A Poultice for a Healer

Written by Caroline Roe
Review by Lorraine Gelly

Loyal followers of the life of Isaac the blind physician take up the tale in 1354 where the 7th novel in the series opens. Isaac’s daughter, Raquel, is betrothed to Daniel, a young glover in the “call” or Jewish Quarter in Girona, Spain. Daniel briefly meets an unusual young man while on a journey. The young man, who subsequently becomes an important figure in the novel, is rarely met by the reader. In fact, he is occasionally confused with one or possibly two other young men of roughly the same age in this slightly convoluted story.

Luca, an aspiring herbalist, has traveled to Girona to meet Isaac, of whom he has heard, and wishes to learn from him. While practicing as an herbalist, two people are poisoned and some believe that Luca was involved.

As always, it is a pleasure to read about Isaac, his large and interesting family and his relationship to the Bishop, who is his patron, as well as a most important patient. Much of the day-to-day life of Spain in that era, especially Jewish life, is set out for lovers of historical novels. The research by the author, a medieval scholar, is thorough, and reading these books is surely akin to traveling in time back to medieval Spain. That fact keeps the reading coming back each time, even when the mystery plot is as thin as in this book. But old friends are the best, and loyal readers will continue to read about this engaging protagonist.