Tuesday, August 7, 2012
The Healer of Fox Hollow
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 devastating injury. “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.
This was a different kind of book... a good different though. It's the story of Layla, a 5 yr old that wakes up one night with a snake in her mouth and it bites her tongue off. The doctor is suspicious and asks the sheriff to investigate. Nothing turns up and the investigation is closed. Once Layla is well enough she is dropped off at the sitter's and during the course of the day the family dog dies. Layla touches the dog, her hands get very hot, and the dog returns to life. Her sitter, who attends one of those serpent handling churches, declares that Layla has the gift of healing given to her by God.
We follow Layla into adulthood with all her experiences of being bullied, healing folks, and dealing with being unable to speak with words she does learn how to talk in other ways. One day she meets a stranger with an eerie serpent tatoo on his neck and cheek. She senses a kindred spirit and their day together is interesting...then he disappears.
Though the book is shocking and sad it was also uplifting, I didn't want the story to end. The characters are endearing though some are just plain odd. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.
I received a copy of this book free from TLC Tours in exchange for an honest review.
You can see the Tour Schedule HERE
You can purchase The Healer of Fox Hollow on Amazon.com
About the author:
Joann is author of The Soup Has Many Eyes: From Shtetl to Chicago; One Family's Journey Through History (Bantam); "From Page to Stage,” a chapter in Holt Rinehart Winston’s Elements of Literature; and two collections of multicultural folk 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.