The Healing by Joy Margetts

This post includes a book review and a short interview with the author, Joy Margetts.

The Healing, book and reverse of postcard

The Healing, book and reverse of postcard

It was a real privilege to read The Healing: Will a monk’s habit help unlock his true identity? before its official publication date in advance of the blog tour of which this post is part. Joy Margetts’ debut historical novel is published by Instant Apostle and is already available from Joy Margett’s website and in bookshops from tomorrow (19 March 2021). If you order direct from Joy Margett, you will be the owner of a signed copy!

When I read a book, I prefer not to know too much about it in advance. I skipped the page of endorsements and the back cover until I had read to the end of the story.

Unusually the Author’s note and Historical notes appear at the beginning. I found this helpful. And (as in most of my favourite books) a map is included. The story begins with a mystery. Who is telling the story? What has happened? It is compulsive reading.

Passages of scripture intersperse the chapters. Scenes in the book are described vividly. At the end of chapter 2, I had tears (of joy) in my eyes. By early evening on the day I received my copy, I had only about 50 pages left to read. I decided I couldn’t wait until morning to learn the outcome of this fascinating story. (I found it very satisfactory!)

I was interested to read some familiar verses from the Bible in The Passion Translation, which I have not read. It brings out the meaning in a fresh way.

A longer passage of scripture, which appears in the body of the text, rather than between chapters, is Psalm 139 – a psalm, which has been special in my life. The characters discuss what it means in the context of their own lives before one of them makes an important decision.

Having footnotes rather than having to turn to the end for additional information is helpful.

The names of the main characters were chosen with care for their meanings, which are woven seamlessly into the story.

The Healing is a book I shall return to in the future.

Author interview

Photo of Joy Margetts

Joy Margetts

Joy Margetts has answered some questions I put to her about writing the book.

Joy, I often wonder how much of an author’s own experience is included in their books. One of your characters had not always lived in Wales. Is that an experience you share?

It is. I was born and raised in the south of England. But I have always had a deep and abiding love for Wales. My grandmother was Welsh, and we visited South Wales when I was small. I was introduced to North Wales when my sister attended university in Bangor. My husband also knew the mountains of Snowdonia well, being an amateur climber. We visited together when our children were very young, never believing that within a year we would actually be living here. A surprise job transfer and we moved from Oxfordshire to Gwynedd. It was like coming home. I love my adopted homeland.

[There is] the natural beauty of course, but also the rich spiritual history of the place. Wales is a land of ancient pilgrim paths, old churches and abbeys and of course of great revival history. I have been here over twenty years now, and like Philip in the book, I have found my healing here.

It is unusual especially nowadays to include so much scripture in a novel. Why did you decide to do this?

I love the Word of God. I love studying it and have the joy of teaching it also. But scripture is more than just words on a page. I believe that God speaks through His word. He speaks to each one of us personally, by His Spirit. When I was going through my own difficult time, I began to rely more and more on the Word of God. I had to read it every day, even when concentration was difficult. My experience was, and still is, that God speaks just what I need to hear through His word, and that I am strengthened, spiritually, emotionally and physically through reading it. The promises of the Bible gave me hope, and I chose to trust in them, even when my circumstances seemed to contradict them. There is so much scripture in ‘The Healing’ because these are some of the verses, and truths, that helped me in my own journey. My prayer is that they speak to and help those who read them also.

I echo your prayer for your readers.

I know many people say Psalm 139 is their favourite. Do you have a favourite Psalm?

That is a really difficult question! I have so many favourites. Psalm 139 is wonderful of course. Psalm 91 and Psalm 27 are also great Psalms to remind yourself of how God cares for us, protects us and provides for us, especially in difficult times. My favourite at the moment is actually Psalm 119, which might seem strange, as it is the longest Psalm in the Bible. But it has some wonderful verses that I can really relate to about how God’s word gives us life, revives and restores us, and is a light to our paths, and a promise for our future. That is my experience. His word has done those things for me in my healing journey.

Thank you, Joy, for sharing your insights. I also love the Bible and the Psalms are special. I look forward to reading more from you.

If you’d like a preview of this book everyone should read, the publisher has made this possible here.

Blog tour

The blog tour for The Healing began on  11 March. The links are below in case you’d like to read more.

11 March Maressa Mortimer Vicarious Living

12 March Claire Musters (Joy explains the background to the book and her own story.)

13 March Wendy H. Jones Bookaholic

14 March Penelope Swithinbank

15 March Ruth Leigh Big words and Made- Up Stories

16 March Liz Carter More than Writers (The blog of the Association of Christian Writers) and on her own blog.

17 March S.C. Skillman

Paul Alkazjari’s review on Goodreads

19 March Limitless-horizon

20 March Faithful steps


Z is for zenith #AtoZChallenge

For the A to Z in April Challenge 2019 I have picked some words, which are connected with physical space.

Z is for zenith and z-coordinate
The highest point in the sky
And another way to designate
Three dimensions on flat paper with X and Y.

A corner similar to x-,y- and z-axes

I found maths (or math, if you prefer) very difficult when it involved three dimensions. So let’s skip to zenith!

Having reached the last post in this challenge apart from the Reflections, which comes later, I suspect that hardly anyone has bothered with my links to Bible passages on Bible Gateway. The whole of the Bible is available online on that website in many different translations, which can be compared to help readers understand the meaning.

I find the Book of Psalms particularly helpful. Earlier on this blog a series of posts recorded the #psalmtweets I posted on Twitter. One psalm in particular reminds me of the word zenith – the highest point in the sky.

God is higher than the highest point! The paradox is that as St Paul pointed out to the people of Athens, He is also very close to us: ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ To read this in context please click the link. Acts 17:16-34.

Please scroll down to access other posts using the >> or << links.

What else I read in 2018

Bible study books

I once complained to my mother, as she removed the cereal packets from the breakfast table, “You have taken my reading away!” Now you know that, it may not surprise you that I have not yet written about everything I have read this year. I have read instructions, messages, letters, the local newspaper, the free local guide, National Trust magazines, English Heritage magazines and numerous blog posts and Tweets.

Some of the books I have read during the year have escaped from my regular bookish posts. They are not books, which I have sat down and read from cover to cover; some are daily Bible reading notes, others are books which help untrained people study the Bible together.

The Bible reading notes I use are New Daylight published by the Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF) and The Upper Room also published by BRF in the UK, but also available in many languages and countries around the world.

Scripture Union/IVP publish Life Builder Bible studies. This year the Ladies Bible study group has used Daniel, The Fruit of the Spirit and is now part way through Angels. Because the studies are intended for use by untrained (lay) people, leadership of the group can be shared between those members, who are willing to chair a study. These were written by people in the USA. Some of the examples in them are less appropriate to UK culture and general knowledge.

The study of Angels barely scratches the surface of the subject. I hope to set aside some time to study it in more depth.

Some of the group read The Daniel Prayer by Anne Graham Lotz. (I first became aware of this book via Bible Gateway.)

I have also continued to read through the Psalms as part of my daily reading and have begun to use Evelyn Underhill’s Prayer Book.