A Healing Touch

Riverview Series Book 3

Fiction - New Adult
292 Pages
Reviewed on 02/26/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lucinda E Clarke for Readers' Favorite

A Healing Touch is the third book in the Riverview series, and like the first two, it also deals with overcoming personal disasters. This time, author Melissa A Hanson focuses on the effects of rape and the aftermath. Told from various points of view, the main character Natasha, in her first year at university studying architecture, reluctantly attends a party. To her delight, she meets up with Caleb Wilson who she has a huge crush on. She drinks some water and, after passing out, comes around lying in a strange bedroom having been raped, but she remembers nothing. We live with her fears, her feeling of being stalked, and her inability to cope with her emotions. Who was it who took her virginity? Who is sending her threatening messages? Her circle of friends is very supportive, but it is up to her alone to cope with the horrors of the violation.

A Healing Touch by Melissa A Hanson is aimed at the teenage market, but I also enjoyed it very much. Besides the main story of the rape, other themes are included, such as friendship, mental health awareness, coping with stress, and meltdown. It contains lots of good advice as we follow Natasha to the hospital after the assault, and the author has also provided a list of centers offering help and advice at the end of the book. How many of us have even thought about what happens to the mind after the body has been attacked? This book opens the door to the mental chaos that results after rape. The difficulty in trusting, the fear of betrayal, the loss of virginity, and the horror of feeling dirty, used, and abused. This author has painted an excellent scenario as we travel along the dark tunnel with Natasha. All her previous carefree days are gone and only time may heal her heart, but that is difficult without closure. This a great book to give a teenager as an example of what can happen to anyone at any time. A well-deserved five stars!

Alicia DeBerry

When innocence is stolen, is it possible to move forward? Melissa A. Hanson helps explore the possibilities in A Healing Touch: Riverview Series Book 3. She introduces nineteen-year-old Natasha Wakefield. Natasha’s first year in college ended with her not remembering who took her innocence. No longer feeling secure, she neglects her friends and family and escapes. Taking up a dream internship at a local architecture firm, she did not expect her pain to resurface. Troy DeLuca, who is twenty-three and is taking over the family architecture practice, did not expect his life to be flipped inside out as painful memories haunt him from his past after meeting Natasha. Will they be able to help heal each other?

Melissa A. Hanson did an excellent job of highlighting the mindset of sexual assault victims and what they and their families and friends experience using Natasha and Troy. In A Healing Touch, Natasha shows that with support you can face what happened and hope to regain a stable and thriving life again, if you decide not to let the event control your life. I was emotionally moved by the strength Troy gave Natasha and his sensitivity. Natasha was brave and chose to be a support system to help him work through his guilt after learning what happened to his sister. I love that the author provided information at the end of the story to help those who may have had a similar experience. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy suspense, drama, and realistic fiction.

Carmen Tenorio

A Healing Touch by Melissa A. Hanson is a slow-burn romance between two souls struggling with painful experiences, past issues, and PTSD. Natasha is a talented and smart Southern California freshman studying on a full scholarship at one of Oregon’s schools of architecture. Things were going well until she was drugged and raped during a party. This caused her to experience social anxiety, severe panic attacks, and to withdraw from family and old friends. She tries to distract herself from the trauma with the dream internship that she got from DeLuca Architects and her new office mates, more particularly her boss’s son whom she met in the office. Troy is dedicated and hardworking and, being the son of the boss, he’ll inherit the firm. Troy has his share of devastating heartbreak and regret brought about by the untimely death of his sister. He finds himself inexplicably drawn to the new intern, Natasha. Will their mutual attraction be the source of strength and healing that both of them need? Will they be able to help each other regain wholeness and achieve closure?

The dramatic plot, timely content, and themes are tough and relevant, tackling the difficult issue of campus sexual assault. The author deals with trauma and its healing and eventual resolution. The characters are well-written and are still on the cusp of being independent, establishing a career, defining their worldviews, and creating networks and relationships for the kind of lifestyle or purpose they want. But as young adults, they unfortunately also have to deal with and learn to survive the harsh and cruel realities of a very complex world on their own. A Healing Touch is written using the first-person point of view but shifts from one character to another which can be a bit confusing at first. Melissa A. Hanson does this so the reader empathizes with the major characters firsthand. Although it is a romance novel, the author quite skillfully incorporates a little amateur sleuthing and suspense along the way in their effort to get to the truth and bring the guilty to justice. Recommended for fans of new adult fiction that goes beyond romance and deals with both the positive and some dark aspects of young adulthood, maturity, relationships, and mental health.