In FIREFLY LANE, Kristin Hannah gave readers a heartfelt portrait of the evolution of a lifelong friendship. Tallulah (Tully) and Kate were so close as teenagers that their names became merged in people's minds ("TullyandKate"). As adults, they drifted apart, only to find out just how much they needed each other after all.
Now, five years after the publication of FIREFLY LANE, Hannah has written a follow-up to this breakout novel. FLY AWAY both sheds additional light on these two women's friendship and allows readers to understand their families even more.
"Fans will be eager to reenter the world of FIREFLY LANE, and the additional depth of characterization and emotion will make them even happier that they've returned."
Kate died from cancer about four years prior to the opening of FLY AWAY. It's been a long four years for her family. Her husband, Johnny, has struggled with raising their children while trying to overcome his own overwhelming grief. And her daughter, Marah, who was 16 when Kate died, has grown increasingly angry, bitter and distant from Johnny, to the point of estrangement. It's clear that Kate's family is far from healed.
As for Tully, she hasn't been taking Kate's death any easier. She tried and failed to connect with Marah, with whom she had a special relationship. Her single-minded devotion to her career just isn't fulfilling her anymore, and she finds herself increasingly turning to alcohol to fill the void left by Kate's death as well as her residual feelings of abandonment stemming from her relationship with her mother.
All of these issues come to a head when Tully, after another night of drinking and despair, winds up in a coma after a car accident. This new crisis brings back together people who have been separated since Kate's death --- and even before.
FLY AWAY is narrated in a combination of flashbacks and present-day scenes. Readers get to see how these characters respond to Tully's crisis --- and, through flashbacks, to see how they got to where they are today. These viewpoints include Johnny, Kate's widower, as well as Marah, Kate's daughter. Fans will also finally come to know Tully's long-absent mother, Dorothy, whose story is told through flashbacks, and who finally receives an opportunity --- in Tully's current moment of need --- to begin to make things better with her long-separated daughter. Readers also hear from Tully herself, who narrates her own story through her coma --- both her recollections of life in the early days after Kate's death and her eventual desire to return to the land of the living.
FLY AWAY is a novel about second chances, about how a moment of crisis can be the impetus for all sorts of unexpected miracles. Fans will be eager to reenter the world of FIREFLY LANE, and the additional depth of characterization and emotion will make them even happier that they've returned.
Reviewed by Norah Piehl on April 26, 2013