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The Art of Healing: A Novel Paperback – June 2, 2016
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The Art of Healing delivered more than romance. Julianne and Jokob offered me a journey of the heart and soul. I couldn't put it down through their different levels of loss and love, ranging from romantic to family to friendship. My heart broke and healed until I lost count, but I trusted my driver and held on for the ride. I easily connected with Julianne's reluctance to fall in love again after Clay. Her situation gave adage to the saying, "You think you know someone." Betrayal, for me, is difficult to overcome, and it's not about holding grudges, or even seeking revenge. She had given up her dreams because she loved him and he destroyed everything they'd built together, along with her heart. In those ways, I saw myself in Julianne and I had to see her to the finish. Jokob's loss of the woman he loved was both devastating and moving. I've known death in its many forms, but the choice she made is not among them. Oh, I understood Keara's decision. I'm a mother and would do anything for my children. Still, my heart broke for her repeatedly, and through that pain, I understood Jokob. He is me, and I am him, stuck on the sidelines and rooting for a life that cannot be saved. His anguish radiated in my own heart. Honestly, I didn't fathom how he'd be able to love again, but I tightened my seatbelt. I was in capable hands. I remember repeating the mantra while reading, still unable to walk away from the story. Sharing a meal with a best friend, sitting around a large table while your poppy tells stories from the old country, or sipping a glass of wine in a dark corner of a romantic restaurant brings joy to life in small doses. That is The Art of Healing, for me; life's small pleasures lift me from fog and gloom. However, stories require conflict and tension. Author Jeanne Felfe delivered a torrent that left me speechless, white knuckled and gripping the safety bar, yet all the while cheering. Raging storms raced my heart, deep depression spoke volumes to me, accidents left me wondering if they had a chance to survive separately, let alone together, and sudden sickness drowned Jokob and Julianne. Few stories deliver an array of emotions so real that my tears shed, I laugh aloud, or I allow my simmering blood to boil. Healing is truly an art, a process that has no right or wrong, and no matter how many times I read it, The Art of Healing never stops mending my broken heart. - Heather Rexon-Capewell, Editor
From the Author
The Art of Healing was a labor of love that took almost three years to write. It began as a short story and grew during the July Camp NaNoWriMo. As the story progressed into a novel, the characters became a daily part of my life. I love them and will miss them.
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Top Customer Reviews
Julianne Garvoli is a pediatric nurse who comes from a strong Catholic family—her Mamma is Irish, her Poppy is Italian, and she is surrounded by a strong community of Italian support and love.
She believed her marriage was secure, until the night she hurried home to make a surprise supper to celebrate the anniversary of their first date. When she got there, she discovered that Clayton had moved out while she was at work, leaving her a note to say he had left her. (What cowardly piece of work he was.)
Julianne struggles with the devastating reality of her life for a time, before she goes home to seek comfort from her Mamma and her Poppy, who calls her “Tesoro mio,” which is Italian for “treasure of mine.” Divorce is not normally accepted by the church, but both her parents agree that what Clayton has done is unforgivable and they support her. Julianne takes the prospect seriously and does not rush into filing for one. While she is at her parent’s place, she sees a picture taken when she was sixteen years old on a mission in a village near Machu Picchu. She remembered all the dreams that she had then, all the plans and wondered what happened to that girl; how she had lost her? She is free now, maybe she should think about exploring ways that she can use her nursing experience to help others in disadvantaged places.
She settles into a routine, working, picking up something for supper at Marc. One night a beautiful woman, who looks sad and haunted approaches her. Michelle is the woman Clay had left Julianne for. This was a shockingly revealing moment for Julianne, and it cemented her decision to divorce Clay.
Jokob O'Callaghan lost the love of his life to cancer. He is a renowned photograph and since her death, he has lost himself in his work.
One day, Bella insists Julianne go to a photo exhibit with her. Julianne resists at first, then reluctantly agrees. Once there, she is captivated by a picture. Jakob is the artist, and he asks her what she sees in the picture. He is delighted when she expresses something that no one else has sensed. That is the beginning of their friendship.
Things progress between them, but the journey is not straight forward. They both have strong feelings to overcome. Neither is certain that they want to risk another relationship.
I liked the way this book ended. It was not what I expected, but I liked how both Julianne and Jakob had grown.
I highly recommend “The Art of Healing.” It is very well written, an outstanding debut novel. I will be watching for more books by Jeanne Felfe. I would love to see one that tells Michelle’s story.
Surprises throughout the story with a surprising, yet touching ending.
I give it a 4-star rating only because I believe true love waits for marriage before sexual intimacy. A couple of times language is rough.
The story also speaks about how family & friends are important to helping you through difficult times. A touch of faith is in the story at key points.
Having prefaced it that way, I will say I enjoyed the novel. It moved along nicely, and I found myself wanting to flip the pages quickly towards the end to see what happened next. I don’t really see myself as a softie, nor do I cry at movies (well every once in a while), but a couple times this book brought a tear or two to my eye. It is interesting as a male to read this book, as it seemed to me to have a very definite female point of view towards men and relationships. The gals are a little more developed than "get me a cold beer and get naked."
I noticed one of the reviewers rated it down a bit for rough language. I would have to go back and reread it, because off the top of my head I do not remember any. Of course, if there was any I would have not marked it as that is how grown people talk sometimes. Nor was I offended by the premarital sex. I just wondered what took them so long to get around to it. But as Carly Simon reminds us anticipation can be sweet.
I will admit I wanted to slap the character Keara across the face, as I thought she was being unreasonable and unrealistic about her situation. Not that I have ever encountered that sort of thing in real life…
If you are from St. Louis or are familiar with St. Louis you have a second reason to enjoy the novel. The book is rich in references to local establishment and attractions. I thought, "Well that is interesting, I’ve been there." Or I thought ,"I wonder what that place is like?" A couple local attractions were mentioned that I had no idea were there. Something new to explore.
I was discussing this aspect of the novel with yet another person, and said maybe I should start an “Art of Healing St. Louis Tour”. The accused me of being a fanboy!
The skinny --if you enjoy a quick paced romance/love story with some memorable characters and that will bring the occasional tear to your eye, then you will enjoy this novel. Also not to give too much away this is a love story within a love story, double dutch chocolate you could say.