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The Hummingbird
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April 2018: Strong Women > The Hummingbird by Stephen P. Kiernan - 3.5

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Ellen | 2318 comments As a dedicated hospice nurse, Deborah Birch is compassionate, confident and skillful in helping her patients through their last struggles. As the wife of Michael, a 3-time deployed veteran of Iraq, Deb is less certain of her role in his life. Michael has turned cold, tortured by nightmares and the beginnings of violent behavior have begun to show. Deb feels helpless in her marriage but will try anything to reach the loving man she knows is still inside her husband.

Barclay Reed is Deb's latest patient, a retired history professor in the final stages of kidney cancer. Curmudgeon would be a kind word to use about Barclay; he is gruff, demanding and verbally abusive. Slowly, Deb is able to break through his hard shell as she patiently listens to his history lectures and reads to him from his unpublished WWII book "The Sword".
The book deals with a little known attack on the Oregon coastline by the Japanese in 1942. The book also led to a huge scandal that discredited Professor Reed and led to his firing from his university position. Barclay hesitantly opens up to Deb about his past while giving her insights into her husband's behavior and ways that she might heal Michael's torment.

It took me a while to enjoy this book but eventually I did. Deborah is a great character with a lot of spunk except with Michael. I liked her interaction with Barclay and he became quite an admirable man by the finish of the book. "The Sword" is quite a long story and is presented in every other chapter, so a book within a book. It started out rather clinical and confusing to me but eventually took on a life of its own. Not a bad little book.

message 2: by Jgrace (new)

Jgrace | 3109 comments This sounds very interesting. Thanks!

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