Faith – very recently separated from her emotionally abusive husband Robert, Faith is living at her family’s California beach house to re-access her life and come to terms with her new situation. She realizes that she has turned into a person who has great difficulty trusting others.
Sarah – a fourteen year old girl who is an expert dressage rider. Just weeks ago her Mum died. She is distanced from her Dad, and her beloved horse Midnight has just been sold. To say that she is going through an ultra traumatic time would be understating it.Midnight – a nine year old mare who, for the last six years was a one woman horse. Midnight loves her young owner, almost as much as her owner loves her. She is a very sensitive horse who has been lovingly trained in dressage.Having no particular knowledge of, or, interest in horses, I have had this novel on my Kindle for several years and am only now getting to it. I have to say, this novel will make a horse lover of everyone. Mostly though, this is a well written story of two people trying to get through some extremely difficult circumstances… together.
Set in a stiflingly hot California summer, the story follows Faith and Sarah on their interlude between trauma and starting over. Faith, who is in her late thirties and childless, takes Sarah into her life in a way that is equal parts motherly and friendly. Faith empathizes with Sarah in a way no one else can at just the right time in Sarah’s life to form a meaningful and long lasting connection.
As during part of the story the two main protagonists are living in an unused horse stall, I learned a lot about horses and the proprietorial lingo of ‘dressage‘.
Fresh starts, learning to trust your own instincts, self knowledge, having empathy for other people, and the kindness of strangers are the themes running throughout this story.
This is a novel that will be highly appreciated by readers who enjoy a good ‘overcoming adversity’ story as well as those who are interested in the equestrian world and animal lovers of every persuasion. Recommended!
This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I purchased a digital copy of this novel from Amazon.com. This book was published by Lake Union Publishing in December of 2018.
ISBN: 9781503904859 – ASIN: B07CRDZYBR – 331 pages
I thought it would be fun to include a link to a YouTube video of the Equestrian Dressage Individual Final from the 2016 Rio Olympics.
A few of my favorite quotes from this novel:
“Sometimes people are scared of a thing that won’t hurt them. But they’re not scared for no reason. They’re just not scared for the reason they think they are.”
“When you really love someone, you want them to be happy. Even if it can’t be with you.”
Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of more than thirty published and forthcoming books. In addition to writing, she is an avid hiker, traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer.
Her novel Pay It Forward was adapted into a major motion picture, and translated into more than twenty-three languages for distribution in over thirty countries.
More than fifty of her short stories have been published in various anthologies and journals. Her stories have been honored by the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and the Tobias Wolff Award and nominated for Best American Short Stories, the O’Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have been cited in Best American Short Stories.
She is founder and former president (2000–2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation and still serves on its board of directors. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.