Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Hummingbird by Stephen P. Kiernan

Hi, everyone! I hope you had a fabulous holiday weekend!

Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Stephen P. Piernan's latest, The Hummingbird.

Deborah is a hospice nurse. And a good one at that. In fact, she's the one they call for tough situations - like Professor Barclay Reed, who fired his last two caregivers and has all the volunteers on edge. In spite of the odds, Deborah is able to get through to him, cracking the armor no one has been able to get past. 

But Deborah's success at work hasn't carried through to home of late. After three tours overseas, her husband has returned angry and unable to open up to his wife. Deborah isn't ready to give up, but she knows it'll take a huge breakthrough if things are going to improve. As it turns out, that breakthrough may be thanks to her new patient. 

I had a hard time reading The Hummingbird. There were two reasons for this: one emotional and the other stylistic.

I'll tackle the latter first. Chapters alternate between Deborah and the fictional final book by Barclay Reed. That book is a WWII tale that Deborah herself isn't certain is truly fact. But it's this book that Reed says can help her understand what her husband is going through.

I didn't love these chapters. I wanted to, but they were a bit dry and not at all as immersive as Deborah's tale, unfortunately. Which meant that roughly every other chapter I was taken out of the story I'd become attached to, muddled through somewhat academic style prose, and then finally allowed back to Deborah's story. Me and "Sword" didn't get along.

Now for the other reason (the emotional reason) I struggled with The Hummingbird. This issue isn't altogether a negative. In fact it's a testament to Kiernan's writing: it's a story about a hospice worker whose relationship is in trouble because of her husband's experience as a soldier. That's a loaded set of topics if ever there were any! And it makes for a hard read, which I knew would be the case. And while I won't go into the issues the book brings up, I will say that I found Kiernan handled it all very well. What I didn't expect was that I'd be fighting blues and tears throughout.


The Hummingbird is going to strike a chord with just about every reader. Every reader who has a heart! And if you're the kind of reader who enjoys a good cry and a tug at your heartstrings tale about overcoming the odds, this is the story for you. If you're, say, looking for something to dive into over a holiday weekend while enjoying time in the sun and food on the grill (or the company of a new kitten)... maybe you'll want to save this one for a different day.

Emotions aside, I enjoy Kiernan's writing. I loved The Curiosity and I think, given the right reading circumstances, I would have loved The Hummingbird as well. I didn't by any means dislike it at all but again I struggled with it. I wanted something I could lose myself in an enjoy and because I was struggling, I just wasn't able to do that. It happens.

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Stephen P. Kiernan and his work you can visit his website here. You can also like him on Facebook.

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Jennifer C said...

Becky, I recently bought this book, and your review is timely because I am planning on reading it soon. Based on what you said, I still think I will like it- but it's one of those books that I need to find the right time to read in order to get the most out of it. Thanks for the thoughtful review.

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Hospice workers - the truly dedicated ones - have my unending admiration. They have an incredibly difficult job and they do it with great compassion.

Thanks for being a part of the tour!