by Kim Wright
Genres: Women's fiction
Lauded for her “astute and engrossing” (People) writing style imbued with “originality galore” (RT Book Reviews), Kim Wright channels the best of Jennifer Weiner and Sarah Pekkanen in this delightful novel of self-discovery on the open road as one woman sets out for Graceland hoping to answer the question: Is Elvis Presley her father? Blues musician Cory Ainsworth is barely scraping by after her mother’s death when she discovers a priceless piece of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia hidden away in a shed out back of the family’s coastal South Carolina home: Elvis Presley’s Stutz Blackhawk, its interior a time capsule of the singer’s last day on earth. A backup singer for the King, Cory’s mother Honey was at Graceland the day Elvis died. She quickly returned home to Beaufort and married her high school sweetheart. Yearning to uncover the secrets of her mother’s past—and possibly her own identity—Cory decides to drive the car back to Memphis and turn it over to Elvis’s estate, retracing the exact route her mother took thirty-seven years earlier. As she winds her way through the sprawling deep south with its quaint towns and long stretches of open road, the burning question in Cory’s mind—who is my father?—takes a backseat to the truth she learns about her complicated mother, the minister's daughter who spent a lifetime struggling to conceal the consequences of a single year of rebellion.
Last Ride to Graceland by Kim Wright was a delightful story that has us meandering the back roads of the south as Cory Ainsworth retraces her mother’s trip home from Graceland. Road Trip!
Cory Ainsworth knows her mother was a backup singer for Elvis Presley. Her mother was there the day Elvis died, but she quickly returned home to Beaufort and married her high school sweetheart. Cory also knows she could not possibly be her father’s biological daughter. The math just does not add up, although friends and family will tell you Cory was a nine-pound premature baby.
Last Ride to Graceland really takes off when Cory finds Elvis Presley’s Stutz Blackhawk bubble wrapped inside her family’s shed. It is like a time capsule with clues from the past. Anxious to know more about her mother and possibly discover whom her Daddy is, thirty-seven year old Cory impulsively jumps in the car and decides to retrace her mother’s trip from Graceland.
Wright delivers the story from Cory’s perspective, but she also takes us back to the summer Cory’s mother Honey spent in Graceland. The journey may have begun as a quest to learn who her father was, but it slowly becomes a journey to understand her mother and herself.
The pace of Last Ride to Graceland was easy-going, as we traveled the back roads and met friends of Cory’s mother. I enjoyed these small-towns and the bits of nostalgia. While fictional, Wright did research Elvis, giving bits of the tale an authentic feel.
I loved the landscape, iconic stops we made and enjoyed getting to know Cory and all of her quirks. The reveal of Cory’s biological father felt genuine and Wright gave us a clear account of Honey’s time in Graceland leaving me satisfied. I closed the book happy and hopeful for Cory.
If you are looking for a relaxing tale with a touch of nostalgia on the road to self-discovery Last Ride to Graceland was a fun, heartfelt tale that will leave you smiling.
Mood Board for Last Ride to Graceland
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