Monday, June 16, 2014

Fly Away by Kristin Hannah

4 Star

Once, a long time ago, I walked down a night-darkened road called Firefly Lane, all alone, on the worst night of my life, and I found a kindred spirit. That was our beginning. More than thirty years ago. TullyandKate. You and me against the world. Best friends forever. But stories end, don’t they? You lose the people you love and you have to find a way to go on. . . .

Tully Hart has always been larger than life, a woman fueled by big dreams and driven by memories of a painful past. She thinks she can overcome anything until her best friend, Kate Ryan, dies. Tully tries to fulfill her deathbed promise to Kate--to be there for Kate’s children--but Tully knows nothing about family or motherhood or taking care of people.

Sixteen-year-old Marah Ryan is devastated by her mother’s death. Her father, Johnny, strives to hold the family together, but even with his best efforts, Marah becomes unreachable in her grief. Nothing and no one seems to matter to her . . . until she falls in love with a young man who makes her smile again and leads her into his dangerous, shadowy world.

Dorothy Hart--the woman who once called herself Cloud--is at the center of Tully’s tragic past. She repeatedly abandoned her daughter, Tully, as a child, but now she comes back, drawn to her daughter’s side at a time when Tully is most alone. At long last, Dorothy must face her darkest fear: Only by revealing the ugly secrets of her past can she hope to become the mother her daughter needs.

A single, tragic choice and a middle-of-the-night phone call will bring these women together and set them on a poignant, powerful journey of redemption. Each has lost her way, and they will need one another--and maybe a miracle--to transform their lives.

Rebecca- 4 Star

This is not a cheery novel. As early as chapter five I was surprised to find myself welling up in an embarrassing fashion at the poolside whilst my son had his swimming lesson. The following day I was mortified to find I’d done the school run with mascara-smudge racoon eyes as a result of grabbing a few minutes reading before I left home (I’m still a bit annoyed nobody told me; clearly Canadians are far too polite!) Still Kristin Hannah’s ability to draw you into the emotional landscape of this book is impressive and makes it a gripping read.

Fly Away is in fact a sequel to one of Hannah's previous novels 'Firefly Lane' but don’t let that put you off, I haven’t read the first book that apparently charts Tully and Kate’s friendship up to Kate’s death, but this novel stands on it’s own. Equally I didn’t ever get the sense of the author having to ‘fill me in’ on previous events in a clumsy fashion as is often the case in sequels. There are several voices in this book and the action often flashes back to show you an incident from a different perspective. I thought this was done quite artfully, leaving me feel that my understanding of the dynamics of the relationships between the characters was enhanced and I wasn’t, as you might expect, bored by the repetition. My main gripe is that we also have (dead) Kate’s voice to contend with; she has conversations with comatose Tully which I found implausible and (probably as I hadn’t read the first novel) unnecessary; I thought there were enough voices already and she seemed ridiculously serene and philosophical about her family and friends falling apart in the wake of her death. This is a small quibble with an otherwise excellent read – which I highly recommend. Just watch out for embarrassing blubbing in public.

Thank you to St.Martin's Press for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

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