"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Fly Away by Kristin Hannah

Fly Away
Author:  Kristin Hannah
Published:  April 2014
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Pages: 415
Includes:  Note from Author, Conversation With the Author, Behind the Novel (Kate and Tully's Playlist), Keep on Reading (ideas for book groups, recommended reading)
Genre:  General Fiction
Source:  a complimentary copy was provided by the publisher to facilitate this review.  Receipt thereof bears no influence over my opinion nor this review.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

As teenagers in the seventies, Tully Hart and Kate Mularky were inseparable. Tully, with her make-up and her halter tops, was the coolest girl in school. Kate, with her glasses and her high water jeans, was the geeky outsider. But chance and circumstance brought them together and through the decades they were devoted to each other. This was the story of Tully and Kate which began on a quiet street called Firefly Lane. Best friends forever.

But sometimes stories end, and we have to find a way to begin again.

Now, years later, Tully is a woman trying to deal with the loss of her best friend. She wants to fulfill her promise to Kate—to be there for Kate’s children, but it’s a promise she has no idea how to carry out. What does brash, lonely, ambitious Tully know about being part of a family?

Kate's daughter, sixteen-year-old Marah Ryan, is as lost in her grief as Tully is...until she falls in love with a young man who makes her smile again and leads her into his dangerous, shadowy world.

Tully's mother, Dorothy Hart, is an unstable woman who abandoned her child too many times in the past and ultimately broke her heart. Now, when Tully is in danger of losing everything and is more vulnerable and alone than she’s been since she put those rough childhood years behind her, Dorothy returns once more, desperate for another chance to be a good mother. But can she be trusted this time? To help her daughter, Dorothy must face her darkest fears and reveal the terrible secret in her past--only then can she become the mother her wounded daughter needs.

A tragedy will bring these three women together and set them on a poignant, powerful journey of redemption. Each has lost her way and they will need each other—and maybe a miracle—to transform their lives…

My Thoughts:

I believe Fly Away is the first Kristin Hannah novel I've had the pleasure of reading and let me tell you, what a ride!  I shed so many tears over this one.  There's so much pain, anguish, and agony balanced with love, hope, desire, yearning, identity.... Hannah writes fluidly of the emotions, thoughts and fears one faces when someone they love so dear dies.  How does one go on?  How do you face tomorrow when your anchor has loosened and no longer holds?

When Kate dies of cancer, her husband Johnny is at a loss at how to be the parent their three children need.  It hurts to talk; it hurts to share the grief; it hurts to see the pain in his children's eyes, particularly his sixteen year old daughter's eyes.  Tully, Kate's best friend since childhood, tries to fulfill her promise to be there for the family but her grief is so intense.  She's lost her anchor.  She tries to be there for the family but she too has pain from the past that pervades her almost every living moment.  She's lost her career and her best friend.  Each day is a struggle.

This could have been one of those novels with a typical formula of loss, love, betrayal and a predictable ending but it isn't!  I'm impressed with Hannah's ability to take Fly Away in a different direction, one that isn't totally predictable.  She writes the characters so vividly, the plot so intricate and intense, the narrative an interesting combination of first person and third person; it's a refreshing formula.

If you yearn for a novel that will reach out and tug at your heart strings, make you angry, disgusted, anguished, tearful and yet bring it all together with hope and love; then Fly Away fulfills perfectly.  It's a novel that stays with you. 

Favourite quotes:

"Someday, if they were lucky, they'd learn what needed to be held close in life, and what wasn't worth worrying over."

"I feel her coming closer; it is like firelight drawing near."

"When someone hip-bumps you or tells you that it's not all about you or when our music plays: Listen and you'll hear me in all of it.  I'm in your memories."

Meet the Author:
Kristin Hannah is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-one books.  A former lawyer turned writer, she is the mother of one son and lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii.  Visit her at www.kristinhannah.com or on Facebook.

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