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Extended Audio Sample The Healing Audiobook, by Jonathan Odell Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (2,435 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jonathan Odell Narrator: Adenrele Ojo Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2012 ISBN: 9780307989376
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Compelling, tragic, comic, tender, and mystical.”

    Minneapolis Star-Tribune

  • “A terrific novel that will take its place in the distinguished pantheon of Southern fiction…Polly Shine is a character for the ages.”

    Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides

  • “A storytelling tour de force.”

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  • “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.”

    Associated Press

  • “Jonathan Odell won me over with his fresh take on an 1860s Mississippi plantation, and the connective power of story to heal body, mind and community.”

    Lalita Tademy, author of Cane River

  • “Odell gives voice to strong women at a time in history when their strength might have been their undoing…This moving story is a must-read for fans of historical fiction.”

    Kathleen Grissom, author of The Kitchen House

  • “A haunting tale of Southern fiction peopled with vivid and inspiring personalities.”

    Bookreporter.com

  • “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.”

    Shelf Awareness

  • “Odell has written one of those beautiful Southern tales with unforgettable characters. Required reading.”

    New York Post

  • “Engrossing…This historical novel probes complex issues of freedom and slavery.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • The Healing is a lyrical parable, rich with historical detail and unflinching in the face of disturbing facts.”

    Valerie Martin, author of Property

  • “Rich in character and incident.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • 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 is Mary Sutter

  • A finalist for the Minnesota Book Award!
  • 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. Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • 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. Burlington Times-News
  • "A real page turner. Tuscaloosa News
  • 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. Kirkus Reviews 
  • "Bringing exciting verisimilitude to an overworked genre, this Southern saga from Odell is rich in character and incident. Publishers Weekly
  • 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. Shelf Awareness
  • Selected for the March 2012 Indie Next List
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bridget | 2/18/2014

    " This book was great!! You could feel the setting leap from the pages. This would make a great book club selection. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Helene | 2/18/2014

    " Story of slaves and a Healer was wonderful. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melinda | 2/12/2014

    " This a great historical fiction piece! It takes place in Mississippi and is the story of a slave girl trained as a healer by one of the best and her life on a plantation. Part of the story is told by Granada as a girl and part from her reflections as Gran Gran, an elderly woman remembering and sharing her stories with Violet, a very special girl for whom she is caring. This book was recommended as one for people who liked The Help, but it is a very different sort of story. The Healing is wonderful rich writing and Odell pulls readers right into this incredible life in Mississippi at a pretty bleak time in our country's history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Loie | 1/29/2014

    " Really enjoyed this book. Well written, great characters and story line. Held my attention from the beginning to the end. I would recommend this book to a book club as I think the discussion would be great. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diane S. | 1/27/2014

    " What an amazing and magical read. I absolutely loved it and so did not want it to end. It is the eve of the Civil War, on a large plantation in Mississippi and the master pays a unprecedented sum of money for a woman slave said to be a healer. Things are not going well on the plantation, slaves are dying and the mistress is going insane after the death of her daughter. Enters Polly Shine, a character I will never forget. I read an interview by this author and he includes much in his afterword, on how he felt after being raised in white man's Mississippi he felt he was missing a great part of his history, he actually talked to former midwives and other blacks raised in that era for the information in his novel. Comparing it to The Help is doing this book a disservice, because though I did like that book, this book immerses the reader in the plantation system, it is told from the viewpoint of Polly Shine and Granada, a young house raised slave that she takes to train, because Polly Shine feels that she has the same gift as herself. He explains exactly what freedom meant to the slaves and how some were not able to move on. It is a fascinating, historical read and I highly recommend it. ARC provided by Net Galley. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily | 1/20/2014

    " Loved everything about this novel! A great read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cally | 1/19/2014

    " I think this is probably the most perfect book I have ever read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Courtney | 1/10/2014

    " HOw could you not love Polly Shine? Great story, complex characters and beautiful depth. Recommended. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Allison | 12/24/2013

    " Cannot get into this book... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathidfsmc | 12/18/2013

    " I thought the writing style was amazing and this was an unbelievable story of love, devotion, life and connection. I really enjoyed this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katie Moses | 11/22/2013

    " This book was excellent. I got swept up in the characters and the history of their lives, Polly Shine especially. The ending was absolutely perfect. I couldn't have asked it to end better. If you liked The Help then you'll love this! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diane | 4/12/2013

    " I enjoyed bits of this book but the plot repeated itself instead of evolve into a good story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Faith Moddrell | 4/5/2013

    " I enjoyed this book and found it moving. It was exciting and engaging from the beginning! Did not love it the way I loved The Help. I do believe The Healing would make an excellent movie as well! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marilou | 1/16/2013

    " Amazing story set in the south during slavery. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Teresa | 10/17/2012

    " Great story from beginning to end "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Miriam | 7/23/2012

    " It was a little slow starting, but once it picked up, it was hard to put down. A very well written book with a perspective of slaves gaining power, instead of being powerless. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wendi | 7/15/2012

    " really more of a 3.7 - very good story with a good twist in the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amiee | 7/12/2012

    " This book is going to stay with me for a long time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martha Netoff | 6/6/2012

    " a healer and midwife recounts her life of slavery to freedom to a young child and finds peace with her life "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gewizaz | 5/10/2012

    " why do authors continue to write about the south during slavery? come on. mr odell should have written more about his suggestions and experiences as he did in the back of the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather Beyer | 3/8/2012

    " Incredible book. Well written and held my attention from beginning to end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leah Delack | 2/9/2012

    " Liked this book alot. Mn author. Possible to be my summer read. "

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About the Author
Author Jonathan Odell

JONATHAN ODELL is the author of the acclaimed novel The View from Delphi, which deals with the struggle for equality in pre-civil rights Mississippi, his home state. His short stories and essays have appeared in numerous collections. He spent his business career as a leadership coach to Fortune 500 companies and currently resides in Minnesota.

About the Narrator

Adenrele Ojo is an actress, dancer, and audiobook narrator. She made her onscreen debut in My Little Girl, starring Jennifer Lopez, and has since starred in several other films. She has also performed extensively with the Philadelphia Dance Company. Currently she works as the general manager of Tupu Kweli Theatre Company in New York, which is under the artistic direction of Curtiss Cook.