⚠️ This post is part of my Book Chat series, where I talk about details that happened in the book! Think of it like you’re at book club, drinking endless cups of coffee (or wine), and talking with your friends about all your favorite, least-favorite, and head-scratching parts of the book. If you don’t want any spoilers, don’t read this post!
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Night Road by Kristin Hannah: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Synopsis of Night Road by Kristin Hannah
Jude Farraday lives an ideal life; wife of a respected physician, mother to amazing twins, and involved in every aspect of the school and community in which they live. While she’s always put her children’s needs ahead of her own, she’s never been happier than in the role of mom. Everything Jude has planned for her children has been going according to plan until Lexi Baill, a girl with a dark past, moves to town and quickly becomes best friends with Jude’s daughter Mia, and begins dating Jude’s son Zach.
Everything changes senior year when college is on the horizon, and the kids begin partying more before they graduate and leave their homes and their friends for adulthood. Nothing worries Jude more than all the terrible things that could happen. And then, the unthinkable does, tearing the Farraday family apart.
Night Road by Kristin Hannah is a story about motherhood, love, growing up, and learning how to move on after experiencing unspeakable loss.
⚠️ Stop reading if you don’t want any spoilers! ⚠️
Okay.. I was both excited and emotionally anxious to read this book. I’ve been a big fan of both The Nightingale, and The Great Alone (and I LOVED the Netflix series Firefly Lane!) so I knew that I better have my tissues ready for an all out cry-fest. But.. I didn’t really love this book the way I imagined I would.
Don’t get me wrong.. it broke my heart into a trillion little pieces, and I definitely got my money’s worth out of my stock of Kleneex I bought in preparation for this book. But the journey through the chapters felt a little lacking.
For starters, I was not a huge fan of Jude. I also feel extremely guilty even admitting this out loud (or in writing), because I don’t even want to try to comprehend for a minute the amount of grief this fictional woman experienced when she lost her daughter. But. Try as I might, I couldn’t bring myself to like her.
I felt through the entire book she was cold, snooty, and a little more concerned with appearances than anything else. But, I tried to give her grace, because again, she goes through unspeakable loss.
I also felt the writing was a little elementary and reminded me more of a 50 Shades of Grey or Twilight novel (just in the style of short sentences and simple structure). I also found the storyline to be extremely predictable; it was written on nearly every page that the high school kids were partying and drinking too much, and Jude was worried what might happen.
When “party” and “alcohol” and “dangers of” are used on almost every page, you just know someone is bound to get into a drunk driving accident. And lo and behold..
I did, on the other hand, absolutely adore Lexi, whose character completely broke my heart. Growing up without a family, wanting so desperately to love and be loved, and to find a place where she felt like she belonged. Watching her struggle through high school as she saved every dime she ever made to try and afford college; the relationship she developed with Aunt Eva.. all of it. And then.. oh my gosh don’t even get me started, when we found out she was the one driving the car that night? I couldn’t take it.
Even more when she was sentenced to time in prison? Nope. Not okay with it. But it does go to show that our lives can honestly change in one instant. One bad decision.. can erase all the good we’ve done in our lives and change our outcome for the future.
The love that she had for her daughter, and the letter she wrote to her.. that was the most beautiful part of the book. I wish that we would have been able to spend more time getting to know Gracie; to fully understand the depth of her character and her imaginary friend (I mean.. did anyone else think it was her Aunt Mia coming back to comfort her? No? Not that kind of book? Okay.)
All in all, I’m happy I read this book, it just didn’t hit me the same way most Kristin Hannah novels do. I was happy about the ending and the closure it provided, but I wish there was a little more depth to the early chapters.
Have you read this one? I’d love to know your thoughts!