The Healer / Sharon Sala. 2008
Sharon Sala (aka Dinah McCall) is a new-to-me author. I ran over to the library to pick up her latest book after seeing the very hilarious Author Talk interview with her, found here. The Healer is a wonderful story that I read in a day and thoroughly enjoyed.
The Healer is the story of Jonah Gray Wolf, a man with very unusual gifts: he can heal people's injuries and illnesses through touch and he can communicate with animals. His life is destroyed, however, when Jonah heals a man who believes that he can achieve immortality if Jonah is under his control. Jonah goes on the run and stays on the run for 10 years until he winds up in a small West Virginia town. This is where the main part of the book begins and here is where he meets Lucia Andahar, a woman who has experienced trauma of her own. At the time of their meeting, Lucia is being stalked and she is increasingly fearful due to the threatening notes the stalker keeps leaving her, as well as an attempt to kill her dog. She and Jonah are instantly attracted to one another and soon she's told Jonah of her stalker. When he finds and confronts the stalker, it brings media attention to their small town. This in turn brings the ones hunting Jonah into their midst. Jonah decides it's time to take a stand and stop running.
This is a very quick read. Ms. Sala tells an interesting story. Jonah's gift is a mystery--both to him as well as to us. Jonah is an orphan. Since he knows nothing of his parents he doesn't know how or why he came to have his gifts. It is an unusual way to weave in a touch of the paranormal. I think the author is telling us that some things simply cannot be explained. Another thing that's very quick is how fast Jonah and Lucia fall in love. Within 48 hours they know they were meant for one another. I usually question this in a book, but when the characters themselves acknowledge how strange it is to find themselves in love so quickly, it makes it a little easier to swallow. Since it ties into Jonah and his mysterious gifts, it works.
I thought the book had excellent pacing, well-drawn characters, and I could easily imagine the small town of Little Top, WV, where most of the book takes place. Jonah and Lucia's relationship was believable as was the way people reacted to Jonah when they discovered what he could do. I definitely recommend this book and I'll be looking for more Sharon Sala/Dinah McCall books.