Dr. Oma: The Healing Wisdom of Countess Juliana von Stolberg
post written by Emma Filbrun
Title: Dr. Oma: The Healing Wisdom of Countess Juliana von Stolberg
Author: Ethel Herr
Series: Chosen Daughters
Major Themes: Herbs, Medicine, Netherlands, William of Orange
Synopsis: Maria learns about herbs and trust in God from her grandmother, Countess Juliana von Stolberg.
I bought Dr. Oma a number of years ago when I found it with bargain books on a website from which I was ordering some things for school. I had never heard of the author or series, but decided to take a chance on it, and I’m glad I did. This book is a keeper.
Maria was living at the royal court, learning to be a lady-in-waiting, when she received a message from her father. She needed to return home quickly to see her grandmother before she died. When she arrived at the Dillenberg castle, however, her grandmother, Oma, seemed to be in the best of health. What was going on? Maria was puzzled—and afraid, since Duchess Margaretha of Parma, who was in charge of her, had warned her so severely to be careful and watch out for heretics. Could Oma be a heretic? Who could Maria trust?
Slowly Maria learned to relax with her grandmother again, and to learn about herbs and healing from her. She soon loved the apotheek and felt especially close to her dead mother when she read the recipes for healing salves penned by her. But when war broke out and Maria’s uncles and father had to go away, and her brother was kidnapped and taken to Spain, how could Maria stand to go on living in the castle? It was especially bad when her demented stepmother was present. There were so many worries. Could she learn to trust God as Oma did? And what about the time when even Oma’s faith wavered?
Dr. Oma vividly portrays the challenges facing ruling families in the Reformation. The tensions between Catholics and Protestants is a very large part of this story, as is the fight between Spain and the Netherlands. We read this book several weeks ago, and this week our history reading in Story of the World Volume Three covered the same time. It’s always fun to be able to recognize a fictionalized account we’ve read as we read our history books. Having those connections helps the facts of history stick in the children’s minds better.
WARNING: There is some lying, and battles are mentioned, although not described graphically. One of Maria’s uncles died a horrible death and someone brought his helmet to Oma—that was all that was left. Maria’s father was assassinated in the epilogue.
Read Aloud—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 13, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, 12 – 15
Links to buy Dr. Oma:
AbeBooks: View Choices on AbeBooks.com
Book Depository: Paperback
Keywords: Herbs, Medicine, Netherlands, William of Orange