St. Martin Press February 2008
Reviewed by Karen McNamee
Contemporary Women’s Fiction
It is 1974 and Tully Hart and Kate Mularkey are meeting for the first time at a school bus stop in a rural suburb of Seattle. They don’t know it yet, but they are about to embark on much more than a bus ride. They are setting out on a thirty year journey through life together.
Tully streaks into Kate’s world like a comet, full of ambition and a determination to make something of herself. She is the brash new girl across the road with attitude and the looks to back it up. Behind all that bravado, though, Tully hides a secret. She is looking for a way out of the desperation and loneliness that defines her life as the daughter of a drugged out hippie mother. Kate, by contrast, is blessed with a loving family, a mother who actually cooks dinner every night, and her very own horse. Her biggest problem is that she’s an eighth grader with braces and glasses and she feels like a social outcast.
These two girls ultimately find in each other what they lack in themselves. Tully brings Kate out of her shell by coaching her to reveal her own hidden beauty, and a newfound confidence and social acceptance soon follows. Kate’s heretofore uncorrupted and predictable life is soon buzzing with excitement. For Tully, Kate represents stability and someone she can trust completely. When Kate’s mother takes her under her wing, Tully begins to understand the sense of belonging that comes with being a part of a close knit family.
As they grow into young women, Tully and Kate go on to pursue their childhood dream of going to college together and eventually becoming famous TV news personalities. Somewhere along the way, though, the promises they once made are tested, the dreams they once shared are shattered, and the pain of betrayal is palpable. The foundation of their lifelong friendship is shaken to the core. Ride along with them for an extraordinary trip as you enjoy this truly intuitive and poignant look at a tale of two girls whose paths intersect at precisely that perfect moment in time when each of them desperately needs a best friend.
FIREFLY LANE is one of those books that you will want to read from cover to cover without stopping. Kristen Hannah has done a masterful job of bringing us a multifaceted story about a friendship spanning three decades, intertwined with critical subplots such as Tully’s obsessive ambition to succeed, the depth of love between Kate and her husband, the battle of wills between Kate and her teenaged daughter, and the struggle just to hold on to it all for as long as it lasts.
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