By: Kristin Hannah
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin Edition
Publication Date: 2013
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: March 29, 2014
Kristin Hannah delivers a beautifully poignant and bittersweet story of everlasting friendship across the pages of her latest novel, Fly Away.
Tully Hart and Kate Mularkey have been inseparable friends for over thirty years. From the onset, undying friendship was inevitability and their meeting was a destined collision with the intention of friendship forever. Beyond college, Tully’s life was a journey of fame. Kate’s path was that of motherhood and wife. Even though their roads were different, their bond of friendship was everlasting. It is when Kate is diagnosed with breast cancer and the diagnosis has a definitive end attached to it, that life intervenes and presents the tests of what friendship can and cannot survive.
Johnny Mularkey is Kate’s husband. He is also father to their sixteen-year-old daughter, Marah. He is ill-prepared to assume the role of sole parent once his beloved Kate passes. Perhaps Kate knew this and the promise she extracts from her lifelong friend Tully (who is also Marah’s godmother) is to be there to temper the storms ahead. What no one could have seen coming upon Kate’s passing is the bottom dropping out of the once solid foundation they all took for granted. Johnny is consumed with grief. Marah is guilt-ridden and on a course of self-distruction. She is burdened with the memory of her last words with her mother before she died. Tully has her own issues. Her once sky-rocketing career is now nose-diving. She is over forty and doesn’t have the luxury of career resurrection. Kate was her rock and now that she’s gone, Tully is forced to face her baggage—baggage she has carried for far too many years. She still cannot let go of the fact that her hippy mother “Cloud” threw her away with yesterday’s news when she was a child...or did she?
When the crescendo of tragedy reaches its pinnacle, each of these intricately woven together beings will need to recognize the clarity that lurks on the other side. There is hope and promise of new beginnings. However, the sacrifice in order to get there is to acknowledge the rock bottom before a new beginning is possible. Kristin Hannah has written a novel that embraces and portrays the dimensions, tribulations and multi-facets of true and undying friendship. She is a storyteller and showcases her abilities by weaving beautiful fabric together with sound plot of familial joys and equally heart-wrenching disappointments. Simply put, she has written a story of “fiction” with a strong element of real life to it. Her characters come alive on the pages and I, for one, literally could not keep my nose out of this book. Hannah knew how to grab the attention of her reader within the first few pages of Fly Away. I accepted her outstretched hand within the first couple of pages and willingly immersed myself into the story from chapter to chapter. Hannah’s voice is crisp and refreshing and her story is engaging. She has accomplished what I believe all we fiction writers endeavor to do: Provide an escape that enables the reader to experience the familiarity and connection with each and every character. There is a lot to be said about a writer who manages sadness from her readership when the proverbial “the end” is before them—a sadness that comes from a longing for the story to continue. That, in my opinion, is the essence of the gift of writing.
Quill says: Fly Away is a lovely depiction of the essence of true friendship. It is truly a book that is difficult to put down until the last page has been read.