Sunday, August 15, 2010

Book Review: Healer by Linda Windsor

Healer: A Novel (The Brides of Alba Series)Healer, by Linda Windsor, author of the Fires of Gleannmara trilogy is the first volume in Windsor’s next series, The Brides of Alba.  Set in sixth-century Arthurian Scotland, Healer tells of the mysterious, beautiful and healing Brenna of Gowrys.  Orphaned as an infant, she was brought up in exile, as the enemy who murdered her parents surely wished to see her destroyed as well.  Cared for by a dear family nurse, a local hermit-like minister and a beloved pet wolf named Faol, she grew to be a woman of beauty, intelligence and of a strong Christian faith.  While still a fugitive in the woods, learning and practicing natural, God-given healing arts, she takes in a mortally wounded man and nurses him back to health.  His temporary secret identity is significant, and his presence in Brenna’s life begins a series of God-directed events that will change their lives as well as the lives of those within two contentious people groups.

*          *          *

I found Healer to be many things. It begins with adventure, continues with romance, grapples with family conflict, all the while infusing Christian spirituality through the entire tale.  My initial reaction to the predominance of Brenna’s faith was slightly ambivalent, as it was to be expected from this Christian publication.  But as the story continued, God’s presence became a more and more integral part of the plot.  It actually increased my interest, as the characters struggle with some of the very things that have been part of my Christian walk at various times.

Yes, this was a romance.  Yes, this was an adventurous Arthurian tale.  There was murder, conspiracy and betrayal.  But ultimately Healer was about spiritual warfare, forgiveness, and the healing qualities of having faith in Christ. 

While only 350 pages long, the book read like a long yet satisfying movie, with multiple arcs before the riveting concluding pages.  The romance, while passionate, was described in very chaste terms, not shying away from sexuality but respecting the private nature of intimate details.  The moments of action were exciting, but the descriptions of bloodshed were kept at a reasonable level.  The character development in particular was significant, as several characters’ natures changed dramatically over the course of the story.

Windsor's depth of research into the period was evident.  There is much mythology and legend surrounding the character of King Arthur, and Ms. Windsor has clearly done her homework to portray the most accurate depictions of this renowned icon.  She also includes Merlin, Guinevere and other Arthurian characters.  I've always been intrigued by the legend of Arthur, so I found the presence of these characters to be entertaining, but I also felt that I was receiving a new education regarding their Christian faiths. Linda even provides 20 pages of helpful notes in the back of the book, which include a glossary, an Arthurian character study, scripture reference guide and more.  This portion proved to be quite helpful and enriching for the reading experience.  I wish all authors of historical fiction would take the time and effort she has here.

I enjoyed Healer quite a bit, and I’m excited that it’s the first of three books in the Brides of Alba series.  The next title, Thief, will be published in the summer of 2011.  If it’s anything like its predecessor, it will be an enjoyable and edifying read.  Brenna’s relationship with God is captivating, and I was brought to thoughtful consideration of faith issues during the weekend that I read Healer.  While not a perfect person, Brenna is a Christian character whose life and Godly example are to be admired and learned from.  I look forward to spending more time with her in the future.

This title was provided by the B&B Media Group, Inc.  No obligation other than an honest review was required. 



  1. This sounds like a good read. I am not a big romance fan but this one sounds like it is ok.

  2. Hey Sheila! Thanks for the comment. This one is definitely a romance, but it's only a portion of the story, and it's not too syrupy. Much more family drama/spiritual warfare stuff for alot of the book. If you read it I'd love to read your review!


  3. This sounds like a great read. Something to read when Winter comes. Love the cover of this book, with the wolf.. ;)
    Great review, Laura!

  4. Nina:

    Yes, I agree! And I also love the cover art. Lots of Celtic-looking designs, which I enjoy.




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