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.
About the Author
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.
Praise for LAST RIDE TO GRACELAND
"Kim Wright takes us on a mother-daughter road trip with a twist, moving both through time and across the south as a young woman retraces her mother's route to find herself...the real treasure here is the pitch-perfect voice of [the novel's] narrator. Cory Ainsworth is the best kind of road trip partner-—scrappy, smart, and wry—and I enjoyed every minute spent in her charming company."
— Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYONE
"Vividly imagined, Last Ride to Graceland is a gorgeous southern novel that captures those twists in a life where comic blends to tragic, and fate and luck collide. Wright is an exceptional writer, and her newest book is more than a simple road trip. It's a canny exploration of the dark, seductive legacy our mothers leave us, woven through a transcendent story that evokes the beautiful, gritty spirit of the vanishing American south."
— Dawn Tripp, author of GEORGIA
“Kim Wright has written a clever, charming, hilarious romp through the quintessential South. Last Ride to Graceland is the story of two women looking for redemption and finding it in the most unexpected, meaningful ways. Wright weaves masterful storytelling with stunning insight throughout this free-spirited road trip, leaving us with a novel that makes us laugh one moment and weep the next. It is a study in contrasts and parallels and the way two lives can tell the same story. I didn’t expect to fall apart while reading these pages, or to bump up against so many familiar longings. But I did, and I love this novel all the more because of it.”
— Ariel Lawhon, author of FLIGHT OF DREAMS
"Last Ride to Graceland is an engrossing road trip of self discovery through quirky, small southern towns. The twists and turns kept me captivated from start to finish. If you love Elvis lore, you’ll love this book!"
— Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author of A LOWCOUNTRY WEDDING
“Talk about the ultimate road trip: blues musician Corey Ainsworth hits the road in Elvis's car on a winding journey through the Deep South and her own family history. It's a little bit Elizabethtown, a little bit Walk the Line. I'm so glad I got to come along for the ride.”
— Anne Bogel, "Modern Mrs. Darcy"
“Last Ride to Graceland is a perfect pick to add to your summer TBR list…Wright creates memorable stories with interesting and unique backdrops that feature three-dimensional characters on a self-discovery path that reels readers in.”
— RT Book Reviews
“I zipped through [Last Ride to Graceland]…in record time, enjoying the ride all the way.”
— Charlotte Observer