The pre-Civil War South comes brilliantly to life in this masterfully written novel about a mysterious and charismatic healer readers won’t soon forget
Mississippi plantation mistress Amanda Satterfield loses her daughter to cholera after her husband refuses to treat her for what he considers to be a “slave disease.” Insane with grief, Amanda takes a newborn slave child as her own and names her Granada, much to the outrage of her husband and the amusement of their white neighbors. Troubled by his wife’s disturbing mental state and concerned about a mysterious plague sweeping through his slave population, Master Satterfield purchases Polly Shine, a slave reputed to be a healer. But Polly’s sharp tongue and troubling predictions cause unrest across the plantation. Complicating matters further, Polly recognizes “the gift” in Granada, the mistress’s pet, and a domestic battle of wills ensues.
Seventy-five years later, Granada, now known as Gran Gran, is still living on the plantation and must revive the buried memories of her past in order to heal a young girl abandoned to her care. Together they learn the power of story to heal the body, the spirit and the soul.
Rich in mood and atmosphere, The Healing is the kind of novel readers can’t put down—and can’t wait to recommend once they’ve finished.
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"A remarkable rite-of-passage novel with an unforgettable character ... The Healing transcends any clichés of the genre with its captivating, at times almost lyrical, prose; its firm grasp of history; vivid scenes; and vital, fully realized people, particularly the slaves with their many shades of color and modes of survival."
—The Associated Press
“A storytelling tour de force.”
"Compelling, tragic, comic, tender and mystical ... This is a beautiful book, well crafted and textured. It combines the historical significance of Kathryn Stockett's The Help with the wisdom of Toni Morrison's Beloved."
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Odell has written one of those beautiful Southern tales with unforgettable characters. Required reading."
—New York Post
"A gripping, beautiful, and moving tale ... Add it to your summer reading list — you'll be glad that you did."
"A real page turner."
"Engrossing ... Bound to be compared to Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling The Help, this historical novel probes complex issues of freedom and slavery."
—Library Journal, starred review
"A terrific novel that will take its place in the distinguished pantheon of Southern fiction. Like The Help, that showstopping work by Kathryn Stockett, The Healing is another Mississippi-born work of art and Odell's Polly Shine is a character for the ages."
—Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides and South of Broad
"Jonathan Odell won me over with his fresh take on an 1860's Mississippi plantation, and the connective power of story to heal body, mind and community. Long after closing the novel's final pages, I'm still marveling about Polly Shine, an inventively subversive slave healer, and a character I won't soon forget."
—Lalita Tademy, author of Cane River, an Oprah's Book Club selection, and Red River
"When the young slave Granada Satterfield reluctantly undertakes a quest to recover her own identity, she finds that she must begin by seeking the answers to two questions: Who are my people and what are their stories? Jonathan Odell's compelling new novel The Healing is a lyrical parable, rich with historical detail and unflinching in the face of disturbing facts."
—Valerie Martin, author of the Orange Prize winning novel Property
"Jonathan Odell gives voice to strong women at a time in history when their strength might have been their undoing. When Polly Shine's fierce knowledge comes up against Granada's stubborn resistance, the reader is held captive as the two attempt to resolve their conflict and Granada is made to face her destiny. This moving story is a must-read for fans of historical fiction."
—Kathleen Grissom, author of The Kitchen House
"The Healing is a moving cri de coeur for all those who yearn to be free, and for the wise women among us who understand that to subjugate one person is to subjugate all of humanity."
—Robin Oliveira, author of My Name if Mary Sutter
"Odell stirs lyricism and sentiment into a well-researched epic of slavery and emancipation that will endear itself to the spirituality inclined."
"Bringing exciting verisimilitude to an overworked genre, this Southern saga from Odell is rich in character and incident."
"The pre-Civil War South is beautifully rendered in Jonathan Odell's The Healing, its sure sense of time and place enhanced by believably drawn characters and their stories. . . . Jonathan Odell finds the right words, using the language of the day, its idiom and its music to great advantage in a compelling work that can stand up to The Help in the pantheon of Southern literature."