Title: The Hummingbird Dagger
Author: Cindy Anstey
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: April 16, 2019
Genres: Historical, Mystery, Young Adult
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The Hummingbird Dagger
Swoon Reads, April 2019
From the author of Suitors and Sabotage comes a suspenseful and enthralling new Regency novel, perfect for readers who like their Jane Austen classics with a side of mystery and murder.
1833. A near-fatal carriage accident has deposited an unconscious young woman on the doorstep of Hardwick Manor and into the care of young Lord James Ellerby. But when she finally awakens, it is with no memory of who she is or where she came from.
Beth, as she calls herself, has no identity; the only clue to her circumstances is a recurring nightmare of a hummingbird, blood dripping from its steel beak.
With the help of James and his sister, Caroline, Beth tries to solve the mystery of her own identity and the appalling events that brought her to their door. But nothing could prepare her for the escalating dangers that threaten her and the Ellerby clan. From the hazardous cliffs of Dorset to the hostile streets of London, Beth will fight to reclaim her past, hunted by a secretive foe with murderous intentions.
Years ago, when I was a mere whippersnapper 😉 , I was really into the Regency era and read voraciously, both fiction and nonfiction. While the Regency Period historically lasted only from 1811 to 1820, the accepted definition of Regency Period literature is broader, generally from just after the French Revolution to about 1830 or so, just before the Victorian era. As time went on, I drifted away from the period and, as often happens with readers, my tastes changed and my interest moved on to other times.
Then, not long ago, I began to read a bit again in the period and Cindy Anstey was one of the authors who pulled me back in. This time, the setting is just a little beyond the Regency era but it’s close enough to not matter and I continue to regain my appreciation of the time, thanks at least in part to The Hummingbird Dagger. Ms. Anstey has created a nice blend of mystery, dark happenings and romance with a dash of mayhem, making this a fun book to read, although I do think the plotting left something to be desired.
What should be (based on the particulars) a crafty and intriguing mystery dragged somewhat and it took too long to begin unraveling things and, while I liked the characters, I didn’t think their behavior rang true to the period. Still, I wanted to know what had happened to Beth (did real people of the time use nicknames such as “Beth”?) and how the Ellerbys and Beth would figure things out. As the clues began to add up and a murder occurred, I became more invested in Beth’s past and what might still be endangering her and those around her.
The characters need more chemistry and the plot could use less—MUCH less—talking and more action but, all in all, this was a pleasant read and I’ll check out more of Ms. Anstey’s books.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, April 2019.
About the Author
Whenever she is not sitting at the computer, throwing a ball in the backyard, gardening or reading, Cindy can be found–actually, not found–adventuring around the world with her hubby.
She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.
Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester.
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I love all Jane Austen-esque writing and I’m happy to see an offering geared towards young adults. Perhaps they won’t mind the failings in plot as much?
As to the name Beth… Little Women featured a Beth, although it was set a bit later in the mid- 1800s. And wasn’t there a Beth in the Little House series? Gosh, it’s been forever since I’ve read any of those. Of course, both of those are set in America instead of Britain so that may account for the name.
Thanks for being on the tour! This sounds like a fun, well written mystery! 🙂