Four previous books by Paulette Mahurin I read and reviewed before I was notified by the author on the upcoming release of The Day I Saw The Hummingbird. The hummingbird turns out to be the harbinger of bad news to Oscar, born from two slaves on a sugarcane plantation in Lousiana on the eve of the Civil War. Mr. Prescott, the plantation owner, shot Oscar’s father to death and raped his mother several times. His cruelty towards little Oscar is somewhat limited by the help Oscar’s mother provided Prescott’s wife, With other slaves a plan to escape the plantation is worked out. A small bundle of slaves, among which the ten-year-old Oscar succeeded in escaping but with heavy losses along the Underground Railroad network towards states that are friendlier towards black people.
Added to the narrative are Oscar’s struggles with injustice and hate, and the power of language. Oscar was lucky to learn reading and writing at a young age and was helped to improve these skills in New York City where he arrived after an adventurous journey. Although the latter part of the story is told in a more summarized, condensed way compared to the years of slavery and the first part of the escape and stay in a safe house. The novel is a fine work of writing with a touch of limit linguistic capabilities of (former) slaves, and the point of view of a young boy haunted by man-made demons.
About the author
Paulette Mahurin lives with her husband Terry and two dogs, Max and Bella, in Ventura County, California. She grew up in West Los Angeles and attended UCLA, where she received a Master’s Degree in Science. While in college, she won awards and was published for her short-story writing. One of these stories, Something Wonderful, was based on the couple presented in His Name Was Ben, which she expanded into a fictionalized novel in 2014. Her first novel, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, made it to Amazon bestseller lists and won awards, including best historical fiction of the year 2012 in Turning the Pages Magazine. Her third novel, To Live Out Loud, won international critical acclaim and made it to multiple sites as favorite read book of 2015. Her fourth book, The Seven Year Dress, made it to the top ten best seller lists on Amazon U.S., Amazon U.K., and Amazon Australia. Semi-retired, she continues to work part-time as a Nurse Practitioner in Ventura County. When she’s not writing, she does pro-bono consultation work with women with cancer, works in the Westminster Free Clinic as a volunteer provider, volunteers as a mediator in the Ventura County Courthouse for small claims cases, and involves herself, along with her husband, in dog rescue. Profits from her books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.