Good morning Bookaholics. I may not have been with you for a few weeks but I was holding off to bring you my review of a newly published book. I am sure you will agree it was worth the wait.
I am struggling to know where to start to review this book because there is so much I want to say, each part of which deserves to be first. Therefore I will start by saying congratulations to this debut author for a work of fiction which has truly blown me away. I read a lot and yet it is rare that a book moves me so deeply or makes me think so deeply. The Healing has done just that.
Margetts is a skilled writer with a true gift for words - that is apparent on every page of this, her first, novel. She uses words to good effect to draw the reader in and guide them through the highs and lows of emotions. The premise of the story is that in the year 1231 a nobleman, Philip de Braose is grievously injured and is rescued from certain death by Brother Hywel a Cistercian Monk. We see Philip as he starts to heal from his wounds and yet it is obvious he also requires both emotional and mental healing, not so easily obtained. The readers joins Philip and Hywel as they journey from France back to Wales and the monastery in which Hywel is based.
The characterisation is outstanding. Margetts draws them to perfection and pulls the readers inside their heads. Philip is a broken man but the author handles this with gentleness and deftness allowing us to see the swings in his mood and yet keeping the character relatable and likeable. As the book progresses she gently teases out different aspects of his character allowing the reader to immerse themselves in his journey to restoration and transformation. Brother Hywel, a gentle and compassionate man, brings peace, not only to Philip but to the reader. The book soothes and comforts as it is read.
Equally well written is the setting. From the monasteries of France to the inns and monasteries of Wales, I felt like I was in the midst of the events. I could picture everything perfectly right down to the steeds which the men rode. I was right there living the story alongside the characters - saying prayers with the monks and walking with them as they carried out their chores.
This is an obviously Christian, faith driven book and yet this did not overwhelm. It is skilfully weaved throughout and is an integral part of the story. Bible passages are used at the end of each chapter and these support the narrative beautifully. God is at the heart of it, as one would expect, but the story is one of transformation and redemption. It had me soaring to the skies one minute and crying the next. I was not expecting the ending at all. This book plays a beautiful melody with the heartstrings and leaves the reader pondering on its meaning and message long after the book is finished. It will help any reader on their own journey of healing.
Whilst this is a book I could have read in one sitting, I did not do so. Whilst it begged me to keep reading I wanted to slow the pace and take my time to embrace the central message and enjoy the writing. The story came from a place of reflecting Margett's own journey of healing and I wanted to give it the time and space it deserved to be read properly. I am glad I did.
Would I recommend this book - one hundred percent. I consider it to be one of the greats and it deserves a wide readership. Well done to the author. I hope she writes another book and I will be one of the first to buy it. If you would like to buy a copy you can do so via the links below.
You can also buy signed copies direct from the author via her website
And of course you can buy copies from your local Christian Bookshops if they are open. You can order it from them if they don't have it on the shelf.
That's it for another week Bookaholics. Expect more soon. I've another cracking book for you so don't miss out. Until then, keep reading and writing, my Bookaholic friends.
I was given a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair review. At no point was I asked to write a positive review and the review is unbiased and based on my reading and enjoyment of the book. The links above are affiliate links and if you use them I will receive a small renumeration from Amazon.