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This Must Be the Place: A Novel Hardcover – July 6, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; 1 edition (July 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805092307
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805092301
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,281,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Racculia's irresistibly charming debut is an artful mix of genres: oddball domestic (set in a boardinghouse, characters named Desdemona and Oneida), coming-of-age (high school loves and teen angst) and literary women's fiction (love, loss, and friendship). Sixteen years ago, Amy Henderson ran away from home to become a special effects creator in Hollywood. After she is killed in an on-set accident, her widower, Arthur, finds a box of memorabilia and sets off to her hometown to understand her past. He moves into a boardinghouse run by Amy's childhood best friend, Mona, and her teenage daughter, Oneida. Initially, Mona acts as Arthur's emotional nurse, but as they realize they hold answers for each other about Amy, their bond grows deeper. Oneida, meanwhile, gets involved with a local bad boy. The third act is nearly done in by an overly foreshadowed secret, but Racculia smartly keeps the focus on Oneida, Arthur, and Mona's reactions to the revelation (rather than the reveal itself). With its happy ending and rich trove of Gen-X references and humor, this is a thoroughly enjoyable first novel, both accessibly absurd and quite touching. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

A quirky upstate New York boarding house is the backdrop for Racculia's ambitious debut about life, death, and love, lost and found. When Arthur Rook's wife, Amy, dies in a tragic accident, he devotes his future to understanding her past. Clues abound in a pink shoebox of keepsakes that contains a cryptic postcard addressed to Amy's childhood friend, Mona Jones. Turns out, Amy, an orphan, spent her childhood at the Darby-Jones boardinghouse, which was run by Mona's family. The two were inseparable for much of their young lives, until Amy became pregnant. Mere moments after giving birth, Amy left New York and her newborn baby behind. During an extended stay with Mona and her adolescent daughter, Oneida, Arthur slowly peels back the layers of Amy's world, discovering behind her cheery façade a host of secrets and lies. Fans of Bobbie Ann Mason and Billie Letts will enjoy this first outing from Racculia, who lessens the impact of an otherwise engaging tale by revealing a dramatic plot point prematurely and dwelling too long on Oneida's travails. --Allison Block

More About the Author

Kate Racculia is a writer living in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She studied illustration, design, Jane Austen, and Canada at the University of Buffalo and has her MFA from Emerson College. Kate teaches novel and genre fiction workshops at Grub Street, Boston's non-profit creative writing community. She has been a bookseller, a planetarium operator, a coffee jerk, a designer, and a proposal writer.

She was a teenage bassoonist. In her hometown of Syracuse, New York, she played in her high school band, the Lyncourt Summer Concert Band, the Syracuse Symphony Youth Orchestra, and various NYSSMA festivals. Her bassoon was named Nigel.

Bellweather Rhapsody is her second novel.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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I thought the epilogue a little too pat.
Dog Lover
It was filled with interesting, quirky, and vivid characters and they each got to tell their story.
bookmagic
The characters carried this story from start to finish & are the reason to read it.
CTMom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Sharon E. Cathcart VINE VOICE on May 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"This Must Be The Place," Kate Racculia's debut novel, is tricky to classify. Part coming-of-age story, part romance, and part mystery -- but all entertaining.

Racculia's main characters are widower Arthur Rook, boarding house owner Mona Jones and Mona's daughter Oneida. Rook comes to stay at the Darby-Jones boarding house, operated by Mona, after his wife's death. Throw into the mix that Rook's wife was Mona's beat friend in high school for the first in a series of complications. Add a cast of entertaining boarders, Oneida's high school anxieties and issues -- and you've got the basis for the story.

It's hard to review this story without revealing spoilers, so suffice it to say that Rook is trying to understand his late wife better through a shoebox full of small belongings -- including a postcard addressed to Mona -- while Oneida tries to figure out why her mother is the way she is, and why high school is so horrible. Mona, in the mean while, is the guardian of the biggest mystery of all. The way the stories intertwine and ultimately come to their conclusion is packaged in delightful prose and entertaining characters.

Highly recommended.

(Review based on uncorrected advance proof.)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on June 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Some improbable books are magical realism, but there's none of that here, there's another kind of magic, that of quirky and likable characters. These characters have flaws but these flaws make for a good story. Arthur Rook had left Boston for L.A., met Amy who saves him in a burger joint, they marry, Amy dies in a freak accident, Arthur is devastated and leaves abruptly for Amy's home town of Ruby Falls to try to find out Amy's past. And what a past it was. Mona, Amy's former best friend, runs an inn and bakes wedding cakes while raising her daughter Oneida (oh, the spoon jokes). Oneida, a teen, is going through plenty of teenage angst and this is exacerbated by Arthur's arrival and her mother's interest in him. Oneida's fellow students, particularly Wendy (Eugene) add to the cast of entertaining characters that is rounded out by the inhabitants of the inn. From art forgery to the Beatles to movie monsters to mystery to romance, this book has it all and tells it in a very easily readable and enjoyable way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Vickie B on November 29, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
The book has a well developed interesting plot. What I didn't like was sometimes reading it felt like driving a stick shift car for the first time, stopping and starting rather abruptly. When I finished the book I went to look at what other books this author had written and was surprised to see that this was her first book.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By K. B. Fenner VINE VOICE on June 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This novel just felt right from the word go: the offbeat, yet totally plausible characters and situations, the way there was a plot, but not a melodramatic one in the least--a great vacation read. Just as in life, situations arise, coalesce or come to crisis, and then dissolve or shatter or synthesize, and another situation arises. There is a central mystery, but there is so much more--and read the book before it gets condensed into a movie---you won't want to miss a beat.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amber on March 19, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a very unique book filled with unique but incredibly human characters. The author does a great job in placing us in the story and their lives. The story is jumpy at times and sometimes hard to follow. The story being told is full of desperation and finding oneself, especially concerning the tragedies of the past.

Worth the read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By patsykay on October 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This novel wasn't that bad....but it wasn't that good. I liked reading it but can't really recommend it for my book group. Just not enough layers to develop in to good discussion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CW on May 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I felt the story line engaged all the characters to one another. Oneida, Mona and Arthur the main characters were believable and connected
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bobbi on August 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For a first time novel, I thought this was pretty good. IMHO some of the back and forth got confused as to the time line towards the end. But it certainly didn't effect enjoying the story. I just went with it. I like that it wasn't just a cookie cutter finish. It actually was a little different from what you thought you had figured out from the beginning.
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