For a mother, life comes down to a series of choices.
To hold on…
To let go..
Which road will you take?
For eighteen years, Jude Farraday has put her children’s needs above her own, and it shows—her twins, Mia and Zach—are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill moves into their small, close knit community, no one is more welcoming than Jude. Lexi, a former foster child with a dark past, quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable.
Jude does everything to keep her kids on track for college and out of harm’s way. It has always been easy-- until senior year of high school. Suddenly she is at a loss. Nothing feels safe anymore; every time her kids leave the house, she worries about them.
On a hot summer’s night her worst fears come true. One decision will change the course of their lives. In the blink of an eye, the Farraday family will be torn apart and Lexi will lose everything. In the years that follow, each must face the consequences of that single night and find a way to forget…or the courage to forgive.
Vivid, universal, and emotionally complex, NIGHT ROAD raises profound questions about motherhood, identity, love, and forgiveness. It is a luminous, heartbreaking novel that captures both the exquisite pain of loss and the stunning power of hope. This is Kristin Hannah at her very best, telling an unforgettable story about the longing for family, the resilience of the human heart, and the courage it takes to forgive the people we love.
Amazon Exclusive: A Conversation Between Kristin Hannah and Emily Giffin
Emily Giffin (left) is the author of five New York Times bestselling novels, including Something Borrowed, which has been adapted as a major motion picture that will be in theaters in summer 2011. A graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law, she lives in Atlanta with her family.
Kristin Hannah (right) is the New York Times bestselling author of eighteen novels, including Winter Garden. She is a former lawyer turned writer and the mother of one son. She and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii.
Kristin Hannah: Well, first, I have to say, Emily, that I am just the tiniest bit irritated with you. When I got the call to do this interview, I was thrilled, to say the least. It came at a really busy time for me--right after the holidays and we all know how crazy that is--and my work in progress was giving me fits. Then I picked up Heart of the Matter, and lost myself. No more writing, no more cooking, no getting my hair done or reading my email. Once I started the story I literally couldn't put it down. Brava, girlfriend, I say. Your characters are so real and compelling, and they always say exactly the right thing. With so much honest emotion, I just have to ask how much of your work comes from your own life?
Emily Giffin: It never fails to thrill me when someone responds to one of my novels--especially when it's another writer. Writers understand the alchemy involved in making up something from nothing. And I just finished your book, Night Road, and I found it so emotional, so moving, and so terrifying--especially since I have three young children who will someday be teenagers. In terms of how much does my work come from my own life, I would say that I'm absolutely inspired by people, places, conversations, relationships, and issues that I observe, and that the "what if" part of my novel is very much inspired by these things in my life. But the details of my plots and the specifics of my characters come from my own head. How about you, Kristin? I'll ask you the million-dollar question that every author gets asked: where do you get your ideas?
Kristin: Ah, the idea question. I don't want to sound coy, but the truth is, I don't quite know. It's the most magical part of the process for me. I'm a pretty analytical gal, and I approach writing in the same just-the-facts-ma'am way I approach most things. I need to find an issue that engages me on an intellectual level, and then I need to marry that curiosity with a kind of passion. I need to feel genuinely passionate about each story before I ever write a word, and I have to actually have something to say. It takes me at least a year to research and write a novel, and so I have to really adore each part of it--the characters, setting, story. Most of all, it has to make me feel something genuine. That's really the most important component. Usually it begins with a single "what if" question--what if you discovered your mother had a whole secret life about which you knew nothing (Winter Garden) or what if your husband were accused of a crime you believed he hadn't committed (True Colors)--and then I write and re-write until the characters seem as real to me as old friends.
Kristin: I'm amazed by how much we have in common. We're both moms, both lawyers, both lived in London for a time. You're like a younger, cooler version of me. How did you make the transition from lawyer to writer, and do you think you'll ever practice law again?
Emily: I would hardly say I'm cooler than you, Kristin! I hear you live in Hawaii part time! What is cooler than that? I made the transition from lawyer to writer because I was so miserable being a lawyer that I needed some escape from the day-to-day of it. And inventing stories was that escape. I can say, without hesitation, that I will never practice law again. Would you? What kind of law did you practice, and for how long? What did you find appealing (or discouraging) about law? Did you find that it gave you fodder for any of your novels?
Kristin: Honestly, I have met very few lawyers who don't say that what they really want to do is write. Like you, I can say with certainty that I will never practice law again. Not that anyone would want me to. But I still keep my Bar membership up...just in case this whole writing thing doesn't work out. And yes, in the past few years, I have finally begun to put some of that law school education to work for me. I find that I'm really enjoying adding legal issues to my work. Of course, I have to talk to real lawyers to make sure I'm getting it right... Read more of the conversation between Emily Giffin and Kristin Hannah
Hannah follows up Winter Garden with a strained story of friendship, social pressures, love, and forgiveness. After a string of foster homes and the death of her heroin-addict mother, Lexi Baill is taken in by a newly discovered great-aunt who lives a spartan life near Seattle. Despite financial problems, the two are glad to have found each other, and though Lexi resolves to stay safely on the periphery at her new high school, she soon meets Mia, unhappy and awkward despite a solid family life, a loving twin brother, Zach, and a closetful of clothes. The friendship flourishes, and Mia's mother, Jude, relieved and pleased for her daughter, draws Lexi into the family circle. But trouble begins in senior year with a slowly growing attraction between Zach and Lexi, who take great pains to make Mia comfortable with the change in the dynamics. This familiar story takes an unfortunate turn deep into after-school-special territory when Lexi, Mia, and Zach collectively make a bad decision that results in a tragedy with extreme repercussions. Even readers who like their melodrama thick will have problems as Hannah pushes credibility to the breaking point, and more than once. (Mar.)
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