A Midnight Feast
After months of watching NASA videos on YouTube of shuttle launches and various spacecrafts and astronaut interviews and the movie Hidden Figures, this sixth book in the Fly Me to the Moon series fell on fertile imagination and I loved it.
Former World War II pilot Mitch Dunsford loves his job as an astronaut with the space program in Houston. Margie Dunsford relishes her role leading other astronaut wives, knows everyone on the base and runs her house perfectly, bringing up six children, and throwing exemplary parties. Despite the couple’s deep enjoyment of their work, their personal life brings them great sorrow.
There is a lot of story packed into A Midnight Feast‘s short length. It is intensely emotional and charts a marriage that over the years has deteriorated under pressure from a difficult and all-consuming career and six children into burgeoning resentment and studied indifference and no sexual connection.
She felt like a jar that had been emptied and washed.
One Thanksgiving, when their children are away at their grandparents’ place and the party Margie has planned falls through, Mitch and Margie find themselves facing a dinner for just the two of them. A mad bout of sex later, they sit down to eat and finally broach the subject of their marriage and what they want to do about it.
Margie and Mitch show tremendous courage in recognizing that, buried deep under all the agony, is love and that it’s a love worth fighting for for. So often nowadays, people in troubled relationships seem to take the roiling emotions on the surface as a reason to separate, but it takes honesty and a great deal of self-awareness to examine your heart and mind to uncover the truth.
Falling in love with your husband once was all well and good. Falling in love with him all over again — now that was magic.
I liked Mitch and Margie tremendously for having the bravery to trust that tarnished love and to work to rediscover the magic of those halcyon days of their early married life.
…she went to fold laundry, because even when the foundation of her life had shifted and everything she thought she knew was proved to be wrong they all still needed clean linens.
I enjoyed the way in which the couple works within the confines of the quotidian to carve out meaningful moments for themselves. This is not a we’re trapped together so we might as well talk kind of a story. This marriage feels true to life, where family and love are central to all the reasons their marriage is important to them. Playing with the kids and folding laundry are just as important as mind-blowing sex.
This is a carefully crafted book in which the authors have shown in great depth, with some back and forth in timelines, the increasing negativity of Mitch and Margie’s relationship. So it was disconcerting when that one conversation around the Thanksgiving table results in a swift turnaround of their emotions, and after it, they start trusting each other again and go from having separate beds to having a strong sexual awareness of each other. It’s too sudden, and while the trajectory of their second chance is gradual, the continuously upward movement is a bit much. In the normal course of things, I would’ve expected to have seen setbacks and do-overs, but there is none of that here.
I agreed with the authors’ characterization of Mitch as the one who needed to compromise the most, since it was Margie who’d previously sacrificed so much for his career, but emotionally, I felt that they were on par – each was equally guilty of shutting the other out. So it was fascinating to see how the couple maneuver around who gives what where, who compromises on this or that, all with the end goal of celebrating their love and family to build a stronger marriage.
If, like me, you see stars in your eyes at the thought of NASA or are a fan of the 1960s or you simply enjoy well-researched, well-written books, A Midnight Feast is the story for you.