Accused of murdering a child under her care, Irish healer Rachel Dunne flees the ensuing scandal while vowing to never sit at another sickbed. She no longer trusts in her abilities—or God’s mercy. When a cholera epidemic sweeps through London, she feels compelled to nurse the dying daughter of the enigmatic physician she has come to love. James Edmunds, wearied by the deaths of too many patients, has his own doubts about God’s grace. Can they face their darkest fears? Or is it too late to learn that trust and love just might heal their hearts?
I love historical novels set in Great Britain. Not only do they remind me of ‘home’ but I get to learn about important events that made the country what it is. The Irish Healer is set during a cholera outbreak in London in 1832. It wasn’t the biggest outbreak of the deadly disease that the city experienced but, along with the other outbreaks, contributed to an overhaul of the city’s sanitary systems.
This novel grabbed me with its opening chapter. Who was Rachel? What had happened in Ireland to force her to leave her home? How had she obtained a position in a city she’d never visited? I had to read more, to learn the answers to these questions. I hadn’t read the above summary when I read the first chapter so I didn’t know the plot regarding James Edmunds and his daughter. That’s how good it was. As the novel progresses, we meet Doctor Edmunds’s staff, including kindly Mrs. Mainprice, loveable Joe, and the tragic Molly who provides a side plot of her own. We also meet other London characters such as the socialite widow, the pompous doctor, and the street waif Rachel helps. Cholera was seen as a poor person’s disease, and the wealthy used it as an excuse to stay away from those who needed the most assistance.
Although The Irish Healer does have the hoped-for happy ending, it is also an excellent portrayal of life in London during this difficult chapter of the city’s history. Nancy Herriman has captured the attitudes and culture of the various social classes as they are effected by the cholera. I hope her next work is as entertaining and informative as The Irish Healer.
Publisher: Worthy Publishing
Publication Date: 03 April 2012
Page Count: 320
I received my free copy of The Irish Healer from Worthy Publishing in exchange for an honest review.