13 Jun 2020

The Healing Tree by Deborah Kinnard Review

The Faith Box #2
April 20th 2013, 237 Pages, Desert Breeze Publishing 

 A young English merchant dreams of riches, but is shipwrecked on the Cornish coast.

Richard de Knowle meets the local healer, Ebrel of Perran. Though their respective ranks forbid their joining, feelings quickly develop. She already has a suitor not to her liking. The suitor becomes Richard’s enemy. The men clash with words, later with swords. When her unwanted swain is found dead, suspicion centers on the newcomer. Richard is tried for murder.

The gallows' crossbeam breaks, saving Richard. The villagers claim a miracle, but Richard must seek justice from the local lord. Though the miracle spared him, he must clear his name if he expects to ask for Ebrel’s hand in honor.

Custom and circumstance decree separation. Yet the wheel of fortune turns, offering Richard a life in Cornwall. If he dares take the chance, he can hope to make a life with Ebrel at his side.

 My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 The Healing Tree is very unusual for a historical Romance. In fact, I wouldn't really call it a Romance. I'd call it Historical Fiction with a romantic element. Contrary to what some synopsis say, its not set in the 12th century, various details in the book show its actually set in the mid 14th century.

Anyways, The Healing Tree was a great story about a young man finding love, discovering himself and deepening in his faith after washing up in Cornwall (quite literally: he's shipwrecked). There's some interesting messages about the transient nature of life, and the the way people are remembered by those left behind.

Like a Deb Kinnard's other Medieval novels, the research shows in this book. I suspect that she did more research for this series than her previous novel Seasons in the Mist.
So, there's some interesting details about the culture of Medieval Cornwall, and how it differed slightly from other parts of England, and that goes beyond just using certain Cornish terms and phrases.
There are also details about the structure of the day, morning mass and the chores or activities people typically performed afterwards. Its those little details about day to day life
that gives the reader a 'feel' for Medieval society, and the preoccupations and pressures of the people who lived then. Some Medieval novels come over as very modern and contrived, but this one just feels a lot more real.

I wasn't entirely convinced about Richard's attitude to the clergy at times, as there didn't always seem to be a logical reason for it. More an injection of modern Protestant ideas, but it did not stand out too much nor was it constant throughout the book.
The only other minor niggle I had was that the implication that one character had some kind of 'gift' of foresight, and had visions of he future/knew things about people beyond the normal. I've noted that in one other book by this author but again, it wasn't really a major aspect of this story.

Readers may wish to note that he speech is written in a sort of archaic style, which might make it a little slower to read for some, but that's quite common in Historical Fiction now. Sadly, this novel is also out of Print.
Hopefully, one day this series will be republished. Its certainly one of the better Medieval novels I've read. Not cheesy or cliched, and a nice break from the Fairy Tale type stories that are common. More solid historical.

I was sent a copy by the author after I requested it. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

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