Fly Away
  • Fly Away
  • Fly Away

Fly Away

4.0 335
by Kristin Hannah
     
 

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Once, a long time ago, I walked down a night-darkened road called Firefly Lane, all alone, on the worst night of my life, and I found a kindred spirit. That was our beginning. More than thirty years ago. TullyandKate. You and me against the world. Best friends forever. But stories end, don't they? You lose the people you love and you have to find a way to go on.

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Overview

Once, a long time ago, I walked down a night-darkened road called Firefly Lane, all alone, on the worst night of my life, and I found a kindred spirit. That was our beginning. More than thirty years ago. TullyandKate. You and me against the world. Best friends forever. But stories end, don't they? You lose the people you love and you have to find a way to go on. . . .

Tully Hart has always been larger than life, a woman fueled by big dreams and driven by memories of a painful past. She thinks she can overcome anything until her best friend, Kate Ryan, dies. Tully tries to fulfill her deathbed promise to Kate---to be there for Kate's children---but Tully knows nothing about family or motherhood or taking care of people.

Sixteen-year-old Marah Ryan is devastated by her mother's death. Her father, Johnny, strives to hold the family together, but even with his best efforts, Marah becomes unreachable in her grief. Nothing and no one seems to matter to her . . . until she falls in love with a young man who makes her smile again and leads her into his dangerous, shadowy world.

Dorothy Hart---the woman who once called herself Cloud---is at the center of Tully's tragic past. She repeatedly abandoned her daughter, Tully, as a child, but now she comes back, drawn to her daughter's side at a time when Tully is most alone. At long last, Dorothy must face her darkest fear: Only by revealing the ugly secrets of her past can she hope to become the mother her daughter needs.

A single, tragic choice and a middle-of-the-night phone call will bring these women together and set them on a poignant, powerful journey of redemption. Each has lost her way, and they will need each one another---and maybe a miracle---to transform their lives.

An emotionally complex, heart-wrenching novel about love, motherhood, loss, and new beginnings, Fly Away reminds us that where there is life, there is hope, and where there is love, there is forgiveness. Told with her trademark powerful storytelling and illuminating prose, Kristin Hannah reveals why she is one of the most beloved writers of our day.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Prolific novelist Hannah revisits the characters, known to fans as “KateandTully,” of her bestselling Firefly Lane in this slow-paced but largely well-executed sequel. Tully Hart, the famous 50-year-old former host of the talk show The Girlfriend, isn’t dealing well with the recent death of her best friend Kate, whose daughter, Marah, has run away. Tully is Marah’s godmother, and Kate’s husband Johnny blames her for his daughter’s flight. With no one left to turn to, Tully runs her car into a cement block in a haze of booze and prescription drugs. In the hospital clinging to life, Tully faces her past and her pain, visits her dead friend, and decides whether or not life is worth living. Told in a shopworn form—turns and flashbacks from the perspectives of Marah, Johnny, and Tully—the plot is unnecessarily repetitive, at times bringing forward motion to a standstill, but fans will appreciate the depth of character as they wade toward a neatly tied-up and heart-warming denouement. Agent: Andrea Cirillo, the Jane Rotrosen Agency. (May)
Kirkus Reviews
Hannah's sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it. When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate's death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully's long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate's spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny's anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton's liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah's depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully's every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter's bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud's largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters. Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah's storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.
Library Journal
Hannah's enthralling and touching sequel to Firefly Lane continues the tale of Tully and Kate's poignant friendship and the journey they still share even in death. Once Kate dies, her husband, Johnny, her daughter Marah, and her soul-sister Tully all fall apart as they struggle to deal with their loss and regret. Losing the only anchor she had, Tully counts on Johnny and the kids to help each other through this process, only to realize that she is shut out, leaving her to mourn alone. Tully quickly finds herself following in her mother's footsteps of addiction, ultimately ending up in a medically induced coma after an "accident." In this state Tully is guided and prodded by Kate to see where things have gone right, where they've gone wrong, and where they can be repaired with some healing and some forgiveness—especially if Tully is willing to face her own past and that of her mother, and not fly away with Kate. VERDICT A moving read about mothers and daughters, families, friends, second chances, love, heartbreak, faith, grieving, and healing. Tissues required.—Anne M. Miskewitch, Chicago P.L.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312577216
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
04/23/2013
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
409,771
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

One

 

September 2, 2010

10:14 P.M.

She felt a little woozy. It was nice, like being wrapped in a warm-from-the-dryer blanket. But when she came to, and saw where she was, it wasn’t so nice.

She was sitting in a restroom stall, slumped over, with tears drying on her cheeks. How long had she been here? She got slowly to her feet and left the bathroom, pushing her way through the theater’s crowded lobby, ignoring the judgmental looks cast her way by the beautiful people drinking champagne beneath a glittering nineteenth century chandelier. The movie must be over.

Outside, she kicked her ridiculous patent leather pumps into the shadows. In her expensive black nylons, she walked in the spitting rain down the dirty Seattle sidewalk toward home. It was only ten blocks or so. She could make it, and she’d never find a cab this time of night anyway.

As she approached Virginia Street, a bright pink MARTINI BAR sign caught her attention. A few people were clustered together outside the front door, smoking and talking beneath a protective overhang.

Even as she vowed to pass by, she found herself turning, reaching for the door, going inside. She slipped into the dark, crowded interior and headed straight for the long mahogany bar.

