Monday, March 31, 2014

Review: Fly Away (Firefly Lane #2) by Kristin Hannah



Fly Away (Firefly Lane #2)


16044981Once, 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.

An emotionally complex, heart-wrenching novel about love, motherhood, loss, and new beginnings, Fly Away reminds us that where there is life, there is hope, and where there is love, there is forgiveness.


I am such a fan of Kristin Hannah.  She writes stories that resonate for months after you close the book.  I fell in love with the book Firefly Lane and was so excited when I heard a sequel was being written.  There are so many times when you finish reading a book and you constantly wonder what happened to the characters...were they OK, were they coping, were they really trying to find a way in their new set of circumstances.  

"Grief is a sneaky thing, always coming and going like some guest you didn't invite and can't turn away.  She wants this grief, although she'd never admit it.  Lately, it's the only thing that feels real." (Fly Away, Prologue)  

Like I said, I was wondering about Tully, Marah, the twins and Johnny.  How was the lost of Kate affecting each and every one of them?  I was so glad to be back with them in Fly Away.  I was glad to be with them, even in their grief.  To see what happened to them... to see where their paths lead them.  It was frustrating, difficult to read and heartbreaking to see how the void of Kate broke each person in their own way.  But to be on the journey and to see where they finally ended up brought many tears, relief and closure! 

I recommend that you read Firefly Lane first as it will add so much depth to this lifelong story about friendship, family and the unconditional power of love over loss.  4 stars




When it was first published, you described Firefly Lane as the book that hit closest to home for you. What is it about the story of Kate and Tully that continues to be so meaningful to you?

Of all the books I’ve written, Firefly Lane has the most of me on every page. I grew up in the town where the novel is set; I lived in the house that was described. I was very much of that era. I went to the University of Washington, and got the same degree as Kate and Tully did. The world of Firefly Lane is very much my world. Also, I lost my own mom to breast cancer. That’s a very personal story that I wanted to tell. Writing Firefly Lane was my way of looking back on the loss of my mom and understand­ing it as a woman. Additionally, I wanted to give readers some information about what to look for with breast cancer that maybe they didn’t know. So the book has a really important and personal mes­sage for me, too.
You have a lot of fans, readers who feel they know the people who populate your novel. How do you create such memorable characters? Do you know them before you write about them? Do you hear their voices? Talk to us about your literary imagina­tion. How do you bring your characters and stories to life?

You really just set out, as a writer, to write the truest, most honest character that you can come up with. For me, that tends to begin with back story. I believe that we are the sum of our experiences in life; this tends to be true for fictional characters as well. It’s very important that I know about their childhood, the defining moments in their lives, their losses, what their hopes and dreams are—all of these are impor­tant details for creating an honest character.

As for their voices: Well, I don’t hear their voices. I think I’d need some kind of medication if that were the case! But I do begin, after a lot of research and a lot of writing, to discover them. It’s like an archaeolo­gist uncovering the spine of a dinosaur in the sand; slowly, bit by bit, the bigger truth is revealed. That’s how I discover characters, by writing about them. Before I begin, I create lots of biological information. But the magic really happens when I start writing the scenes from a character’s viewpoint. I am often surprised by the voices they give themselves, and the way their dialogue happens—how they speak and what they have to say. Also, I see who the charactersare by their sense of humor. When I find what a character thinks is funny is when I actually begin to know them.

Some voices come to me very naturally and some voices are very difficult. Kate, for example, is the char­acter most like me: She came to me very easily. Tully’s was the most difficult voice that I needed to get rightbecause she is the farthest from me—absolutely my opposite in almost every way. And teenagers are diffi­cult. I really wanted to get the nuances right—both in the teenage mindset and voice and dialogue. Marah had some moments when I really had to dig deep and find out who she was. Johnny, surprisingly, always came pretty easily for me—I’m not sure why!

Kate tells us, from beyond the world of the novel, that Johnny will fall in love someday. Tully, too. Readers are no doubt wondering: Can we expect a follow-up to Fly Away?

I hope not! (Laughs.) I really thought that writing a sequel would be easy. Knowing all my characters, I thought it would be straightforward and simple to do. It turned out to be one of the hardest undertakings I’ve ever done as a writer. So I think I’m going to stick with when a novel is done, it’s done from now on.


What do you hope readers will take away from this novel, or from any of your novels?

I guess I hope, first and foremost, that my books are the sort of books that once you start you can’t put down. I just love a book in which you’re dying to know what happens, and how the end comes about. So I hope that mine make them feel that way, and that they learn to care deeply about the characters. And I hope that my novels reaffirm the importance of family and motherhood and caring for each other. In the world right now, it’s so important that we put the positive emotions front and center. If there’s a lesson at the heart of Fly Away it is that you can’t run from your problems or your failures; and, sometimes, if you stand your ground and dare to forgive, life can turn on a dime. You can make a second chance for yourself and the people you love.


Is there anything you’ve always wished a reader would ask you? What is that question—and how would you answer it?

Yes! I wish one reader one day would ask me to please write more slowly. Because what I get constantly is:” “Can’t you write any faster?”





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