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Dramatic,
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59 reviews

Night Road
by Kristin Hannah

Published: 2011-03-22
Kindle Edition : 396 pages
124 members reading this now
90 clubs reading this now
80 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 54 of 59 members

"A rich, multilayered reading experience, and an easy recommendation for book clubs." —Library Journal (starred review)

Life comes down to a series of choices.

To hold on…

To let go...to forget…to forgive…

Which road will you take?

For eighteen years, Jude Farraday has put her ...

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Introduction

"A rich, multilayered reading experience, and an easy recommendation for book clubs." —Library Journal (starred review)

Life comes down to a series of choices.

To hold on…

To let go...to forget…to forgive…

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 out of harm's way. But senior year of high school tests them all. It's a dangerous, explosive season of drinking, driving, parties, and kids who want to let loose. And then on a hot summer's night, one bad decision is made. 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.

"You cannot read Night Road and not be affected by the story and the characters. The total impact of the book will stay with you for days to come after it is finished." —The Huffington Post

Editorial Review

Product Description

For a mother, life comes down to a series of choices. 

To hold on…

To let go..

To forget…

To forgive…

Which road will you take?

                                                            Night Road

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


Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

Questions from the publisher:

1. Jude Farraday is obviously a tenacious and committed mother. She very clearly tries to do anything and everything she can to keep her children safe. Do you think all of this effort makes her a “good” mother? Or is she over-invested in her children’s lives? Does this kind of micro-managing keep kids safe, or put them in a position where they don’t trust their own judgment?
2. One of the powerful themes in this novel is the delicate balance a mother must find between holding on to her children and letting them go. How does Jude succeed in finding this balance? How does she fail?
3. At one point or another in this book, every character feels extreme growing pains. How do you feel each character “grew up” throughout the story?
4. On page 71, Jude observes that her husband accused her of being a helicopter parent, all noise and movement, hovering too close to her children, but if that were true, he was a satellite, positioned so far up in the sky he needed a telescope to track the goings on his own home. How does this sentence illustrate Jude’s view of motherhood? Is she right? Is Miles unaware of what’s going on in his children’s lives? How does Jude render Miles ineffective and what is the price for that?
5. Jude seems to make all the rules for her children. Why does she ignore Miles’ suggestions and advice? Why does he let her?
6. For years, Jude promised her children than they could “tell her anything, that she would pick them at night up no questions asked.” But when put to the test, she fails. Can you understand why she disciplined her children for drinking? What would you have done?
7. When the senior year partying starts, Jude knows that her kids are going to parties where alcohol is served, and she gets proof that they are drinking. How should she have handled this? Should she and Miles have forbidden them from going to parties? Why didn’t they? What were they afraid of?
8. In knowing about the drinking, were Jude and Miles tacitly allowing it? Is it enough to tell your kids about the dangers of drinking and driving and then trust them to make good decisions?
9. In many parts of the country, parents choose to have a “take the keys” party for their teenage children, with the thought that it will be a safer environment. What do you think of this? Would you do it?
10. Jude seems to find a kind of solace in her grief. It appears that she would rather stop feeling anything than to experience her own pain. Do you think this is believable? Understandable?
11. How did Jude’s handling of grief add to the heartache her family suffered? How do her perceptions of fault play into her coldness?
12. Jude has an extremely strained relationship with her own mother. How does this broken relationship contribute to the story?
13. Lexi comes from a very different world than the Farradays. How does her past contribute to the unfolding of the events? How is her past responsible for the decision she makes to drive that night?
14. When Jude discovers the romance between Zach and Lexi, she is immediately worried for Mia. Why? Were her fears justified?
15. Lexi pays an very high price for her actions that night. Did she do the right thing by admitting guilt? How does her past play into and contribute to the decisions she makes about Grace?
16. The author seems to be making some strong statements about the judicial system, especially with regard to power and money. Do you agree that Lexi paid a higher price for her guilt because she was powerless and broke?
17. Jude says at one point that she is seeking “justice” from the court. Is she? Did she find it?
18. Assign blame for what happened on that tragic night. How much of what happened is Lexi’s fault? Zach’s? Jude’s? Mia’s?
19. Discuss your thoughts about Grace’s “invisible” friend. Who is she? How did she help Grace deal with her emotions?
20. In the end of the novel, Jude learns that in the sea of grief, there were moments of grace, moments of time when one could remember what was left, rather than all that had been lost. What does she mean by this? How does it summarize the lessons learned she and Lexi learned? How will this new understanding change all their lives? Do you believe it? Do you think a person can ever truly overcome a tragedy of this magnitude, and if so, how?

