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Book Review: Ada: Legend of a Healer by R.A. McDonald

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Raised in the foster care system, Ada has pulled her last stunt. At fifteen, she is rebellious and tired of moving from place to place. Her caseworker has finally had to make a decision: they will contact her aunt Jessie O’Neil; if Jessie cannot take her, she will have to reside in the between house, a place for kids no longer able to be placed.

Jessie is not really her aunt, but her mother’s best friend; she has the healing touch and she has been on the run for as long as she can remember. Originally, when she learned about her healing abilities, she was free with healing, joining a program put together by Senator Harold Grimes. As time went on, the Senator wanted the healing only for himself. Escaping his facility, she has been on the run, and can only stay for short periods in any local. She refuses to stop healing, but must move quickly as the news spreads, bringing the Senator and his henchmen after her each time.

Jessie knows that Ada too has the healing touch. What she does not realize is that Ada is stronger, capable of healing the most chilling of conditions. However, Ada is also stubborn and does not find her healing to be a miracle, to her it is a curse. Treated with fear each time she would make a comment on another’s health, her youth was peppered by incidents of healing and disbelief. Considered a freak for as long as she remember, healing held no magic for her. As Ada follows Jessie from place to place, a young paraplegic approaches her. Choosing to try her healing on in an unthinkable fashion, surprise is in store. Her healing power is beyond that of other healers, and his body begins a restructuring process. Promptly, her skill comes to the attention of the Senator.

Now Jessie has disappeared and Ada is running for her freedom. Immediately thinking her mother can be of assistance, she begins searching for her. She has been missing since Ada was a baby, but Ada is able to find a trace in Paris, France. After reaching France, Ada finds a group of teenagers that have found a unique way of traveling in the city. After watching them and trying to emulate their maneuvers, she becomes convinced this type of travel will help her stay clear of the Senator while she looks for her mother. Her life has taken an unexpected turn, she is in a strange place, with people she does not know, and yet she must find her way. Can she stay ahead of the Senator, or will he finally take her captive as he has many of those before her? Will her new friends make the difference?

In Ada: Legend of A Healer, R.A. McDonald has built a story around the mysterious healing abilities of a small group of people. Ada is a charming but stubborn rascal, with a good sense of humor, but she is also an angry young woman. Left on her own, she has had to deal with her abilities without direction. They are anathemas to her, and yet she cannot control her visions, or her seeing of others illness. Her anger sometimes gives way to kindness, the coldness melts and she uses her abilities to heal those she feels a connection to. The rebelliousness of her age and background determine her decisions.

Jessie is doing what she can to heal as many as she is able. Having Ada with her brings attention she does not need. However, Ada needs her. Jessie felt that leaving her a ward of the state was the only thing protecting Ada all these years. Her best friend and Ada’s mother disappeared years before leaving her to make tough decisions. She is feisty and gregarious, insistent on using her abilities even when they put her at risk. Sending Ada to find her mother and doing her best to stay in touch only makes that risk more palpable.

About Leslie Wright

Leslie Wright is an author and blogger in the Northwest.