Book Review: "On Hummingbird Wings" by Lauraine Snelling

Summary from "But Mother is always dying," is Gillian Ormsby's sarcastic response when her younger, favored sister tells her that she has to go take care of their hypochondriac mother. Much against her will, since she and her mother never have gotten along, Gillian arrives in California to find the garden and yard dead, the blinds all drawn, and her mother indeed in bed—waiting to die. But when Gillian talks with the doctor, he assures her there's no medical reason behind her mother's state.

Now on a mission to restore her mother to health, Gillian insists Mother get out of bed, eat, exercise and hopefully, choose to live. She also sets about reviving the garden to its former glory, enlisting the help of Adam, a handsome man who owns a family gardening business with his father. Gillian is delighted when a pair of hummingbirds appear, and her friendship with Adam grows. Soon, Mother's health improves, and one day she announces she and her friend Enzio are going on a cruise. Before Gillian has time to turn around, her mother is gone and she is left high and dry again, and wondering, what is she going to do with the rest of her own life?

It always saddens me when a beloved author of mine, writes out of their normal genre and the results are not as favorable. Lauraine Snelling is one of my favorite historical romance authors. I've grown up reading her historical fiction series dealing with the Bjourkland family throughout the years. I love reading those books because Snelling puts a lot of historical detail with heart in those stories. Some of those books are great rereads and every time I read one, it feels like I'm reunited with old friends. However, her contemporary books have not had the same effect on me. This was one of those books.

Gillian has been living in New York City working for a big company when she loses her job. She returns to her family in California to take care of her mother who claims she is dying. Honestly Gillian has the patience of a saint. I probably would have gotten frustrated after the first day with just her mother, let alone her crazy sister. I didn't agree with all the things that she did, but for the most part I highly sympathized with her. I'm glad she found Adam because otherwise I do believe she would have gone bonkers.

It's never really mentioned what exactly was wrong with Dorothy, Gillian and Allie's mother. It's briefly hinted that she was depressed but as far as I could tell, we don't know what triggered it. She shows all the signs of it and it was quite sad that they couldn't help her. I found it very difficult to believe the sudden change in her character near the end of the book. I would have liked more interaction between her and her daughters. Apparently there is a lot from the past that has affected Gillian and Allie due to their mother's treatment of them but it's never fully resolved between the three of them.

Equally as annoying is Allie's character. I found her to be a grown up brat. She has severe passive aggressive issues and obviously has something going on that has been bothering her for years. Again, it's only slightly touched upon but I felt that the explanations that were given were very flimsy. She either has her mother's depression or something else major is going on with her. I hated how she treated her sister and her mother as well. Also I didn't buy her excuses of why she didn't answer her phone. Who keeps turning off their phone all the time? And never checking answering machine messages? And then has the nerve to blame others for not telling them things?

This was also another Christian fiction book where I felt that New York City (or any BIG metropolitan area in the US) is considered as, well not exactly evil, but not somewhere where you will find happiness. I'm getting a bit tired with the whole woman quitting job to find love and happiness in a small town back home plot. It just makes me feel like all these authors are against women being happy while being in a working environment.

As I said, this book is not my favorite of Snelling. I felt that the storyline wasn't concrete enough and the characters were not developed enough or were just plain annoying. It almost felt like the story wasn't fully finished yet there is nothing in the book that hints at a sequel. If you're looking to start with Snelling's book, I would recommend reading her historical fiction books over this one.

On Hummingbird Wings by Lauraine Snelling is published by Faithwords (2011)

This ARC was provided by the publisher


  1. I'm a city person so I can relate when you say you're sick of plots where women (usually but not always) find love and happiness back in the small town. Somehow that always disappoints me. I may look up some of here other books.


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