ARC Review – Last Ride to Graceland

Posted February 29, 2016 by Kathy in 4 stars, Book Review / 2 Comments

ARC Review – Last Ride to GracelandLast Ride to Graceland by Kim Wright
Published by Gallery Books on May 24, 2016
Genres: Womens Fiction
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on AmazonBarnes & Noble

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.

Last Ride to Graceland is a touching story about a daughter seeking the truth about her mother’s past. This was my first book by Kim Wright and I really enjoyed this.


Cory Ainsworth is a thirty-seven-year-old blues musician. It’s been less than a year since her mother passed away when she discovers Elvis Presley’s Stutz Blackhawk hidden away in their South Carolina home. The car is in mint condition and contains unusual clues from her mother’s past as one of Elvis’ back-up singer. Her mother, Laura aka Honey, fled Graceland on the day of Elvis’ death and never spoke of her time with the King. Cory has always wondered who her real father was so with the help of the clues Cory goes on a road trip. She intends to return the car to Graceland but follows the unusual route her mother took 37 years ago to get back home. A journey to find the truth of her father makes a surprising twist for Cory. By discovering her mother’s past Cory comes to an understanding that she and her mother weren’t as different as they had appeared to be.


The characters of Last Ride to Graceland were fun and easy to relate to. Cory is lost and makes ends meet by singing at a bar. Her passion for music comes from her mother but we see that they clashed. This is a typical mother-daughter relationship that anyone can identify with. Cory is a likeable character and it is no surprise that the strangers she meets gravitate to her. This journey forms a stronger connection with her mother and also we see Cory get a grip on her future. The story is written in dual POV, alternating between Cory and Honey in 1977. The author also mixes in Elvis’ last days. I was 6-years-old when Elvis passed away. At the time I didn’t understand who he was but I can recall how devastated my mother was by his death. The author’s historical facts are a unique tie into Honey and Cory’s story. There were humorous, heartbreaking and touching moments.


I recommend Last Ride to Graceland for fans of women’s fiction and heartwarming mother-daughter stories.


I received this book as a member of the XOXperts, XOXO After Dark’s official street team, in exchange for an honest review. Visit for the best in romance, urban fantasy and women’s fiction.


Last Ride to Graceland by Kim Wright




Rating Report
Overall: four-stars

About Kim Wright

When I was a kid I was so obsessed with books I used to check out four at a time from the library - that was the limit in the small NC town where I was raised - then walk down the street, sit under a tree, and read them as fast a I could so I could go back to get four more.

Now I am the author of Love in Mid Air, The Unexpected Waltz, The Canterbury Sisters, and the upcoming Last Ride to Graceland, all published by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster. My books focus on women who reinvent themselves at midlife - who arrive at the ages of 40 or 50 and begin to seek a whole new direction for their lives. I see this in myself and so many of my friends and have always wondered why fiction tends to mostly tell the tales of twentysomethings - as if nothing interesting happens to women after that! I love following my feisty midlife heroines on their spiritual and romantic adventures.

I also write the City of Mystery series which includes City of Darkness, City of Light, City of Silence, City of Bells, City of Stone, and the Christmas-themed novella, The Angel of Hever Castle. This series is set in the Victorian era and deals with another of my obsessions, the founding of the first forensics unit in Scotland Yard. My chief detective, Trevor Welles, struggles to be a modern man in an antiquated system.

I am the mother of two grown children and recently became a grandmother for the first time. (I highly recommend it!) My hobbies include ballroom dance, travel, and dogs.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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2 responses to “ARC Review – Last Ride to Graceland

    • Kathy

      I read mainly romance so this was a nice change for me. I really liked it and I hope you get a chance to read this. Thanks Katherine!