The Healer's Daughter

Gale Cengage. Mar. 2019. 418p. ISBN 9781432849665. $25.95. F
OrangeReviewStarHinger, a Western Kansas historian ("Lottie Albright" mysteries; Come Spring), here fictionalizes the town of Nicodemus, the first all-black settlement in Kansas. It seems a natural follow-up to her meticulously researched nonfiction work, Nicodemus: Post-Reconstruction Politics and Racial Justice in Western Kansas. Bethany Herbert—young, newly freed, and very skilled at healing—joins a group of other freed slaves who have been promised a veritable paradise in Kansas. There is, of course, no paradise awaiting them, but through their own hard work, they wrestle a community out of the harsh, unforgiving prairie. In this starkly realistic story, the townspeople struggle against outside threats and internal conflict to survive, giving new voice to those whose history the author recounted in her earlier work.
VERDICT Somewhat reminiscent of Jane Kirkpatrick's A Light in the Wilderness, this is far grittier. Readers who appreciate historical accuracy in their fiction will find this a powerful read. The impressive degree of realism and Hinger's skillful weaving of personalities and story lines make it a real page-turner.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing