Susan Reviews Last Ride to Graceland by Kim Wright

Posted: May 21, 2016 in Reviews
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I love a good Southern novel, and I love Rock Fiction that’s off the beaten path, and I just love good books, and let me start off by saying that Last Ride to Graceland has it all.

I may not need to say anything else—go get your own copy and see if you agree—but just in case, here you go:

Last Ride to Graceland is the story of Cory Beth Ainsworth, who interprets a rather cryptic message from her father and winds up setting off on an impromptu road trip that teaches her more than she ever imagined about her mother—and herself.

Her first discovery is one of Elvis’ cars, the famed Stutz Blackhawk itself. She had known her mother had spent a year—Elvis’ last year on Earth—as one of his backup singers. But she hadn’t known the car was there, almost right under her nose, bundled up for safekeeping.

Now, she’d long ago figured out that her father, Bradley, wasn’t her biologic father. That’s not news to anyone in this book. Nine-pound babies simply aren’t born after seven months of pregnancy, and that’s Cory’s logic when she figures out the truth. But Bradley’s a good man and by and large, Cory’s never thought too much about who donated half her genes. Why should she? By all accounts, her mother adored her. Bradley isn’t just a good man; he’s a good father, even if there’s been some space between them since Cory’s mother died.

But then this message and this chance at unraveling the past is dropped in her lap. And let’s face it: how can anyone resist? As a reader, I can’t. Could Elvis be Cory’s real father? Is that where her gift of music comes from?

I’m not going to spoil it. What I am going to say is that this is an effortless read, one that sucks you in and holds you in its spell until the last page, when you emerge satisfied, refreshed, and maybe a bit jealous that this brush with rock and roll royalty wasn’t really yours. You were just a voyeur, coming along for the trip. And on that trip, we meet great characters of all sorts, some whose motives are very clear and some whose motives never are.

My only complaint, and it’s a big one, is that we’re told Cory is thirty-seven. But she doesn’t seem that old to me. In fact, I kept expecting her to be in her twenties, which tends to be the decade for lost people to find themselves (by and large; I know a couple of folk in their early thirties who are still pretty darn lost). I have a hard time believing Cory is thirty-seven. It just doesn’t fit. And it’s not because I was a wife and mother at thirty-seven and Cory isn’t. She just has an air about her that doesn’t fit with any of the thirty-somes I know, even the ones who are a bit lost. She’s too naïve, too innocent, too inexperienced at the phenomenon of getting out of bed every day and doing what you have to do, even if all you have to do is breathe.

No matter how big this complaint, it’s not a good enough reason to keep you from picking this one up. Like I said, it hits all my favorites: Southern fiction, Rock Fiction, road trips, a story that’s off the beaten path (as the best Southern fiction is), great characters…

Really. Go grab a copy.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for approving me for the read. This is, of course, unvarnished truth. Meaning they didn’t pay me to gush like this. It just happened.

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