Saturday, January 16, 2021

Audio Review: Firefly Lane (Firefly Lane #1) by Kristin Hannah

From the New York Times bestselling author of On Mystic Lake comes a powerful novel of love, loss, and the magic of friendship. . . .

In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. Then, to her amazement, the “coolest girl in the world” moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all---beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn. Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her. They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer’s end they’ve become TullyandKate. Inseparable.

So begins Kristin Hannah’s magnificent new novel. Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the ever-changing face of the Pacific Northwest, Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the bulkhead of their lives.

From the beginning, Tully is desperate to prove her worth to the world. Abandoned by her mother at an early age, she longs to be loved unconditionally. In the glittering, big-hair era of the eighties, she looks to men to fill the void in her soul. But in the buttoned-down nineties, it is television news that captivates her. She will follow her own blind ambition to New York and around the globe, finding fame and success . . . and loneliness.

Kate knows early on that her life will be nothing special. Throughout college, she pretends to be driven by a need for success, but all she really wants is to fall in love and have children and live an ordinary life. In her own quiet way, Kate is as driven as Tully. What she doesn’t know is how being a wife and mother will change her . . . how she’ll lose sight of who she once was, and what she once wanted. And how much she’ll envy her famous best friend. . . .

For thirty years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship---jealousy, anger, hurt, resentment. They think they’ve survived it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart . . . and puts their courage and friendship to the ultimate test.

Firefly Lane is for anyone who ever drank Boone’s Farm apple wine while listening to Abba or Fleetwood Mac. More than a coming-of-age novel, it’s the story of a generation of women who were both blessed and cursed by choices. It’s about promises and secrets and betrayals. And ultimately, about the one person who really, truly knows you---and knows what has the power to hurt you . . . and heal you. Firefly Lane is a story you’ll never forget . . . one you’ll want to pass on to your best friend.

Narrated by: Susan Ericksen
Series: Girls of Firefly Lane, Book 1
Length: 17 hrs and 54 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 04-29-08
3/5 stars

I have read some of Kristin Hannah's latest books, The NightingaleThe Great Alone and Winter Garden, her latest Four Winds has already been preordered.  These all are historical which is my favorite genre.  Slowly making my way through her backlist I grabbed Firefly Lane because it comes out next month on Netflix and I took that as opportunity to read the book first, we all know the book is always better, right?

It's 1974 when Kate and Tully are only in grade 8, not friends yet.  The author did a great job with the first part of this book.  I loved getting to know both these girls, learning who they are, where they came from and how they finally become friends.  Personality wise they are opposites but once the friendship is sealed its sealed.  From there the story continued and I liked watching them grow up and develop into strong young women - it wasn't always an easy path.

I loved the era, it's the same time I grew up in.  It was like a walk down memory lane with the music, news events and even books read.  I could relate to what these girls went through in terms of a career vs staying at home, dating and relationships.

I know that I'm going against popular opinion but I struggled about half way through this book. The pace slowed down, personalities changed and things didn't add much to the story. Coming in at almost 500 pages (depending  what format you read), that's a lot of pages and my attention just started to wean.  

Sorry if this a spoiler but the blurb talks about a big betrayal, I kept waiting for it. It ended up coming too late and was predictable. At that point I was not as invested as I should have been.  Maybe if the author took off 100 pages it might have worked better for me.

All in all the book started as a 4 and slowly went downhill, round off to a 3.  There is a sequel to this book, Fly Away.  Given my feelings for some of the main players I'll most likely pass.  Kristin Hannah's new book,  Four Winds releases next month and I am looking forward to reading it.

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