Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

The basics

Title: Firefly Lane


Series: Firefly Lane #1

- Firefly Lane (2008)
- Fly Away (2013)

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Goodreads Summary:

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.

Here is a spoiler summary of what happened in Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah to help refresh your memory before you read the sequel.

What Happened in Firefly Lane?

  • Tully is being raised by her grandmother as her mother, Dorothy/Cloud, isn’t able to care for her. Dorothy shows up one day and takes Tully to a protest, only to lose her in a crowd. Tully makes it back home to her grandmother.
  • Kate is being bullied at school as a teenager. The new neighbours move in across the street and Kate greets the other teenage girl. It’s Tully. The two become close friends, although Tully lies to Kate about her mother having cancer.
  • Dorothy is arrested and Tully has to go back to live with her grandmother. The girls write to each other.
  • Tully’s grandmother dies when Tully is 17. Dorothy doesn’t want to take custody, so Tully is about to be sent to a care home so she runs back to Firefly Lane. She and Kate get into a bit of trouble, and then Kate’s mother, Margie, agrees to take Tully in.
  • The girls go to college to study journalism and broadcasting. This is more Tully’s thing, really. Tully gets into a relationship with her professor, Chad. Kate dates a bit but her relationships don’t last long.
  • Tully becomes an intern and starts working for a guy named Johnny, who develops feelings for her. Kate gets a job and develops feelings for Johnny.
  • Tully gets caught up in a robbery and broadcasts the whole thing, which turns into her big break. She gets offered a job elsewhere. Chad says he’s moving away, and Tully doesn’t want to go with him so they break up.
  • Tully sleeps with Johnny but they don’t get together. Johnny is upset. Kate and Johnny then sleep together after Kate interviews for a different job.
  • Kate and Johnny are now together. She gets pregnant and they get married. Unfortunately, Kate has a miscarriage. She gets pregnant again later with a girl called Marah.
  • Johnny goes to Baghdad to cover the war there. Kate is understandably stressed.
  • Tully has been sleeping with a British guy called Grant.
  • Johnny is injured by a bomb and transferred to a hospital in Germany. It’s touch and go for a bit. Tully tries to report on the situation and Kate gets angry about it, especially because Tully brought a camera into Johnny’s hospital room. They fall out briefly but Kate forgives her pretty quickly.
  • Johnny wakes up and while he’s not the same as he once was, he starts to recover slowly. They head back home together.
  • Kate signs up for a writing class and discovers she pregnant with twins. Tully is offered two million dollars a year to host a show. Kate has to put her writing on hold again.
  • Tully is hosting her show but she realises that she may be missing out on something – a family.
  • Kate has been arguing with her daughter, Marah, a lot recently. Teen years are not fun. She talks to her mother about it but she says Kate was a bit of a nightmare too.
  • Tully goes looking for her mother again and makes a documentary out of the experience.
  • Tully hosts her own show and Johnny is taken on as a producer. This makes the Ryan family a tonne of money.
  • Marah runs to Tully after an argument with Kate. Tully isn’t doing a great job of keeping Marah’s expectations low, as Tully starts encouraging Marah to do modelling.
  • Tully pays for Kate to go to a spa to relax, and then for Johnny and Kate to go away on vacation to take some time for themselves.
  • Tully has the idea to invite Kate onto her show so they can talk about parenting a teenager. It turns into a whole thing about overprotective mothers and so Kate becomes upset and leaves midway through. The women don’t talk again for ages.
  • Kate is diagnosed with breast cancer which then spreads to her brain. She’s dying. Tully eventually finds out and goes to look after Kate, pausing her show for the time being.
  • Kate lives out her remaining days with her family. She writes a journal for them to read once she’s gone.

That’s what happened in Firefly Lane! Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

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