Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

Yesterday (well, in October. I wrote this then and am posting now) I had to finish Hannah’s latest book. Everything else could wait; the book came first. My second novel by Kristin Hannah and I’m hooked. I will eagerly be looking for more of her work – she’s amazing. Hannah’s books are character driven plots detailing the intertwined relationships of women as they attempt to chart their own path.

Firefly Lane tells the story of Tully Hart and Kate Ryan, best friends from the age of 14. They remain close throughout high school, college, early career and family. From the outset Hannah lead her readers to know *something* would cause a rupture between the two women and I spent lots of reading time attempting to unearth what would cause the break. There are obvious clues but I am happy to say it was not the one I anticipated. What she did create was a logical trajectory for the climax so when it came it seemed so logical without have been blaringly obvious – so to speak.

I loved how Hannah showed the passage of time. There were no “It was the fall of 1985…” paragraphs. Instead she subtly interjected song titles and fashions to show new eras. At one point the girls sport Farah Fawcett do’s, later Tully gets her hair cut in a “Rachel.” Hannah never falls into the trap of describing what a “Rachel” looks like, she knows her readers will know. The story arches from the height of hippie-era bellbottoms through the sequins, crosses, and shoulder pads of the 1980s to the low-rider jeans and belly-baring 2000s. For anyone aware of women’s fashions for the past 30 years Hannah did a great job of showing the period without having to state it.

I will admit, I sobbed through the last 100 pages. I don’t always like tear-jerker books. Especially when an author makes a concerted effort to tug on emotional chains. I don’t feel that way with Hannah. She is telling an amazing story that comes with heartache and drama. The book is not all about the bad, but there is bad as a reality of life.

Oh, and the two Kristin Hannah books I’ve read both take place in the Pacific Northwest. This one starts in the town where my husband went to high school. I liked reading her perceptions of a town I saw in the late 1990s.

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