The book is about a slave girl named Grenada, although that is not her given name. That name remains a mystery to her because she is taken from her mother and claimed by the plantation mistress after the master and mistress lose their own daughter to disease. Grenada is then brought up as a "house" slave, enjoying her status and wearing the dead girl's fancy clothes for the mistress. But when the entire plantation's slave population begins dying of the "black tongue," the master seeks help in the form of a "healer" slave named Polly Shine. When Polly sees Grenada for the first time, she knows the girl has the gift of healing also, and tells the master that Grenada must train with her. Grenada hates leaving her comfortable life in the house, but as the days go on, and Polly heals the sick, Grenada starts to believe in her own power and the power of the love that Polly gives her.
Told from Grenada's point of view both as a girl and as an old woman, the reader is drawn into this story of love, loss, and the spiritual power of healing, through birth, life, and death. While the message in the book of taking the power over our lives instead of waiting for it to be given to us is told through the historical context of slavery, it is a message that is relevant in many of our lives today. The idea that power can be obtained simply by doing for others is also a wonderful thing to hold with us as we move ahead in our own lives. So, give The Healing a try this summer. You'll be glad you did.