A Soft Place to Land
For more than ten years, Naomi and Phil Harrison enjoyed a marriage of heady romance, tempered only by the needs of their children. But on a vacation alone, the couple perishes in a flight over the Grand Canyon. After the funeral, their daughters, Ruthie and Julia, are shocked by the provisions in their will…not the least of which is that they are to be separated.
Spanning nearly two decades, the sisters’ journeys take them from their familiar home in Atlanta to sophisticated bohemian San Francisco, a mountain town in Virginia, the campus of Berkeley, and lofts in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. As they heal from loss, search for love, and begin careers, their sisterhood, once an oasis, becomes complicated by resentment, anger, and jealousy. It seems as though the echoes of their parents’ deaths will never stop reverberating—until another shocking accident changes everything once again.
Susan Rebecca White discusses her novel A SOFT PLACE TO LAND
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In the months following the accident Ruthie and Julia imagined and discussed the last days of their parents’ lives so often it was almost as if the girls had been there, had accompanied them on the trip out west. Except of course they had not. That had been the whole point of Phil and Naomi’s vacation.
Their plane crashed at approximately 3:00 P.M. on Wednesday, March 24, 1993, during the girls’ spring break from the Coventry School, where Ruthie was in seventh grade, Julia a sophomore. Most of the well-to-do families from Coventry, which is to say most of the families, were taking vacations... see more
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Reading Group Guide
After their parents are killed in a plane crash, half sisters Ruthie, thirteen, and Julia, sixteen, are shocked to learn of the instructions left in the will. These tight-knit sisters, who grew up in the shadow of their parent’s romance, will be sent from their Atlanta hometown to separate coasts, to live with very different families.
Cautious Ruthie adjusts to a new life with her generous, fun-loving aunt and uncle in San Francisco, but rebellious Julia struggles against the conventionality of her birth father and disapproving stepmom in a small town in Virginia. The vast differences in their new lives strain the sisters’ relationship to the breaking point, and they drift in (but mostly out) of each other’s orbits for the next twenty years, until an unexpected turn of events brings them together again.
1. Why do Ruthie and Julia so obsessively imagine their parents’ ill-fated Vegas vacation and the see more