“What can I get for you?” asked a thin, artsy-looking man with hair the color of a tangerine and more hardware on his face than Sears carried in the nuts-and-bolts aisle.

“Tequila straight shot,” she said.

She drank the first shot and ordered another. The loud music comforted her. She drank the straight shot and swayed to the beat. All around her people were talking and laughing. It felt a little like she was a part of all that activity.

A man in an expensive Italian suit sidled up beside her. He was tall and obviously fit, with blond hair that had been carefully cut and styled. Banker, probably, or corporate lawyer. Too young for her, of course. He couldn’t be much past thirty-five. How long was he there, trolling for a date, looking for the best-looking woman in the room? One drink, two?

Finally, he turned to her. She could tell by the look in his eyes that he knew who she was, and that small recognition seduced her. “Can I buy you a drink?”

“I don’t know. Can you?” Was she slurring her words? That wasn’t good. And she couldn’t think clearly.

His gaze moved from her face, down to her breasts, and then back to her face. It was a look that stripped past any pretense. “I’d say a drink at the very least.”

“I don’t usually pick up strangers,” she lied. Lately, there were only strangers in her life. Everyone else, everyone who mattered, had forgotten about her. She could really feel that Xanax kicking in now, or was it the tequila?

He touched her chin, a jawline caress that made her shiver. There was a boldness in touching her; no one did that anymore. “I’m Troy,” he said.

She looked up into his blue eyes and felt the weight of her loneliness. When was the last time a man had wanted her?

“I’m Tully Hart,” she said.

“I know.”

He kissed her. He tasted sweet, of some kind of liquor, and of cigarettes. Or maybe pot. She wanted to lose herself in pure physical sensation, to dissolve like a bit of candy.

She wanted to forget everything that had gone wrong with her life, and how it was that she’d ended up in a place like this, alone in a sea of strangers.

“Kiss me again,” she said, hating the pathetic pleading she heard in her voice. It was how she’d sounded as a child, back when she’d been a little girl with her nose pressed to the window, waiting for her mother to return. What’s wrong with me? that little girl had asked anyone who would listen, but there had never been an answer. Tully reached out for him, pulling him close, but even as he kissed her and pressed his body into hers, she felt herself starting to cry, and when her tears started, there was no way to hold them back.

September 3, 2010

2:01 A.M.

Tully was the last person to leave the bar. The doors banged shut behind her; the neon sign hissed and clicked off. It was past two now; the Seattle streets were empty. Hushed.

As she made her way down the slick sidewalk, she was unsteady. A man had kissed her—a stranger—and she’d started to cry.

Pathetic. No wonder he’d backed away.

Rain pelted her, almost overwhelmed her. She thought about stopping, tilting her head back, and drinking it in until she drowned.

That wouldn’t be so bad.

It seemed to take hours to get home. At her condominium building, she pushed past the doorman without making eye contact.

In the elevator, she saw herself in the wall of mirrors.

Oh, God.

She looked terrible. Her auburn hair—in need of coloring—was a bird’s nest, and mascara ran like war paint down her cheeks.

The elevator doors opened and she stepped out into the hallway. Her balance was so off it took forever to get to her door, and four tries to get her key into the lock. By the time she opened the door, she was dizzy and her headache had come back.

Somewhere between the dining room and the living room, she banged into a side table and almost fell. Only a last-minute Hail Mary grab for the sofa saved her. She sank onto the thick, down-filled white cushion with a sigh. The table in front of her was piled high with mail. Bills and magazines.

She slumped back and closed her eyes, thinking what a mess her life had become.

“Damn you, Katie Ryan,” she whispered to the best friend who wasn’t there. This loneliness was unbearable. But her best friend was gone. Dead. That was what had started all of it. Losing Kate. How pitiful was that? Tully had begun to plummet at her best friend’s death and she hadn’t been able to pull out of the dive. “I need you.” Then she screamed it: “I need you!”

Silence.

She let her head fall forward. Did she fall asleep? Maybe …

When she opened her eyes again, she stared, bleary-eyed, at the pile of mail on her coffee table. Junk mail, mostly; catalogs and magazines she didn’t bother to read anymore. She started to look away, but a picture snagged her attention.

She frowned and leaned forward, pushing the mail aside to reveal a Star magazine that lay beneath the pile. There was a small photograph of her face in the upper right corner. Not a good picture, either. Not one to be proud of. Beneath it was written a single, terrible word.

Addict.

She grabbed the magazine in unsteady hands, opened it. Pages fanned one past another until there it was: her picture again.

It was a small story; not even a full page.

THE REAL STORY BEHIND THE RUMORS

Aging isn’t easy for any woman in the public eye, but it may be proving especially difficult for Tully Hart, the ex-star of the once-phenom talk show The Girlfriend Hour. Ms. Hart’s goddaughter, Marah Ryan, contacted Star exclusively. Ms. Ryan, 20, confirms that the fifty-year-old Hart has been struggling lately with demons that she’s had all her life. In recent months, Hart has “gained an alarming amount of weight” and been abusing drugs and alcohol, according to Ms. Ryan …

“Oh, my God…”

Marah.

The betrayal hurt so badly she couldn’t breathe. She read the rest of the story and then let the magazine fall from her hands.

The pain she’d been holding at bay for months, years, roared to life, sucking her into the bleakest, loneliest place she’d ever been. For the first time, she couldn’t even imagine crawling out of this pit.

She staggered to her feet, her vision blurred by tears, and reached for her car keys.

She couldn't live like this anymore.

Copyright © 2013 by Kristin Hannah

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