as an entry so leave a separate comment here for each which includes the Facebook URL for the post (your email, too, please).
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy of The Irish Healer by author, Nancy Herriman, in exchange for my honest review.