The Hummingbird's Cage was, I thought, going to be about a woman who finds herself in a new small town, rebuilding her life. A sprinkling of magical realism, a new resolve on life, end of story. Once I began to read about Joanna's life as an abused wife of a deputy, sheltering her young daughter Laurel from the horrible abuse Jim rains down on her pretty much every day; well, this whole book changed. My expectation of a fun and frothy novel evolved to one in which grace, belief in a higher power, and the chance to change the course of a life became the dominant themes. I was truly surprised and touched by this novel as it unfolded.
I'm not going to say much about this book, because that would give all of it away. I'll just say that Joanna's abuse is pretty horrible, and a bit shocking. Tamara Dietrich paints a portrait of a woman trapped in hell, with no way out. The first part of the story may be hard for some people to read, but it's not overly descriptive and once you get past that, it becomes another wholly different story. It is beautiful, mysterious, and leaves you as the reader to decide what you think the town of Morro really is and where it may be. There is no wrong answer.
The Hummingbird's Cage is probably the most surprising read I've had all year. Loved it. Won't forget it.
Rating: 8/10 for a touching novel about a woman who must choose to fight or give in, and the otherworldly place that gives her shelter to heal and find peace.
Available in paperback and ebook.