Firefly Lane

Firefly LaneFirefly Lane (Firefly Lane, #1) by Kristin Hannah
on January 1st 1970
Pages: 479
ISBN: 0312364083
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four-stars

Kate and Tully meet during the summer of 1974 when Tully and her Mother, Cloud, moved into a home on Firefly Lane. Kate is feeling lonely. She has been left behind by her friends and keeps to herself until one day she sees the new girl waiting by the bus. Tully appear to be strong, vibrant, beautiful and the direct opposite of Kate. Tully has a sad home life. She has mainly been raised by her Grandparents while her drug addicted Mother drifts in and out of her life. When Tully meets Kate, she meets someone who accepts her and likes her for who she is.

The girls form a close bond and declare themselves “best friends forever”. Both find something in the other that they lack. Kate comes out of herself and learns how to wear make up and gets a confidence booster. She also feels accepted and alows herself to be more free and take adventures with Tully. Tully finds someone who cares about her and accepts her for who she is. Tully also gets to feel what it is to be in a family. Even when separated the two keep in touch and are always there for each other.

Through the years, the reader sees these women grow and change. We sees the ups and downs of their friendship. Both women are driven but in different ways. Tully, longing for love and acceptance, wants the entire world to love her and she doesn’t seem to care what she has to do in order to gain love and acceptance. Kate is driven but in a more quiet way. While everything with Tully is loud and over the top, Kate quietly works hard while trying to find her way.

While Tully loves the limelight, Kate wants a happy family life with her husband and children. When Tully comes around there are good times but there are also elements of jealousy, resentment and .hurt Kate feels insecure when her husband and Tully are together. Her husband liked Tully first and had a one night stand with her. Whenever they are together it brings up past issues and I found these parts of the book to be real. How do you not know your best friend is in love with someone? Once your friends is married, is it okay to get drunk and hang all over your best friends husband while dancing with him? Is it okay to ask him if he ever got over you? I was pretty ticked off at both Johnny and Tully in that scene. Not a very best friend type thing to do, which is why I never really felt like their friendship was on an even keel.

I definitely liked Kate a lot more than I did Tully. I found Tully to be very self centered and I did not like that she never apologized for her actions. She just plowed through not caring who she hurt. Kate always seemed to be the one saying she was sorry. In the end, Tully finally did come around but Kate was always the better friends. I liked how their friendship was not always perfect as people are not always perfect. I was worried about what the “betrayal” would be as I read the book knowing the backstory of Johnny, Tully and Kate. I was happy that what I feared would happen did not happen. But what did happen was pretty bad. I wanted to shake Tully and ask “how do you not know you are wrong here?” I don’t think she ever really got it. Jennifer Aniston once said “there is a sensitivity chip missing”. That is what I kept thinking in regards to Tully’s character.

I wont discuss the ending. It’s sad. Kleenexes were needed.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I enjoyed that although this book is about best friends, it is also about Mother-daughter relationships, Husband-Wife relationships, and how these relationships affect one’s life.

four-stars

The Nightingale

The NightingaleThe Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Published by St. Martin's Press on February 3rd 2015
Pages: 440
ISBN: 0312577222
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In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.

It’s Paris 1939 and the Germans occupy parts of France. It is a brutal time. A horrible time. A sad time. A time of loss. It is also a time when ordinary people are capable of doing extraordinary things.

“Oh, for heaven’s sake, Isabelle. Paris is overrun. The Nazis control the city. What is an eighteen-year-old girl to do about all of that?”

Yes, what can be done? Many books on war focus on the part that men play, the battles, the war strategies. This book focuses on the wives, the Mothers, the Daughters, the women left behind and the struggles they face. The main characters in this book are two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle. Vianne is a married Mother is who left behind to care for her daughter when her husband goes off to war. Isabelle is a rebelious 18 year old seeking to find purpose in life. They are polar opposites of each other. Years and distance separate them but both in their own way fight to stay alive, to keep others alive and to be free.

Vianne is forced to take a German Commander into her home for lodging as her husband is being kept in a Nazi prison. Isablee, meets a young partisan who believes that the French people can wage war against the Nazi’s from within France. This book shows us how the Nazis took over France and ruled using fear and manipulation. How they turned neighbor against neighbor.

Both female characters in this book are sympathetic. Both take huge risks to protect and save the lives of ed others. This is a Woman’s war and both endear the unthinkable, both found their own way of fighting back against evil. Both women’s point of view are told in this novel. Time travels back and forth between the present day and the past. This novel has heart and soul. It has depth. It has well developed characters who make us proud, who break our hearts and who make us cry. I read the final chapters through tears. This book will break your heart but isn’t that what war does? Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. In this book, the women are the heroes.

Sad? Yes, this book is sad. But it also shows triumph of the human spirit. It shows us that no matter what, good can and will exist in the world. In the end Good will triumph over evil but at a cost.