Series: Firefly Lane #1
Author: Kristin Hannah
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.-Goodreads
Review: Kate and Tully meet in 1974 when they are neighbors and 14 years old. Tully, who is beautiful and popular, does not have a stable home environment while Kate, quiet and studious, comes from a loving family. The two form a friendship that spans several decades. Told in alternating narratives, we follow Kate and Tully from their teens through their mid-40s.
I loved Kristin Hannah's 'The Nightingale' and I thought 'Night Road' was very thought provoking. I was so excited to read this (first selection of a new book club) and this was such a huge disappointment. This was essentially 500+ pages of an extended Lifetime movie remake of Beaches (the 1980s movie with Barbara Hershey and Bette Midler). Tully is extremely driven and wants to be a successful reporter. She is willing to sacrifice everything to achieve her goal. She is narcissistic and known to never apologize for anything. She eventually finds herself wealthy and successful but alone. Kate is a complete doormat with no backbone (she may be one of the most frustrating characters I've ever read). She is unable to tell her (supposed) best friend that she doesn't want to go into the news industry for YEARS. She marries a man she knows was in love with her best friend. She is a stay-at-home mom with 3 children who clearly has depression issues but never seeks help. She and her husband are millionaires but she refuses to ask for help or even allow her children to take the school bus. We are constantly told how busy and tired she is (I have 3 children, it isn't that bad).
It was inconceivable to me that these two would stay friends throughout the years. I could understand it as teens and the beginning of college, but their paths were so different I didn't find the relationship realistic. They also bizarrely had no other female friends other than each other. The surprising "event" that tore them apart was just one of many slights against each other. Tully was always a bitch and Kate was always a doormat. That literally never changed the entire book. I found the end predictable and I was so annoyed with both characters, there were no tears.
This book did have an important message about a rare type of breast cancer that I found informative.