Author: Kristin Hannah
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Published: January 6, 2009
Paperback: 479 pages
Source: purchased at library sale
My Rating: 4 stars
Synopsis (from borders.com): 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 becomeTullyandKate.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 Laneis 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 Laneis 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 Laneis a story you’ll never forget . . . one you’ll want to pass on to your best friend.
My Thoughts: Following the friendship of Tully and Kate for over 30 years, Firefly Lane spans the decades to show the connection that women share with their closest friends and how they handle the good times and the bad. Starting in 1974, the novel shows how clothes, hairstyles, and fads changed over the years, but through it all, Tully and Kate were always there for one another. While covering so much time can be daunting and too much, Kristin Hannah's writing is so masterful that you really do feel as if you are growing up with these two women without it ever becoming boring.
There were so many things that I enjoyed about this book that I don't know where to begin. First, within 100 pages, Hannah had pulled me into this story. I was crying as I read about Tully's senior year of high school, relating to her experiences of losing a loved one. I rarely cry, especially whie reading, so this was the first sign that I was reading something truly touching. As the story progressed and Tully and Kate grew, I was able to relate to both women. As a young woman in her 20s, I feel like there is so much to do and see in the world, that I won't be able to get it all done, let alone have a family, so I definitely connected with Tully on that level. But I could also identify with Kate, the hopeless romantic that she is, wanting that fairy tale life and knowing that without family, nothing is worth it. Hannah crafted two perfect characters in these women; one the driven, ambitious go-getter, the other relishing motherhood and her family. While both are relatable, there were times that I didn't like one of them. But a few pages later, Hannah would have me back on their side. She is truly a master of her work, one that I cannot wait to read more of. While not a literary classic, Firefly Lane is a great book that I think every woman should read. It's a great summer read, and one that will stay with you for a long time.