The Hummingbird moves in dual narratives. Deborah's care for her patient and husband is interspersed with excerpts from Reed's book. It is fascinating to learn about Japanese plans for war and about the life of one pilot in particular. I often found myself wanting to spend more time with Japanese fighter pilot Ichiro Soga.
Reading about Deborah as a hospice nurse is inspiring. The people who do this kind of work are incredibly kind and patient. I also enjoyed watching the relationship between Deborah and Reed evolve. In the beginning, he is known as the patient who fires all of his nurses and enjoys outwitting Deborah. They soon start to really care for each other. But I sometimes had some trouble with Deborah and her husband Michael. Firstly, I worried for Deborah. I think when someone's spouse is repeatedly violent, there needs to be some intervention (even in fiction). And in spite of their serious marital problems and Michael's PTSD, Deborah seems unable to ever see him without thinking about how hot he is.
While I had some trouble with their part of the storyline, The Hummingbird provided my favorite kind of historical fiction. I loved learning that there really was a Japanese fighter pilot who attempted to bomb the American west coast and was later invited to visit the United States. This is a story of love and forgiveness, about learning when to fight and when to make peace, and about making a life that counts and learning to die with dignity.
By Stephen P. Kiernan
William Morrow September 2015
Received for review from TLC Book Tours and the publisher