The Good Healer
During the Medieval Ages, bloodletting and witch-hunts held more power than medicine. Through this excellently written story of a man caring for patients more humanely, the author realistically transports readers back to those superstitious times.
Jean Duchesne was born in 1411 with a sixth finger. Today, the medical profession calls this hexadactyly, a common congenital malformation. At Jean’s birth, this was the devil’s mark. “’How dare you,’ yelled the outraged priest, still holding the baby in his arms. ‘ How dare you defend this creature, this bit of devil, you who hid the devil’s work from our poor innocent eyes?’” With that, the villagers expelled Jean and his parents from their village to face the harsh winter that was to change Jean’s life.
Realistic dialogue continuously draws readers into Jean’s life. Readers are there when his father gives the infant to the woman riding in a cart in the forest. “In her ear, he whispered while pointing high into the tree, “This up there. My child. You save, you save … he name Jean, Jean Duchesne. I love, you take care, you…’ Guillame gave his last breath, released his iron grip on the woman’s collar, and dropped his heavy arms into the snow.”
Fully developed characters come alive for the reader. Readers meet every person with whom Jean interacts, as if they were there with him through excellent writing that propels each character to life. The Inquisitor stuck fear throughout. Feeding on this fear, his greed ruled while eradicating the “witch confraternity.” Readers can feel the fear, as well as shudder at his harshness. “He would round up people, true members or not; the distinction was often ignored, for as the Inquisitor would say, ‘Some testimonies are worth considering, and others are not.’”
The author’s note at the conclusion explains the scant two liberties taken with the precise historical context, his faithfulness to history adding a compelling dimension.
|Page Count||160 pages|
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