Book Review. The Healers Secret by Helen Pryke.

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All families have secrets. This family has a secret worse than most.

Jennifer’s life isn’t going as she planned. Fired from her job and on the brink of divorce, her only salvation lies at the bottom of a wine bottle. When her mother insists she get away from everything, she reluctantly agrees to explore her Italian roots in Tuscany.

Staying in her family’s centuries-old cottage, she becomes embroiled in a mysterious tragedy involving her great-grandmother. As she delves further into her ancestors’ history, she discovers there is more to her heritage than meets the eye.

Ghosts from the past could give Jennifer something she thought she’d never have: a future. But that depends on whether she can resist temptation and avoid slipping back into her old ways.

Will she be able to conquer her inner demons and discover the healer’s secret?

My Review

I’m a huge fan of any story that’s woven through generations, where the past influences the present. The thing that drives the narrative could be a family secret or a house with history and a personality of its own.

The Healers Secret introduces us to Jennifer, a modern woman who is escaping a miserable life in England to live in her maternal family house in Italy. Traditionally, the eldest daughter is the healer in the family, the house and its gardens provide all the ingredients for potions and treatments, as it has done for centuries past. Jennifers mother didn’t want to take the mantle, now the house is empty and unloved.

The house holds secrets, as we progress through this beautifully written tale, we find out why things are the way they are. The Innocenti family has had its share of scandal and intrigue over the years, the more Jennifer relaxes into her new life the more is revealed, by family members of all generations.

The setting is beautifully imagined, you can almost feel the Italian sun on your back as the house, garden, and the village of Gallicano come to life. Everything feels authentic, from the taxi driver to the structure of an extended Italian family.

The house and garden help Jennifer to heal and escape from her past, which involves dealing with some uncomfortable topics, these passages are powerful and sensitively done. They show us the transformation in Jennifer, as she comes to see where her future lies and the part that her past has played in it. She changes, from someone who wanted to leave to someone who wants to stay.

This is the first of a series, which is extremely good news.

All in all a very well written story of how a family deals with life and all that goes with it.

Four Stars. Recommended.

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