The Hummingbird: A Novel

by Stephen P. Kiernan | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0062369547 Global Overview for this book
Registered by HoserLauren of Burlington, Ontario Canada on 9/10/2015
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Thursday, September 10, 2015
Received this book to review.

From Chapters:

Deborah Birch is a seasoned hospice nurse who never gives up—not with her patients, not in her life. But her skills and experience are fully tested by the condition her husband, Michael, is in when he returns from his third deployment to Iraq. Tormented by nightmares, anxiety, and rage, Michael has become cold and withdrawn. Still grateful that he is home at last, Deborah is determined to heal him and restore their loving, passionate marriage.
But Michael is not her only challenge. Deborah's primary patient is Barclay Reed, a retired history professor and fierce curmudgeon. An expert on the Pacific Theater of World War II, Barclay is suffering from terminal kidney cancer and haunted by ghosts from his past, including the academic scandal that ended his career.
Barclay's last wish is for Deborah to read to him from his final and unfinished book—a little-known story from World War II that may hold the key to helping Michael conquer his demons. Together, nurse, patient, and soldier embark on an unforgettable emotional journey that transforms them all, offering astonishing insights into life and death, suffering and finding peace.
Told with piercing empathy and heartbreaking realism, The Hummingbird is a masterful story of marital commitment, service to country, the battles we fight for those we love, learning to let go, and finding absolution through wisdom and acceptance.

Journal Entry 2 by HoserLauren at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Sunday, September 13, 2015
Deborah is a hospice nurse, taking care of those with terminal illnesses nearing the end of their life. She's known for "sticking", not giving up on her patients. She needs this exact trait when her husband comes home from his third tour of duty in Iraq a broken man. He is very distant and obviously suffering. When Deborah gets her next assignment with a crotchety professor with no family, she doesn't realize that he'll help her as much as she helps him.


This book has three very interesting subject matters that could hold a story by themselves: end-of-life hospice care, being the wife of a returning vet with PTSD, and a WWII Japanese pilot who dropped a bomb on the Oregon coast, setting fire to the forests. At first, I was a little irritated that Kiernan was combining these three powerful stories together in to one, but it worked. The WWII story was from the patient which taught lessons to Deb about how to best care for her husband. In the beginning, I was much more drawn to Deb's story and when the narrative switched over to the Japanese pilot, it was a bit slower. Eventually I got used to the switch of pace in the book.


I was moved by this book. You can't help but wonder how you would react if you were in Deborah's situation and how you would handle your husband returning a broken man. The ending almost had me in tears, which is very unusual for me. I'm sure some people could find this book depressing. I, on the other hand, found it rather uplifting and hopeful.


This is my second novel by Kiernan (read my review for his other work, The Curiosity). I find his writing style easy to get in to and hard to put down. I'll be sure to pick up any other fiction work he puts out in the future.


One of my best reads of the year!

Journal Entry 3 by HoserLauren at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Thursday, March 03, 2016

Released 3 yrs ago (3/3/2016 UTC) at Mississauga, Ontario Canada

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Mailed today to zzz from the best of swap.

Journal Entry 4 by zzz at Rakovica, City of Belgrade Serbia on Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Hummingbird just landed on this side of the pond safe and sound.
Thank you so much Lauren ;)

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