the-art-of-healing-by-jeanne-felfestars-5-0._V192240867_ (1)I loved the cover of this book, but at first the title threw me—“The Art of Healing”– it sounded like it would be a book about psychology, or possibly health or even spiritual or hands on healing. But it said it was “A Novel.” Now I would have been prepared to read the book if the subject matter was about any of those topics, because they would have interested me. However, I was delighted to discover an incredible novel about two people who have been dealt difficult hands in life, and together, deal with their past and find emotional healing.

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 solid, 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, then picking up something for supper at Marc’s before she goes home. One night a beautiful woman, who looks sad and haunted approaches her. The woman is Michelle, and she is the one 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 photographer and since Keara’s death, he has immersed 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.

This book can be purchased on Amazon by clicking here.