Popsugar Reading Challenge 2022 Book 15

I didn’t really have anything on my TBR that fitted this prompt, but thanks to the lovely Ely folk on the Popsugar Reading Challenge Facebook group there were loads of suggestions. Most of them were fantasy whichnis a not a genre I read very often, but among the list was, Firefly Lane and Fly Away by Kristin Hannah. I have seen the traikers for the Netflix series but haven’t watched it yet, so decided to read the books first.

What it’s about?

From Goodreads:

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.

Firefly Lane is for anyone who ever drank Boone’s Farm apple wine while listening to Abba or Fleetwood Mac. More than a coming-of-age novel, it’s the story of a generation of women who were both blessed and cursed by choices. It’s about promises and secrets and betrayals. And ultimately, about the one person who really, truly knows you—and knows what has the power to hurt you . . . and heal you. Firefly Lane is a story you’ll never forget . . . one you’ll want to pass on to your best friend.

What I think:

Oh my goodness! Get the tissues ready for this one!

Firefly Lane is sweeping and soapy and will make you feel all the feels! It reminded me of watching Beaches as a child as the story of Tully and Kate’s friendship plays out.

Tully has fame and money and glamour, but it is clear that Kate is really the star of the book.

The girls meet on Firefly Lane in the 1970s. Kate is lonely and miserable. Having grown apart from her friends, she is struggling to fit in and find her feet at high-school. Tallulah ‘Tully’ Hart moves in across the road with her fashionable clothes, lack of curfew and endless supply of cigarettes she is instantly the coolest girl in school. A traumatic event brings them together and they become inseparable.

Fashions and boys come and go but Kate and Tully always have each other they make a pact to become famous journalist and head off to university to study journalism. Tully is focused and passionate. She works hard and takes every opportunity offered. Kate enjoys writing but lacks Tully’s ambition. Kate is looking for love while Tully is fiercely independent. The differences between their upbringing and their futures become wider.

This is a wonderful and emotional read. But Kate and Tully are complex women. While on the surface they represent different female constructs – the career woman v the stay at home mum – their friendship and love for each other is the heart of the story.

This is also a story about mothers and daughters and their complex relationships. Kate sees herself reliving some of her own childhood arguments with her own daughter Marah. I really enjoyed the relationship with Kate and her own mother and enjoyed seeing how is mirrored in the next generation.

This is a emotional read. I was definitely a little teary at the end. It was completely compelling and I could not put it down. Next up is Fly Away so I can find out what happened next.

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