By Kristin Hannah
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Jude Farraday is a happily married, stay-at-home mom who puts everyone’s needs above her own. Her twins, Mia and Zach, are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill enters their lives, no one is more supportive than Jude. A former foster child with a dark past, Lexi quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable. But senior year of high school brings unexpected dangers and one night, Jude’s worst fears are confirmed: there is an accident. In an instant, her idyllic life is shattered and her close-knit community is torn apart. People—and Jude—demand justice, and when the finger of blame is pointed, it lands solely on eighteen-year-old Lexi Baill. In a heartbeat, their love for each other will be shattered, the family broken. Lexi gives up everything that matters to her—the boy she loves, her place in the family, the best friend she ever had—while Jude loses even more.
When Lexi returns, older and wiser, she demands a reckoning. Long buried feelings will rise again, and Jude will finally have to face the woman she has become. She must decide whether to remain broken or try to forgive both Lexi…and herself.
Night Road is a vivid, emotionally complex novel that raises profound questions about motherhood, loss, identity, and forgiveness. It is an exquisite, heartbreaking novel that speaks to women everywhere about the things that matter most. (Goodreads)
Night Road by Kristin Hannah is a powerful read. It has many messages to convey while telling the tale of a high school couple who fall in love and then tragedy befalls them and their families.
The twins, Mia and Zach, have an overly involved mom, Jude, (or should I say helicopter mom?) that essentially lives vicariously through them. I can certainly see how this might happen with a stay-at-home mom whose sole purpose is to make sure everything goes right for her kids… right school, right friends, right university while choosing the right career path. However, all is not rosy as Mia is shy and does not engage with her classmates. Meanwhile, Zach is the outgoing young man that is the class president and high school football hero. Polar opposites these two twins are. Now, first year of high school and Lexi has moved to town to live with Aunt Eva – an aunt she never knew she had. First day of school and by chance Mia and Lexi meet and hit it off. And a life-long friendship has been struck! In fact, the three (Lexi, Mia and Zach) become inseparable. Difficult because for the first few years, Lexi denies her attraction to Zach as she does not want to jeopardize her friendship with Mia. Things move along until grade 12 and as the three are getting ready to graduate and by this time, Lexi and Mia have discussed the fact that Lexi “likes” her brother. So Lexi and Zach are now dating. Party time as year end approaches. And the kids still have Jude ever present in the lives of these three teens. Unfortunately, tragedy… and then life goes sideways for everyone.
I won’t expound upon the details of what happened, just that Lexi, well actually, all of the main characters in this book are affected in many, many ways so that the best-laid plans of a life path are severely changed. While we, the reader, may think that some of the reactions to the tragedy seemed excessive, one cannot really know or understand each individual’s journey working through tragedy.
What I found really haunting was every time any of the characters had to drive on the road where the tragedy occurred, I shivered.
I laughed, I cried, I screamed and I applauded. This book brought out such a variety of emotions. And really, that is all I can say. Well, except that Lexi is a survivor – courageous to choose the path she did. Not sure how many people would choose as she did, if they were in her situation. And in the end, life seemed to work itself out.
As this was a book club read for me, I must say that the discussion surrounding this title was quite lively and entertaining. Not everyone liked the book. Or more to the point, not everyone liked the twins’ mom – Jude. Consensus was however achieved on the likeability of Miles, Jude’s husband and Lexi. Oh – and everyone adored Lexi’s aunt Eva. We all wished Eva could have entered Lexi’s life a bit earlier. This was our third book by Kristin Hannah over the past seven or eight years and the consensus was this was the best one by far.
Night Road is one of the most thought-provoking and engaging stories I have read by Kristin Hannah. I realize though that some will not like this book. And that is okay because we all have different reactions to the written word and the stories that authors tell.