Last Ride to Graceland
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.
Reading Group Guide
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