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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Fly Away by Kristin Hannah

Fly Away by Kristin Hannah
Published by St. Martin's Press ISBN 978-0-312-57721-6
Hardcover, $27.99, 400 pages
Spoiler Alert: If you have not read the first book in the series and plan to do so, DO NOT read this review.

Readers who were devastated by the ending to Kristin Hannah's novel Firefly Lane had better buckle their seat belts for the beginning of her long awaited sequel, Fly Away. We watch the family of Kate grieve horribly for her and then fast forward to four years later when another tragedy befalls them.

Johnny didn't know how to go on without the love of his life Kate, and after her funeral he packs up his family for a week in Hawaii. His seven-year-old twin boys are distracted by the trip, but sixteen year-old Marah needs her friends to help her get through her grief, something her father doesn't understand.

Marah is taking her mother's death very hard, mostly because they had a rocky relationship during Marah's teen years. She feels so guilty that they wasted valuable fighting when they didn't know how little time they had left.

Johnny doesn't know how to reach his daughter and as she slips farther away, it seems that everything he does is wrong, including moving them all to Los Angeles for a fresh start. He needs to move away from the memories, neglecting to understand that Marah needs to cling to them.

Meanwhile Tully, who walked away from her successful Oprah-like talk show to care for Kate during her last months, has lost her career. She promised to be there for Kate's family, but she has no experience and her efforts end in disaster.

With no job, no boyfriend and Kate's family estranged from her, Tully spirals out of control. She drinks, she takes too many prescription pills and she can't seem to pull herself out. All Tully wants is to matter to someone, and after being rejected many times over by her mother Cloud, she feels bereft.

Tully doesn't know that her mother, now using her given name Dorothy, has changed her life. She hit rock bottom, and is now living a simple life in their old home on Firefly Lane. Does she have the strength to be there for her daughter when she needs her most, after all the years of neglect?

Marah meanwhile has become involved with troubled young man she met in a grief group therapy. She lives in a crummy apartment with several hangers-on, working a dead-end job and has no contact with her family.

Hannah weaves Marah's, Tully's and Dorothy's stories together with a deft touch. The tragic event that brings them together upends their lives and forces each of them to dig deep inside themselves to discover who they really are.

I read Fly Away immediately after reading the prequel Firefly Lane, and that was a good decision. I became so invested in these wonderful characters and wanted to yell at them when they did something stupid or selfish and hug them when they needed it. I tore through both books and cried endlessly. Hannah can really push the emotion button on me.

To all those who waited years for this sequel, I believe they will feel that the wait was worth it. Revisiting these unforgettable characters was a trip worth taking.

rating 5 of 5

My review of Firefly Lane is here.
My blog post of Kristin Hannah's visit to Barnes & Noble is here.
 Kristin Hannah's website is here. 

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