Last Ride to Graceland

Last Ride to Graceland

Recipient of the Willie Morris Award for Southern 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.
  • Gallery Books | 
  • 352 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501100789 | 
  • May 2016
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Last Ride to Graceland includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


When Cory Beth Ainsworth discovers a 1973 Stutz Blackhawk in her parents’ shed, all of her suspicions are confirmed. She was not a nine-pound nine-ounces preemie. She was a product of her mother, Honey’s, single wild year in Graceland, and it’s time that she learned the truth about her real father, Elvis Presley.

But truth is a tricky thing, as Cory soon learns. Retracing Honey’s journey from Memphis to South Carolina, she stops in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, finding that the road is taking her farther from her destiny at every turn. Her desperate search for a father yields instead a complex portrait of her mother, whose beautiful voice and rebellious spirit inspired the King even as his own song was fading.

In this latest novel, Kim Wright stuns with a wrenching portrayal of a mother and daughter whose powerful love for music binds them in a way they never could have expected.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. The epigraph quotes Bruce Springsteen on Elvis, & see more

More Books from this Author

The Canterbury Sisters
The Unexpected Waltz

About the Author

Kim Wright
Photograph by Alan Jenkins

Kim Wright

Kim Wright is the author of Love in Mid Air, The Unexpected Waltz, The Canterbury Sisters, and Last Ride to Graceland. A two-time winner of the Lowell Thomas Award for travel writing, she has been writing about travel, food, and wine for more than twenty years for magazines such as Wine Spectator, Self, Travel & Leisure, and Vogue. She also ballroom dances competitively. Kim lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.