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Chasing Windmills by Catherine Ryan Hyde
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Chasing Windmills

by Catherine Ryan Hyde

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‘Chasing Windmills’ is told from the perspective of two very different young people, both of whom are spending hours each evening travelling around on the underground in their city. Sebastian is seventeen, and has been brought up by a very controlling father. He’s a likeable and intelligent young man who is beginning to make a push for independence.

Maria lives with an equally controlling boyfriend, Carl. They have two small children. Maria recently lost her job but she hasn’t told Carl. So there's tension early in the book as Sebastian and Maria meet and begin to make friends, both terrified of being found out.

The story is a bit slow-moving in the early chapters; but the time I was by half-way through, I could barely put the book down. It’s a powerful story, well crafted and very readable.

Recommended for those who like hard-hitting women’s fiction. ( )
  SueinCyprus | May 8, 2017 |
Maria and Sebastian find one another riding the subway in the middle of the night. Both are escaping. Their story is one of finding courage and freedom, even when things don't quite turn out as you might hope. At times it is heart-rending and painful to read.

Very enjoyable and hard not to find out what the next chapter leads to. ( )
  pamjw | Feb 6, 2017 |
A 21st century version of Romeo and Juliette.

A chance meeting on a subway car changes the lives of everyone in the book. A small cast of characters, each more interesting than the next. A collection of life's traumas and questions. Some to be identified with and some, hopefully, not.

Its not a mystery and its not a thriller, and I would not describe it as a romance ... its a simple little book ... yet it had me in a state of pleasant tension through the whole read.

( )
  ChristineEllei | Jul 14, 2015 |
Upon first meeting Sabastian and Maria at the beginning of this book, I knew I had discovered an author I really liked in Catherine Ryan Hyde. The action in New York in the first half of the book was gripping as the story unfolded, but once they got on the bus for the long journey to the Mojave Desert and a mother Sabastian had not seen in over a decade, I began to feel uncomfortable. Once there, it seemed as though Sabastian and Maria would find the happiness together they truly deserved. But the author decided to make one more unsettling change at the end and I was left feeling sadness for the two young lovers and dissapointment that the story had ended the way it did. But would I recommend it to a friend? You bet! ( )
  fdrury | Oct 5, 2014 |
I think that Catherine Ryan Hyde might just be my new favorite author. I've read two of her books recently and am about to start a third. In discovering this author, I feel like I have found someone who gets to the very basis of what makes us human, what makes us need and hurt. She is a master developer of characters with real motivations and authentic voices.

Chasing Windmills is an emotional roller coaster, and much of the ride left me feeling panicked. I just never felt comfortable putting this book down because I had to find out what was going to happen to the main characters. And, this book goes back and forth between two main characters. So the suspense was heightened at the end of each section.

The female main character, Maria, is a young mother in her twenties. She is living with her high school boyfriend, who is anything but a sweetheart. She frequently has bruises from his violent outbursts and has taken to riding the subway at night while she's supposed to be at work. Her boyfriend can't know that she was fired from her job, and Maria needs the escape that the subway brings to keep her sanity.

And then she meets Sebastian. He's not yet eighteen, but can't wait for his birthday. Ever since his mother died when he was a young boy, his overprotective father has kept him a virtual prisoner in his apartment. Every element of Sebastian's life is controlled by his father. Sebastian has no friends, except for an elderly neighbor woman who lives in his building. He rides the subway at night as a way to cure his insomnia. When he meets Maria, she's all he can think of.

It isn't long before these lonely souls start dreaming of an escape. But, with Maria's increasingly abusive and obsessive boyfriend and Sebastian's neurotic father watching their every move, how is Maria going to get her two young children, herself to safety?

This is a gripping story that does not offer up any easy answers to the main characters' situations. I loved the quiet tension and pain that the author created for these characters. They were not loud, but suffering in silence in a huge city. I can't help but think that there are too many real-life Marias and Sebastians who are looking for a way out of their painful day-today existences. Hopefully, books like this one will show these young people the possibilities that exist when you seek help in getting to a safe place. ( )
  mrsderaps | Dec 19, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385521278, Hardcover)

Catherine Ryan Hyde, bestselling author of Pay It Forward, returns with a provocative tour de force on first love—a modern-day rendering of West Side Story born on a New York City subway car and nurtured under the windmills of the Mojave Desert.

The subway doors open and close, and in one moment Sebastian’s and Maria’s lives are changed forever. Rendered in Catherine Ryan Hyde’s stirring and evocative prose, CHASING WINDMILLS is a poignant love story that will leave you yearning for a subway ride that is a fraction as enchanting.

Letting go becomes the purest expression of love in this extraordinary novel by the bestselling author of Pay It Forward, Catherine Ryan Hyde.

Both Sebastian and Maria live in a world ruled by fear. Sebastian, a lonely seventeen-year-old, is suffocating under his dominant father’s control. In the ten years since his mother passed away, his father has kept him “safe” by barely allowing him out of their apartment. Sebastian’s secret late-night subway rides are rare acts of rebellion. another is a concealed friendship with his neighbor Delilah, who encourages him to question his father’s version of reality. Soon it becomes unclear whether even his mother’s death was a lie.

Maria, a young mother of two, is trying to keep peace at home despite her boyfriend’s abuse. When she loses her job, she avoids telling him by riding the subways during her usual late-night shift. She knows her sister, Stella, is right: She needs to “live in the truth” and let the chips fall where they may. But she still hasn’t been able to bring herself to do it. And soon he will expect her paycheck to arrive.

When Sebastian and Maria wind up on the same train, their eyes meet across the subway car, and these two strangers find a connection that neither can explain or ignore. Together they dream of a new future, agreeing to run away and find Sebastian’s grandmother in the Mojave Desert. But Maria doesn’t know Sebastian is only seventeen. And Sebastian doesn’t know Maria has children until the moment they leave. Ultimately, Maria brings one child, her daughter. Can she really leave her little boy behind? And, if not, what will it cost her to face her furious jilted abuser?

In this tremendously moving novel, Catherine Ryan Hyde shows us how two people trapped by life’s circumstances can break free and find a place in the world where love is genuine and selfless.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:21 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Two people trapped by life's circumstances break free and find a place in the world where love is genuine and selfless. By the author of Pay It Forward.

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Catherine Ryan Hyde is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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