Last Ride to Graceland by Kim Wright


26154404I just returned a couple of weeks ago from a vacation in Memphis, Tennessee.  I went to visit some friends.  We spent the weekend seeing some awesome music at the Beale Street Music Festival.  I stayed on past the weekend because, as a lifetime Elvis fan I wasn’t going to miss out on a visit to Graceland!  I didn’t have a lot of time that day so I didn’t get to see everything there is to see.  Let me tell you, there is a heap to see and do.  But I am so glad I finally got to see it!  Much to my surprise, I found myself in tears when I got to the meditation garden where Elvis is buried.  It was an emotional experience for me.

Coming home and reading Last Ride to Graceland was a special treat after having just been there.     This book will be enjoyed by all, whether you are an Elvis fan or not.  If you are an Elvis fan, well what’s not to like!  If you’re not an Elvis fan, you may learn some things here.  And hey, why aren’t you an Elvis fan??? ~LOL~

Cory Beth Ainsworth is a 37 year old musician in her hometown of Beaufort, SC.  Cory plays guitar and sings locally.  It’s a seasonal gig and Cory just manages to eke out a living.  Cory has inherited her musical talent from her mother, who left town after high school and spent a year living at Graceland and performing as one of Elvis’s backup singers.

Cory has recently lost her mother to breast cancer, but her father Bradley is still there for her.  Though Cory was raised in a loving home, she’s known since she was 9 years-old that Bradley isn’t her real father.   Her school project led her to do the math.  Everything points to her mother having been pregnant already when she returned from her time at Graceland.  There’s always been that one little question in the back of Cory’s head, is Elvis Presley her real father?

When Bradley calls Cory at work and leaves her a message to send him his boots, she goes out to his place.  Since Bradley’s message specified over and over that she should NOT to look in his shed for the boots, Cory can’t resist the temptation of looking in his shed!  So what to her wondering eyes should appear?  Well, when Cory manages to unwrap it, it’s a 1977 Stutz Blackhawk in mint condition.  There is not a doubt in Cory’s mind who this car once belonged to.  Elvis was renowned for his love of this car.

Cory’s mother never talked about the year she was at Graceland and Cory has always been more than a little curious about her mother’s past.  Hoping to discover the answers she has wondered about for so long, Cory sets out on a road trip through the south, on her way to Graceland.  Using the items she finds in the car she retraces the route her mother took home those many years ago.  Cory knows that her real motive is to find out if Elvis was her father.  What she doesn’t bargain on are the truths she reveals about her mother’s past.

Cory’s a gal who doesn’t hesitate to face down her fears.  She may not have done much with her life, but she’s not apologizing for it.  Hey, it’s her life and she likes it that way!  She’s gritty and a bit rebellious and I loved her character.  The fact that she named her male dog Lucy just cracked me up.

The author, Kim Wright infuses this book with heart and humor galore!   She paints Elvis as the huge megastar that he was, but also as a gentle, caring, scared and vulnerable person with a heart of gold.  All of these traits ultimately led to his tragic death.   I admire her for respecting our memories of Elvis, his great talent, and the wonderful legacy that he left behind.

I would definitely recommend this book.  I enjoyed every moment of this ride to Graceland.

I  want to thank the publisher (Gallery Books) for providing me with the ARC through NetGalley for an honest review.

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