Catherine Ryan Hyde (born 1955) is an American author who has written 36 books, including “Pay It Forward”, which was adapted into a movie. She has recently taken up horseback riding and dressage, and a beautiful horse Midnight features in her most recent book “Just After Midnight”.
“Just After Midnight” is a story about friendship, caring for others, trusting yourself and confronting your fears.
It follows the development of an unlikely friendship, between Faith, a woman in her late thirties who has just left an emotionally abusive marriage and Sarah, a teenager running from her father after her mother’s suspicious death.
Faith is at a crossroads in her life and going through a period of self doubt and uncertainty. She second guesses herself and can’t bear to face the man she has left. In leaving her relationship, she intends to abandon any right she has to their house and assets and start over from scratch. Sarah is grieving the death of her mother and trying to come to terms with what she witnessed on the night her mother died. She is also grieving the loss of her horse Midnight, which her father sold against her wishes. Sarah is a talented rider and has a special bond with Midnight, who she was devastated to lose.
Sarah has issues trusting people but finds herself drawn to Faith. Faith in turn feels an affinity to Sarah and takes her under her wing. While Sarah’s grandmother applies for custody, Faith helps Sarah to hide from her father. Sarah persuades Faith to take her to the horse Midnight, and they follow him from show to show around the countryside. Faith subconsciously takes on a mothering role to Sarah, advising, guiding and comforting her.
This book is easy to read, and both uplifting and heart rending. It is beautiful how Faith and Sarah help each other to appreciate their self worth and give each other courage to face their fears. They are both experiencing emotional upheaval and are coming to terms with different traumatic experiences. Maybe this is what draws them together.
I love reading books that make me reflect on relationships and hopefully better understand people and human nature. This book made me reflect on how relationships can spring up by chance and instinct. How facing confronting past issues can be empowering. And how focusing on and helping another person can give perspective to your own problems.
“I think very often in life we do something important for someone else for no better reason than they need us to. And really, when you think about it...what more reason is needed?”
- page 208 “Just After Midnight”