Sunday, April 1, 2012


Story Description: 

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. 

My Review: 

Amanda and Benjamin Satterfield owned a large cotton plantation in Mississipi and owned many Negro slaves who worked for them.  Amanda had begun to lose her mind after their 12-year-old daughter, Becky died of cholera.  Amanda demanded that one of her kitchen slaves, Sylvie bring her one of the black servants’ newborn baby to her immediately.  Ella was forced to release Yewande, her newborn daughter into Amanda’s arms.  Drugged with laudanum she renamed the girl, Granada.  

Granada, now 12-years-old herself, was paraded every preaching Sunday dressed in Becky’s old silk dresses and shoes.  As black as Becky was white, it didn’t matter to Amanda but Granada took this role seriously and longed to be loved and cared for by Amanda.  Although most of the guests on these preaching Sundays found more humour at Granada’s seriousness and the ridiculous manner they thought she looked in Becky’s clothing.   Granada often focused on the mirror image of herself and the same serious face always stared back at her giving her the reassurance she needed to ignore the quiet laughter of the guests.  

Granada also had to compete for Amanda’s affections from, Daniel Webster who was a ‘monkey’ that rode around on Amanda’s shoulder and was her dear friend and overly pampered pet. 

Benjamin Satterfield thought he had the best black slaves around as he allowed his slaves to live on his property, to marry, and have their children on the plantation rather than buying them at slave auctions like the other plantation owners did.  Benjamin was also known as a bit of a Dr. Frankenstein as he was always conducting experiments on the slaves.  He said he discovered that if he fed the slave girls’ cow’s milk then they would begin menstruating two years earlier.  

One day Benjamin went against everything he believed about ‘purchasing’ black slaves and came home with a Negro woman he bought at an auction for the princely sum of five thousand dollars!  Everyone from the slaves, to housekeepers to other plantation owners were all completely dumbfounded and quietly amongst themselves asked if this woman was painted in gold.  Whispers were flying back and forth amongst all of the people of the plantation about what was so special about this slave to cause Master Ben to pay such an outrageous sum of money.  The day arrived when Master Ben brought Polly Shine home to the plantation.  They soon learned the old woman was some sort of sickness healer.  When she went on her first rounds to see the swamp slaves who were quickly dying from black tongue disease, she ordered poor Granada to go with her.  Granada was terrified and when Polly touched her hands Granada felt heat so hot radiating from Polly’s hands that she quickly pulled from her grasp.  Polly began telling her “you have the gift” but Granada didn’t understand what she meant.  When they returned home she overheard Polly telling Master Ben “she the one”.  Granada was very afraid and began yelling “she the one – what?  I haven’t done anything!”  Master Ben, however, had other plans, he was ordering Granada to go with Polly Shine and no amount of resistance was going to save her. 

Polly was a confusing woman and Granada couldn’t make heads nor tails half the time what Polly was trying to say.  It was like she was talking in riddles all the time and often bent down to patient’s ears and would repeat one line from the Bible over and over.  Polly also wouldn’t allow Granada to witness the birthing of babies and this she couldn’t understand either.  

As the story goes on, we learn so much about the people of this plantation and the healing powers of Polly Shine, a name people would soon learn never to forget.  There are so many other characters with such interesting profiles that I wanted to read faster and faster to get to know them as soon as possible.  This was one of those books that I was very sad to see the end of, I wanted it to go on and on and on.  THE HEALING is one novel that I’ll definitely be recommending to my friends.  An amazing story!


  1. Thanks so much for an insightful and thorough review!!!

  2. Thank YOU Mr. Odell for writing such a riveting novel. It was my utter pleasure to read your novel and get lost between the pages!

    Are you writing another one?


  3. After the hoopla dies down on this one (hopefully not too soon!!) I've got to finish one a began a couple of years ago. It's called THE LAST SAFE PLACE.

  4. Wooo-hoo,I'll be first in line to pick it up!!

    Thanks for your honesty.