Published by William Morrow on 2014-07-29
Genres: Family Life, Fiction, Literary, Suspense, Thrillers
Source: William Morrow
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Carrie La Seur makes her remarkable debut with The Home Place, a mesmerizing, emotionally evocative, and atmospheric literary novel in the vein of The House Girl and A Land More Kind Than Home, in which a successful lawyer is pulled back into her troubled family's life in rural Montana in the wake of her sister's death.
The only Terrebonne who made it out, Alma thought she was done with Montana, with its bleak winters and stifling ways. But an unexpected call from the local police takes the successful lawyer back to her provincial hometown and pulls her into the family trouble she thought she'd left far behind: Her lying, party-loving sister, Vicky, is dead. Alma is told that a very drunk Vicky had wandered away from a party and died of exposure after a night in the brutal cold. But when Alma returns home to bury Vicky and see to her orphaned niece, she discovers that the death may not have been an accident.
The Home Place is a story of secrets that will not lie still, human bonds that will not break, and crippling memories that will not be silenced. It is a story of rural towns and runaways, of tensions corporate and racial, of childhood trauma and adolescent betrayal, and of the guilt that even forgiveness cannot ease. Most of all, this is a story of the place we carry in us always: home.
I received this book for free from William Morrow in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Unless you have been out west (Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, etc) it’s impossible to describe the sheer beauty and enormous space there is there. I spent a few years living in Wyoming, in Laramie where I went to school at the Univ. of Wyoming, and as much as I hated the brutal winters that would rip my face open it felt like with the wind and the snow and the ice, I also admired on a near-daily basis the beauty of the mountains and the majesty of the land surrounding me. In THE HOME PLACE by Carrie La Seur, some of that is captured and I was impressed in the reverence with which La Seur approached her subject.
THE HOME PLACE is first a story of a broken family and the death of one of its members. Vicky, the youngest in a family torn apart by an accident years before, has been found dead, supposedly of the elements. It’s January and her older sister, Alma, has less than a week to get everything squared away, including figuring out where to settle Vicky’s daughter, Tiffany, before she has to be back in Seattle for her work.
The problem is the land and the people on it – they are hard to get out and away from and if you go back, they attach right back to you, as Alma learns. Immersed in memories and family and the love/hate relationship that goes along with all of that, Alma has to struggle to figure out what it is she really wants. What made this book so irresistible to being put down, however, is the depth and breadth that Carrie La Suer went to in order to give a diverse and interesting look at life in modern-day Billings, Montana.
From the Native American factions and descriptions, to a brother who lives a lifestyle that, to this day, required strength of character and bravery in order to live every day life, to the sweeping descriptions of both the land, as well as a home that made me want to curl up next to the fire and read, the true beauty of THE HOME PLACE is the story that isn’t being told. It’s the background and the secondary characters and the feelings those evoke in the reader. Like the sweeping vastness of Montana, it seems unattainable yet feels like home all at the same time.
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