9 May 2012

Review: The Irish Healer by Nancy Herriman

“My name is Rachel Dunne. I am not a murderer.”

It’s a compelling opening line. Rachel Dunne, a healer, has been forced to leave her Irish home and find employment in London after being shunned following an accusation that she was responsible for the death of an ill child. She is hiding her past and hiding her background in healing from her new employer, Dr James Edmunds, a widower who is struggling with his own medical calling. He is also father of Amelia, who is being raised by his sister-in-law because he felt responsible for his wife’s death after childbirth.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find that The Irish Healerlived up to its early promise. It was very well researched and (as far as I could tell) historically accurate in its handling of the 1832 cholera outbreak in London. But I found the story difficult to get into, because I found both Rachel and James hard characters to like, and because I thought their ‘romance’ seemed to develop too quickly. I know some people marry soon after meeting and still manage to have long and happy marriages, but these are the exception rather than the rule (otherwise there wouldn’t be the saying 'marry in haste, repent at leisure’).

There were a also number of areas where the actual writing felt clumsy (odd choice of vocabulary, use of adverbs, use of first person), or where characters seemed to know things that the reader knew but the characters were not supposed to know. The Irish Healerhad a gripping opening line, but unfortunately I didn't find the rest of the novel nearly so interesting. It wasn't bad; it simply failed to interest me. However, similar novels by Liz Curtis Higgs and Siri Mitchell (both of whom have won Christy Awards) also didn’t interest me, so who knows? This may be another award winner.

Thanks to Worthy and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

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