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The Hardest Part of Love

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In the tradition of Jodi Picoult, a powerful, thought-provoking story from this bestselling Richard and Judy Book Club author. Originally published as Electric God in 2001.

About the Author

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of, amongst other novels, Love in the Present Tense, which was selected for the Richard & Judy Book Club in 2007. Catherine lives in California.


Hayden Reese seems a modern Job, and no wonderÄat 50, he has lost virtually everything that ever mattered to him, and he's clinging to life after being shot by an angry husband whose wife he loved. His troubles began early; in his mid-teens, Hayden was powered by hatred for his cruel and irrational father and burdened with guilt over the death of his younger brother. In the early years of his marriage his losses continued, some of them exacerbated by Hayden himself, a big, powerful man whose fear makes him mean and whose fists alone can do dreadful damage. Well schooled in the Bible, Hayden finds parallels with Jonah as well, as he wrestles with a higher power who tests him harshly. Eventually, Hayden comes to term with God and finds the greatest heroism in the act of forgiveness. In Hayden Reese, Hyde has created an exceptionally complex, unforgettable character, and she tells his story skillfully in remarkably clean, economical prose. A worthy successor to Pay It Forward (LJ 11/15/99), this should meet with the same success, especially in the light of the film version of the previous book. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 8/00.]ÄMichele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

"A heroic, superbly crafted novel worth reading again and again and again" * The Denver Post * "Ryan Hyde spins her tale so effortlessly that the reader closes the book with a quiet sense of elation" * San Francisco Chronicle *

Hayden Reese has never cried. Not when his younger brother died 36 years ago, not when his son died at birth, not even when, 15 years ago, he ended up in jail for assaulting his daughter's boyfriend and lost his wife and family. In Hyde's (Pay It Forward) latest novel of redemption and forgiveness, 50-year-old Hayden is a present-day Job, living alone in a little cabin in Northern California, reading the Tao Te Ching and attempting to control the violent outbursts that have plagued him all his life. Just as he thinks he has touched bottom, his girlfriend, Laurel, returns to her husband, whom Hayden beats up, getting shot and almost killed for his pains. In the hospital, Hayden is tended to by a feisty lady surgeon, and gets a second chance to reconcile with his past and set a new direction for the future. The natural cadences of Hyde's prose; her clever, realistic dialogue; her sharp descriptions of hard-scrabble country; and her warm humor raise the novel from the level of Touched by an Angel to that of a complex tale of one man's struggle to make sense of life. Inspirational rather than preachy or sentimental, the book wields the emotional power to be expected from a story of family, dogs, justice and self-reliance. (Dec.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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