Date: May 2016
Source:Publisher via She Reads and NetGalley
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 starts off with a little humor and quickly engaged me in the story of Cory Beth as she becomes caught up in the mystery that involved her mother and her own father. As she says she has done the maths and she knows that being born a healthy 9lbs plus baby - premature is a bit of a stretch to accept. She has a great Dad but she just knows he wasn't the one who helped to put her here on earth.
The story is told alternately by Cory Beth and her mother - Honey. Cory Beth sets of in the Blackhawk to trace her mother's journey from Graceland to home where Cory Beth was born. As we learn of Cory's story travelling back, Honey interjects every so often to tell how it happened on the way from Graceland. Cory, following the clues left in the car many years back finds all the important back water towns. Along the way she meets some amazingly helpful people. She also meets some real duds - and one of those could be her genetic father.
By the time the story ends Cory is able to name her true father and has come to know her mother far better. There is sadness in that because in a way Honey for a year lived a part of herself that was then tucked away and denied.
As Cory journeys she not only finds more about her mother and can name the father of her heart, she discovers more about herself, what she wants to do and who she wants to be.
I enjoyed this story of a journey through the back waters of the south. Those who are Elvis fans will find some details about the singer, although the story is fiction. The author picked up a detail from the newspaper and away went her imagination. And the story she tells - believable and satisfying.
If you would like to read other reviews on this book, go on over to the summer selection of books at She Reads.