Suggested by Members

whose fault is the accident?
by nokidding1 (see profile) 02/09/13

Do you think Jude was selfish or too indulged in her children's lives?
by reading1 (see profile) 05/15/12

Compare Jodi Picoult books and Kristin Hannah books.
This book had several "unlikeable" characters. Does this make a difference when choosing another book by this author?
Where will this family be in 5 years? Why do you think this?
by mistyviolet (see profile) 02/18/12

Describe how Miles and Jude differ in parenting and grieving.
Why and how does their marriage withstand the death of a child ?
Who is to blame for the accident? Discuss the culpability of Jude, Zach, Mia & Lexi.
by rjbandcb (see profile) 01/13/12

Parental roles, adult vs child, selfishness
by mary2751 (see profile) 01/13/12

On The StMartin site there is a very good reading Guide..Which we followed somewhat..but also did our own Freestyle questions
by CozyFallen (see profile) 04/11/11

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

Note from author Kristin Hannah:

The standard advice to writers is to write what you know. As a working writer and stay-at-home mom, I have followed that advice off and on for years. I almost always write about the kinds of people and places that are part of my life. But honestly, no book has sprung more from my own life than Night Road. It all started when my son turned eighteen.

Senior year of high school. I remember my own, of course, as an idyllic time, fun filled and action packed. It was a bit different the second time around—as a parent. It was one of those times I really wished that I had a mother from whom to seek advice. It was the best, worst, craziest, scariest, most stressful year of my life.

I know it’s supposed to be all of those things. Your child is breaking free, trying to use their new wings to fly away from the nest, while you are trying to keep them safe and on track for the rest of their life. Everything becomes a battlefield; everything scares you. There’s the drinking, the partying, the sex-before-college, the curfew testing. All of it is enough to make a sane woman mad. (I maintain that I started sane: allow me my small fantasies).

I didn’t write the book right away. I needed my son’s senior year in my rear view window before I could see it clearly, and when I did, I realized I had something to say about that watershed time in life, that one irreplaceable year that changed both parents and their kids. Night Road is the result. Many people have said that it’s a novel every parent and teen should read. I hope you agree.

All my best,

Kristin Hannah

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by stefanieapplegate1 (see profile) 05/23/20

 
by elatal (see profile) 03/13/17

 
  "Night Road"by bkmnmpl (see profile) 12/06/16

Kristin Hannah finely crafts her characters so that by the end of her books, you are still thinking about them and the consequences of their actions. I enjoyed the story of Lexi and the Farraday family,... (read more)

 
by Taramurphy (see profile) 11/17/16

 
by SandraF (see profile) 04/25/16

I rated this book so high because it was so well executed and written. The story line was not one that I would typically read. However, being a new Mom, I really connected with the characters and the... (read more)

 
  "A Great Story of Human Frailties"by nbaker (see profile) 02/04/16

This is my second book by Kristin Hannah (first read Firefly Lane). Both stories had a bit of the same feel to it – traditional family teenage girl befriends a teenage girl from a dysfunc... (read more)

 
  "Night Road"by tbsmom5 (see profile) 02/19/14

This book is an easy flowing book. This was a great story even though it made me cry. It made me consider a lot of things as a mother. I had a hard time putting it down. Kristin Hannah did a great job... (read more)

 
  "get your tissues out"by KristiK (see profile) 07/13/13

This one will make you cry, if you have a heart and are a Mom, for sure. Our group mostly loved it. There are so many topics that lead to great discussions in this book. Hannah is very good at representing... (read more)

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