Night Road by Kristin Hannah
This was another loan from the esteemed Library of Grandma. When you open a Kristin Hannah book, you know exactly what kind of story you’re going to read. Night Road is no exception.
Jude Farraday will readily admit she’s a helicopter mom, but better to be overprotective than aloof, like her own mother. Her precious twins are seniors in high school, a final year filled with opportunities and temptations. As a mother, balancing her desire for her children to enjoy high school with her fear of alcohol and parties is a challenge. When Lexi, a former foster child with a dark past, befriends her kids, she becomes part of the family. The three seemed bound by concrete, but one poor decision may tear them all apart.
Jude Farraday is a typical middle-aged Kristin Hannah character—anxiety, Mommy issues, successful but not fulfilled. While this borders on cliché, it also gives Jude wide appeal. Pretty much any mother can relate to Jude’s love for her kids. Lexi, likewise, resembles other Hannah down-and-out youths—a good kid dealt a bad hand. Though repetitive when considering her other books, all of Hannah’s characters, including the minor ones, are three-dimensional and well developed.
The plot jumps through time as the kids grow in friendship, grieve through tragedy, and heal. Hannah pushes the accident’s legal repercussions to the edge of believability, but anyone who has dealt with well-to-do parents will know such a harsh reaction is plausible.
Kristin Hannah is a master at capturing and eliciting emotion with words. Her descriptions not only transport the reader into the story world, but they ring beautifully, almost like music. I particularly enjoy how she captures the sentiment that small things are big things, like when the lawyer loans Lexi a bicycle. If I’m being nit-picky, I’d say Hannah must enjoy clothes shopping, because she describes every character’s outfit, which I found unnecessary but not too annoying.
This book is a typical Kristin Hannah book. It repeats her common themes and includes many elements found in her other books—grief-driven pettiness, the power of motherhood, legal technicalities, and children with psychological quirks caused by the adults’ drama.
Though the book doesn’t stand out from her other works in any significant way, such consistency isn’t necessarily bad. Readers know exactly what to expect when picking up one of her books. If you’re in the mood for an emotional journey through grief and heartbreak, Kristin Hannah always delivers.
Personally, I needed a break from this book halfway through because it got too depressing. Again, that’s not the book’s fault. I just wasn’t in the right headspace for it.
Night Road is an emotional journey through grief and forgiveness with wide appeal. While it’s nothing special when compared to her other works, if you’re in the mood for this type of story, Night Road is a great read.