Book Review: ‘Last Ride To Graceland’ Is A Pleasant Summer Read

RCC Ride

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. A backup singer for Elvis Presley, Cory’s mother, Honey, was at Graceland the day Elvis died. 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.

We are introduced to Cory Ainsworth, a Blues singer and musician who earns a living singing in the cafes of North Carolina. Her mother recently passed away and had been a backup singer for Elvis Presley in the last years of his life. He named her Honey Bear. The book is very lighthearted and will pleasantly pass the time on these hot summer days. To start the tale, Cory is asked by her father, who is away on a fishing trip, to send him his wading boots as he desperately needs them, and that she will find them in the shack, not the shed, out back of their home. He repeatedly states “not the shed” so naturally, this piques Cory’s interest and as she begins to search the shed, she is startled to find a Stutz Blackhawk that once used to belong to the King of rock and roll.

The car is wrapped up so tight, not one iota of dust has settled on the vehicle. With some help from a friend, she unwraps the car and discovers a time capsule inside. She remembers that her mother and her friend Marilee were in Graceland when Elvis died and that they left that same night. It is not lost on Cory that her mother married her high school sweetheart as soon as she moved back home and produced a preemie weighing in at nine and a half pounds, seven months later…Cory! And so the story unfolds and in the process of taking the car back to Graceland, retracing her mother’s journey all those years ago, she travels the back roads as she has no ownership papers or insurance.

Author Kim Wright weaves a very insightful story and successfully time jumps between Cory’s journey and that of her mother’s, years earlier. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and the people I met along the way, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Cory grows up while taking this trip and gets to know her mother in a way that was very poignant. The musical background is well researched and the whole story comes together nicely in the end. Highly recommended.

Available in book stores now

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Ann McDonald

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