03/28/2011 01:46 pm ET | Updated May 28, 2011

Kristin Hannah Touches the Heart With Night Road

Kristin Hanna is at her best when she creates stories full of love and conflict, and her latest novel Night Road is one of her best. This book focuses on the various types of love. There is the love between a parent and a child, the love between two friends, and the love between a man and a woman. All are present in Night Road in one form or another and it is all written so as to hit home with the readers.

Jude Farraday is the central character in Night Road. She is the adoring wife of Miles Farraday and the very involved parent of their twin children Mia and Zach. Jude has high hopes for her children and wants them to have the prefect life. Zach is a "golden child" with handsome looks and an easy personality. Mia is more of Zach's follower and doesn't make friends as easily.

This all changes when Lexie Baill comes into their lives. Lexie has been in and out of foster homes due to a drug addicted mother. She finally finds a chance for security when she is brought to live with her great aunt Eva. Though she is relatively poor, Eva does give Lexie love and stability.

On the first day at her new high school Lexie meets Mia. They become instant friends. Jude is enthusiastic about this relationship because it brings Mia out of her shell. Zach also becomes friends with Lexie but their relation ship is more strained. In the end Lexie's friendship with the twins, and her acceptance by Jude and Miles, will lead to tragedy.

This is where Hannah's skills as a writer kick into overdrive. She has the ability to paint totally distinct personalities in her characters and have you sympathize and empathize with them all. Each of the characters has strengths and each of them has weaknesses. This is what makes the book so relatable for most of the readers.

Any parent will be able to relate to the relationship between Jude and her children, and any teenager will be able to relate to the friendships between Lexie and Mia and Lexie and Zach. These are relationships that send the heart soaring and also plunge it to the ground. The first half of the book is on such an upward arc of emotion that the last half's shattering fall to earth is totally heart-wrenching.

In any lesser author's hands the emotions of this book could be maudlin but Hannah keeps them on a real and relatable level. In doing so she makes them tender and traumatic. You can not read Night Road and not be affected by the story and the characters. The total impact of the book will stay with you for days to come after it is finished.

Treat yourself to a wonderful reading experience by selecting Night Road as your next reading project. You will be drawn instantly into the world Hannah has created and you will be absorbed by the lives of the characters contained therein.

Night Road is published by St Martin's Press. It contains 400 pages and sells for $27.99.