The Hummingbird's Cage

Tamara Dietrich. NAL Accent, $15 (352p) ISBN 978-0-451-47337-0
Dietrich's debut novel is a richly imagined tale of finding strength and redemption. In present-day Wheeler, N.M., Joanna is a devoted mother trapped in an abusive relationship with Jim, a vicious police officer. No one believes her stories of his violence until his ex-girlfriend, Bernadette, shows up and offers to help her. Joanna and her daughter, Laurel, make a break for it and end up in the idyllic mountain town of Morro. While there, they rest and heal, develop friendships and romances, and build up the strength to go back and face Jim. However, the longer they spend there, the more Joanna believes that all in Morro is not what it seems. She realizes that unlike the other people in Morro, she has a choice to leave the lovely town, and she must take it to protect Laurel and build a life for her, even if that means confronting the man who wishes her harm. Dietrich paints a beautiful picture of the town of Morro, which escapes its place and time in an utterly charming fashion. She also realistically depicts abuse. However, the magical aura around Morro never quite clicks for readers. There are hints of spiritual elements from a variety of cultures, but they don't gel properly, and no one ever quite acknowledges what Morro is, even the residents. This frustratingly takes readers out of the narrative. The fantastical elements and setting have potential, but the story is too uneven. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/22/2015
Release date: 06/01/2015
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-78433-880-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-78433-916-6
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