- The blurb on the cover from Naseem Rakha
Summary from GoodReads:
According to folklore in the Smoky Mountains,“When you enter the world with your feet pawing the air before your eyes can see where to put them, it’s a strong sign you’ll lose your way from time to time.”
Right from the start, Layla Tompkin’s way forward is full of detours after her mother dies in breech birth, leaving only her and her devoted, sorrowful father, Ed. Then, at the age of five, Layla is rendered mute after a horrible accident. “God is leading Layla to speak in new tongues,” proclaims Pastor Simpson at the local serpent handling church. Soon after, Layla is found to possess the gift of healing and her reputation spreads. Even Doc Fredericks, the area’s skeptical physician, is forced to re-examine scientific tenets when Layla’s healing touch is the only treatment that brings relief to his son Brian, whose legs were blown off by a landmine in Vietnam. Doubt and the miraculous, loss and survival, hurt and forgiveness collide when a secret challenges what everyone holds true, leaving Layla, her family and the community profoundly changed in a story about what it means to be truly healed.
I love being surprised by a book. I picked up The Healer of Fox Hollow for one reason – the blurb on the front from Naseem Rakha. Once I read the description of the story I acknowledged there were a few more elements that appealed to me: the southern setting, the touch of “magic,” the idea of overcoming physical adversity.
I don’t even know where to begin in gushing over this absolute gem of a novel. Because from the first chapter, I was hooked. Completely and totally hooked. And the reason for that? Layla.
Every once in a while I come across a book where the author is in so deep, knows his/her character so well, that the character seems to become an extension of themselves. When this happens, that character blossoms and is lit up on the page. My imagination caught and burst into flame when I read Layla’s story – I couldn’t get her out of my mind. I had to know her more.
The Healer of Fox Hollow is the story of Layla’s life – from five years old when a devastating event happens which robs her of her speech through the twilight years of her life. It deals with horrifying issues such as abuse, abandonment, depression, and war but counters those with the gentleness of spirit within Layla and those close to her, the open love, forgiveness, and most of all, hope. I was moved to tears several times, I’m moved to tears writing this and remembering how intimate this picture was to read. There were moments I felt as if I not only knew Layla, but she knew me and I was able to take comfort away from what I was reading, tuck it away for those moments when my own life seems dark.
The Healer of Fox Hollow doesn’t have a flashy cover or a thrilling story that will have you turning pages as your heart pounds with excitement. But what it does offer is something precious, relevant, and beautiful to experience. I hope you’ll take the time to experience it as well.
About the Author
- Information regarding Joann Rose Leonard:
Wisconsin born JOANN ROSE LEONARD was Texas-raised and has chigger bite scars to prove it, theatre-trained and frostbitten at Northwestern University, and worked as an actress in New York. She studied mime in Paris with Marcel Marceau while dubbing films into English to earn her daily baguette; raised 9 kids (2 human, 7 goats) in State College PA, where she was founder and director of MetaStages, the youth theatre program at Penn State University, and, with her husband, Bob, a retired professor and theatre director, has relocated to CA to be nearer their sons, Jonathan (DJ Child, an award-winning music producer and founder of the multi-media company, Project Groundation) and Joshua (actor/filmmaker including The Lie, Higher Ground and The Blair Witch Project.) Joann is author of The Soup Has ManyEyes: From Shtetl to Chicago; One Family’s Journey Through History, “From Page to Stage,” a chapter in Holt Rinehart Winston’s Elements of Literature and two collections of multicultural plays, “All the World’s a Stage Volumes I & II” (Baker’s Plays). In her research for The Healer of Fox Hollow, Joann discovered that the truth the novel is based upon is infinitely stranger than the fiction she wrote.
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