Both the bandit and the gentleman were wounded in the same train robbery in frontier Colorado and left on Abigail McKenzie's doorstep to nurse back to life. Gentle, loving David, promising her a happiness she'd lost hope of finding, was all a lady could wish for. Jesse stood for everything she hated: he was rude, violent, roughly handsome and disturbingly sensual. But it was Jesse's mocking mouth that troubled her dreams, Jesse who made her feel a hundred things a lday should never know, Jesse who challenged her every waking hour. She fought him with all the stiff propriety her stubborn will commanded ... but in her burned the aching embers of love too long denied - love that would force her to a choice no woman should ever have to make.
Hummingbird is such an example of a beautiful tale of two souls joined together by chance, laughter, anger, heartache, and perseverance; perseverance of one's heart, mind and soul to not only survive but to live, to live through your emotions and break free of your fears and insecurities and embrace an imperfect love with extreme passion and heart.
It isnt hard to understand why this book was an award winner.* The hero and heroine are intelligent and are willing to fight over anything. Their banter is often laugh-out-loud funny. Oh, and the plot grabs the reader from the first page.
Miss Abigail MacKenzie is a 33 year-old spinster and her money is almost gone. She goes to the local restaurant, hoping to get a job; no one is around. She hears arguing and loud talking and walks over to see if the restaurant owner is amongst the crowd. Instead, she hears the town doctor asking for a paid volunteer to help tend 2 men taken from the train.
It seems that one man was trying to rob the train and another shot him, thus saving the train. However, the second man lost his large toe during an exchange of fire. The hero with the lost toe is expected to recover soon; but the train robbers prognosis is dicey. Hes lost so much blood and has lost more during surgery to remove the bullet from his groin area.
No one volunteers; then Abigail steps forward. She had cared for her incontinent father for 12 years, until his death the previous year. In spite of her experience, the doctor tries to dissuade her from taking the job because she is unmarried (the assumption being she would be unable to touch or attend his wound without swooning).
Abigail candidly explains that she needs the job and that her financial situation is dire. Shes hired and the fun begins. The stranger who lost a toe is a travelling shoe salesman; he is a gentleman in speech and actions. Hes immediately smitten with Abigail.
A few days later, the robber awakens from the medicine the doctor has been giving. Hes brash, angry and looking to take his pain out on someone and Abigail fits the bill nicely.
My only criticism is that the book was at least 50 pages longer than it needed to be. However, I read the book in only a few hours; I couldnt put it down.
* Rita Award: Hummingbird won Best Novel for 1984
Actually this author won an incredible 5 Best Novel Rita Awards in 7 years!
This is indeed a keeper. Every now and then I pull it out for another read -
This feisty romance between the town's good girl spinster and the very bad boy train robber is a hoot and a half. I loved the characters realizations of what they were and were not - and what they wanted to be and to have. But this would not be a Tracy/Hepburn movie - I see it as more of a Hepburn/Ulrich (better moustache).
This is my favorite LaVyrle Spencer book. Abby is sweet and tough all at the same time, and Jesse is pretty much like you'd expect any would be train robber to be. Wicked, and deliciously so. This book is definitely in my small collection of romance novels that will stay on my shelf forever. These characters are to be treasured, and its just a sweet, wonderful love story. Do you settle, or do you go for it all? It's wonderful reading as these two work on answering that question.
After a shootout on a train leaves two men wounded, the local doctor needs someone to help take care of them. Needing money, Miss Abigail MacKenzie steps up to volunteer. David tried to stop the train robbery and was shot in the toe. His gentle wooing and love of sonnets makes Abigail think he may be the man of her dreams. Trainrobber Jesse is in bad shape when he arrives. As Abbie nurses him back to health, she finds he is everything she hates...he is rude, violent and disturbingly sensual. Abbie thinks she may be able to build a life with David, but why is it Jesse she sees in her dreams?
I liked this book and enjoyed Abbie and Jesse's verbal sparring. I also liked their conversations when they finally stopped fighting and started listening to each other. I didn't like the 50+ pages where the hero disappeared from the book. That really slowed down the story. My rating: 4 Stars.
Overall this was a good book to read. My only complaint is that the author goes on and on and on and made me almost loose intrest in reading the book. Miss Abigail is stuck between what she thinks is right and what her heart tells her to do, but in the end the hero ends up getting the prize.