Fly Away Home
I’m not a fan of stories that manipulate me, but when it’s as gentle and enjoyable as it is in Fly Away Home, then I don’t mind. When coupled with writing as beautiful as Kim Cates achieves here, it’s easy to overlook that feeling of manipulation and simply surrender to the story.
Eve Danaher is a sad woman. Forced by her wealthy and powerful former lover to give up her daughter years earlier, all Eve wants is to see Victoria again. When she is finally able to see her, the meeting is disastrous, and Eve is more destroyed than ever.
She takes a trip to Ireland that changes her life. Eve calls a Bed and Breakfast that has been closed for years, but the owner has to go to the hospital and offers Eve the use of her home (a haunted castle) after a short phone conversation, sight unseen. It is there that Eve meets horse trainer Michael Halloran, a handsome man who happens to live nearby. Halloran runs a farm to help troubled and needy children. Eve jumps into a custody battle over Rory, one of these children, and her prejudices lead her to make unbelievably bad decisions.
Eve is not at all a likable character the beginning of the book – she seems timid, judgmental, whiny, wimpy and paranoid. Fortunately, she doesn’t keep these traits very long. She becomes someone readers will definitely root for.
Halloran is a charming man. His relationship with Eve is sweet. He protects her while nurturing her. Because of his love, she becomes more confident and believes in herself as a woman. She begins to open up to him and becomes stronger. Their bond is touching, and their love is gradual but believable.
Victoria is spoiled and self-centered . When readers first meet her, they might wonder why Eve is interested in forming a relationship with the brat (I sure did). Victoria is supposed to be 18, but she acts like she’s mentally about 10. She cries out in fear of her mother and calls for her “Daddy!” This doesn’t sound like an 18-year-old to me. Victoria is later somewhat redeemed, but just barely. At the end of the book, I still didn’t like her.
Rory worms his way into Eve’s heart and becomes like a son to her. After Eve nearly destroys Rory’s chances for a decent life in the custody case with his parents, she realizes what she’s done and does her best to turn it around. In helping Rory, Eve unknowingly begins to help herself. She starts to heal and realize what is important in her life. Her growing relationship with Halloran is at the top of the list.
Almost as important as a character is Innisfree, an unpredictable horse that responds solely to Rory. The bond between horse and boy is strong, and they share similar characteristics. Getting close to Rory is akin to breaking the horse.
One complaint besides the character of Victoria, is her father. He’s a stock character whose purpose is to thwart the mother/daughter relationship. That’s something he does exceedingly well, but his part in the story is too pat.
Fly Away Home is a poignant read; I teared up several times toward the end of the book. As each thread of Eve’s story comes together, the reader will cheer her on. Her journey is multilayered and has several threads that seem separate yet all tie together. Because this is a romance, readers know they’ll get a happy ending. Yet Cates made me believe that parts of Eve’s happy ending might not happen, so when they did, it was even sweeter. Cates’ trademark ultra-lyrical prose is here, and it worked well. It seemed to be toned down more than in her historicals and the book is all the better for it.
If you don’t like stories that pull on your every emotion, this one is not for you. Otherwise I anticipate you’ll enjoy this as much as I did. This has become my second favorite story by Kimberly Cates.