Title: The Healing
Author: Jonathan O'Dell
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Random House Audio
Edition: audiobook and eGalleyReader: Adenrele Ojo - excellent job
Source: Library and NetGalley
Date Completed: July/2012
Rating: 4.5/5Recommend: yes
What did I think about "The Healing", by Jonathan O'Dell?
What a great story! -- strong memorable characters, beautiful writing and rich in period detail.
The story begins in 1933 with an old woman named Granada (called Gran-Gran in her later years) thinking back on her childhood when she lived on a plantation back in the mid-1800s. She was born to a slave woman, and was taken from her mother as a newborn by the Satterfield plantation mistress, Amanda after the couple had lost their own baby to cholera. The mental state of the mistress had changed after the death of her own child, and she became somewhat of a laughing stock to those around her. She dressed Granada in the fancy clothes of her dead child and showed her off to visitors by parading her around in the same way she handled her pet monkey, Daniel Webster.
When Granada was about 12 years-old, a woman by the name of Polly Schine joined the Satterfields after a plague has taken the lives of many of the plantation's slaves. Part Indian and part Black, Polly is a mystical woman who is not only a midwife but believed to have the power to "heal" as well. Mr. Satterfield acquired her from the same slave owner as Granada, and pays $5,000 for Polly, hoping that her "healing" powers will help the family fend off further loss of life.
For the previous 12 years prior to Polly's arrival, Granada had been sheltered and becomes a bit of a snob as a result of her mistresses ways. Polly sees something special in Granada and believes she has special healing powers as well, and she wants to teach her not only about healing, but also about freedom, and having and using the power within ourselves in a way that will help others. Understandably, Granada was torn between remaining at the big house where she had been comfortable and going off with Polly to the hospital which is being built on the plantation.
Polly Shine was an amazing character -- powerful, caring, respected by some and feared by others. Her relationship with Granada developed into something special. Although the story wasn't perfect (the ending seemed a bit rushed), it was one of those books where the characters remain vivid even several weeks after finishing the book. It's a beautiful example of individuals rising above their difficult circumstances and "healing" despite what they may have endured. I was totally captivated by this beautiful story. The audio version is terrific -- such a wonderful reader.