When provided with a cart full of ARC’s to choose from, The Hummingbird Dagger stood out for two reasons, the word dagger hinted at murder which I shamelessly enjoy, and the cover felt both spooky and historical. It had all the makings of what I was picturing to be a great ghost story. Upon reading the summary I realized I was probably wrong, but it still sounded like historical fiction, a mystery, and maybe even horror. I was sold!
This book is not horror, but it is a historical mystery, and better yet one set in Jane Austenesque England. After his younger brother causes a carriage accident, James, Lord Ellerby, is desperate to help the young woman who seems to be the only one injured in the crash. When she wakes up, she has no memories and can only come up with the name Beth, she is however being plagued by nightmares of a hummingbird and a pool of blood. The entire Ellerby family becomes invested in finding Beth’s true identity, and as it becomes clear that she is in danger, solving the mystery of the hummingbird dagger in her dreams.
When I say this novel is Jane Austenesque, I very much mean it. It is primarily the characters sitting around in their drawing room, morning room, or other location talking. It has the very slow building and innocent romance, and all the things that go along with the life of Lords and Ladies. While I thoroughly enjoyed this (this is my favorite time period to read from!) I know that it is certainly not typical for teens to enjoy such a slow plot. The mystery did add a little something to help keep readers invested, however it takes a very long time to reach any conclusions. This may easily lead to folks who prefer a lot of action getting bored, so choose your reader carefully.
This is also another of those books that is marketed as a Young Adult novel, but I feel may be better suited for an adult audience. While technically some characters are teens, the majority of the main characters are adults, young adults yes (18-21), but in this time and setting that means something quite different than it does today. Of course, there are those teens who already love Jane Austen and the Bronte’s and would be head over heels for this book, so don’t discount it entirely!