Is 'Firefly Lane' Based on a True Story? It Draws From Real-Life Experiences

Gabrielle Bernardini - Author

Apr. 28 2023, Updated 1:12 p.m. ET

Tully and Kate from Netflix's 'Firefly Lane'
Source: Netflix

Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Season 2 of Firefly Lane.

The Netflix series, Firefly Lane, explores the lifelong bonds of friendship through both the good and bad times. The series is based on Kristin Hannah's novel of the same name and tells the story of Tallulah "Tully" Hart (Katherine Heigl) and Kate Mularkey (Sarah Chalke), who we first meet in 1974 as complete opposite teens living in Seattle.

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Through their 30 years of friendship, audiences watch these two women overcome some of life's biggest hardships, including relationships, heartbreak, and their personal and professional successes and failures.

Firefly Lane is a relatable series that has many wondering if it is based on a true story.

Kate, Tully, and Johnny from Netflix's 'Firefly Lane' sitting in bed together
Source: Netflix
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Is 'Firefly Lane' based on a true story?

The New York Times bestselling novel is not based on a true story, but Hannah did draw inspiration from her own personal life of growing up in Washington. In 2019, the author spoke with the University of Washington Magazine to talk about her career, admitting to the outlet that Firefly Lane is "the most personal and autobiographical of her books."

Similarities including attending the University of Washington, majoring in communications, and references to songs, clothes, and places in Seattle are personal references from what she remembers from that era of her life. 

Additionally, Hannah told Seattle PI: "Most places that I write about are places that I have lived ... If you know a place and live there, you can bring something special to the table.”

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Does Kate die in 'Firefly Lane'?

[Warning: Spoilers ahead]

Though the Netflix adaptation has not yet been released, fans of the novel are already wondering if the series will end on this tear-jerking moment.

In Firefly Lane, Kate and Tully's friendship is put to the test after "liking" the same guy named Johnny, who Kate ultimately ends up marrying. (But, the love interest does sleep with Tully.)

Tully and Kate snuggling on Netflix's 'Firefly Lane'
Source: Netflix
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Ultimately, that awkward almost-love-triangle was resolved.

But later on, Kate and Tully don't speak to each other for a year after Tully gets into a car accident with Kate and Johnny's daughter, Mara, in the vehicle. When they finally reconnect, Tully learns that Kate has been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. Before Kate dies, she and Tully reconcile their friendship. Cue the tears.

Sadly, Kate dies in both the book and the Netflix series. (But if you're interested, the author did write a sequel to Firefly Lane, titled Fly Away.)

Firefly Lane Seasons 1 and 2 are now available to stream on Netflix.

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