In the fourteenth century, opportunities for women are limited to the home. But spirited young Madlen finds her calling as assistant to the city's trusted midwife, Clara. Working alongside Clara, Madlen develops a surprisingly soothing technique and quickly becomes a talented healer.
After Clara's tragic death, Madlen alone rushes to assist the birth of a local nobleman's child. But rather than the joy of birth, Madlen walks into an accusation of murder and witchcraft because of her extraordinary gifts. Forced to flee her own town, she establishes a new identity in the home of her aunt. Yet even though it endangers her life, she cannot resist the urge to help the sick patients who seek out her miraculous treatment. When she meets handsome Johannes - an investigator hired by the Church to bring her to justice for sacrilegious acts - she becomes drawn to the very man that could destroy her.
Will Madlen's gifts bring about her downfall? Or can love and reason prevail in a time of fearful superstition?
©2015 Ellin Carsta. Translation © 2016 Terry Laster. (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
This was a good story but the background info was not in depth or consistent with the time.
I still enjoyed the story and plot.
Realtor mom of 6
captivating story! I kept gasping aloud at the end of each unexpected turn. I live in Germany and the depiction of the areas of accurate and of the people, outstanding. though the names aren't pronounced as Germans would pronounce, still an excellent novel
The story was fairly predictable. It is in the Victorian era when health care was limited, and was always delivered by men. Child birth, a "Women's Issue" or Bloodletting! Which do you choose? There is a bit of feminism..., and women helping women...great that era is gone.
Well, it's hard to say - I guess 3 stars all the way across probably sums it up. The narration - some characters were ok, others were off - the tone, inflection and presentation. But overall it was OK, although there really is no attempt at an accent and the story is set in Europe. I can't fault the narrator for reading what is written. The story - that the real conflict. The author wants us to believe that she is writing about a time way past, but the words and syntax are essentially modern. This isn't the first story I've read about the past and what is essentially women's oppression - husbands can do what they want, women aren't educated - can't read or write - and need to stay home, cook, clean, etc. They aren't allowed to pursue their dreams for education or careers - at least not professions - even if they do have to work to make ends meet. And "healers" are all evil spawns of the devil. No really new take on it - I pegged both antagonists pretty much right away. I almost stopped listening, but stuck with it. The book was OK and I think it was a decent listen, but go into it with the realization that you're not really going to get anything new or be blown away by the story.
14th-century healer Madlen learns her craft assisting local midwife Clara who is more mother than mentor to the young girl. In a time when the Church reigns supreme, Clara is tragically killed in an accident when accused of providing abortifacients. In her fear and grief, Madlen stops practicing until called to the bedside of a noblewoman in the middle of a miscarriage induced by her husband's brutal rape and beating. Madlen saves her life, only to be accused of killing the unborn child. She exposes the nobleman's despicable lies and behavior, but will that be the end of the matter? Will he find a way to exact revenge? Will Madlen be allowed to build a peaceful life and practice the healing arts in peace, or will she be running from the events of that horrible night forever?
The twists and turns of the plot kept the story interesting, however, the story was too religious for my taste. In addition, I was not impressed by the writing and found the dialogue to be stilted and awkward. Without giving away any spoilers, I thought the ending was highly unrealistic as well.
One bright spot was the performance by the actor selected for the audiobook version of the novel. I thought she did a wonderful job with the material she had to work with.
"The secret healer"
Badly written and researched, not at all convincing would not recommend this book to anyone.
"Brilliant story line."
I listened to the last ten chapters all in one go! I was fascinated. Couldn't wait to get to next chapter!
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