Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Hummingbird Dagger by Cindy Anstey

Summary from Goodreads:

1833. After young Lord James Ellerby witnesses a near-fatal carriage accident on the outskirts of his estate, he doesn't think twice about bringing the young woman injured in the wreck to his family's manor to recuperate. But then she finally regains consciousness only to find that she has no memory of who she is or where she belongs.

Beth, as she takes to calling herself, is an enigma even to herself. She has the rough hands of a servant, but the bearing and apparent education of a lady. Her only clue to her identity is a gruesome recurring nightmare about a hummingbird dripping blood from its steel beak.

With the help of James and his sister, Caroline, Beth slowly begins to unravel the mystery behind her identity and the sinister circumstances that brought her to their door. But the dangerous secrets they discover in doing so could have deadly ramifications reaching the highest tiers of London society.
This was not my favorite Cindy Anstey book. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. I enjoyed the characters, and the setting. But the story was very slow. The book felt too long, and it took me too long to read it all.
The beginning starts off with a carriage accident, deathly nightmares, and a girl with amnesia, so it had a promising start. But, then close to nothing happens for most of the book, as the girl’s rescuers try to figure out what happened and who the girl really is. Things pick up again toward the end, but I feel like a lot of things could have happened more quickly.
I get that there needed to be time for Beth and James to fall in love. This author likes her period romances. And I usually do too. But, besides this needing to happen, the middle of the book felt redundant and slow. And the romance felt almost too simple. There was nothing standing in the way of the romance except not knowing if Beth was engaged (pre-memory loss). And the other side characters had no romantic attachments at all. It felt like their soul purpose was to encourage Beth and James together…yet simultaneously, be weirdly more into the mystery of Beth than she even seemed to be…
I did like how dark things turned here. It was unexpectedly dark. And except for a few very obvious red herrings, I was surprised by the turn of events. Beth’s real family and background was fascinating for me. And I did not call it in advance. I also enjoyed the writing style Anstey knows how to write stories in this time period well. She knows her stuff. I just wish more things happened plot-wise to keep the story more interesting. I give this one a 7/10.

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