25 August 2014

Review: The Home Place by Carrie La Seur

The Home Place by Carrie La SeurOne of my most anticipated books this summer was Carrie La Seur's The Home Place. Set in the unforgiving high plains of Montana, the novel promised to be a moving look at the new west. Here are my thoughts in a Bullet(less) Review.

Quick plot: Successful Seattle lawyer Alma Terrebonne is called back home when her younger sister is found dead in the streets of Billings. As Alma teases out the tangle of Vicky's drunken, drug-addled life, she unexpectedly exposes family secrets.

The story: Orphaned a few months before she left for college, Alma rarely comes back for visits. She loves the land and her widowed grandmother, but she has never gotten along with her aunt and uncle, her sister's life is mess, and her older brother has his own issues. Besides, being on the family ranch means remembering all that she's worked very hard to bury deep inside.

But when her sister dies alone on a bitter January night, Alma immediately returns to support her grandmother and her now-motherless eleven-year-old niece. As the investigation into Vicky's death begins to hint at more than a tragic accident, Alma is forced to confront her family's past.

Thoughts: La Seur's The Home Place takes a frank, realistic view of Billings and of the people who've struggled to maintain their family ranches in the harsh environment of Big Sky country. Although Alma's ultimate fate is clear almost from the start, La Seur's beautifully descriptive prose and carefully crafted tension keep the reader fully invested in the lawyer's journey to self-acceptance. The novel may start with questions surrounding Vicky's death, but it's really about the complex ways home and place intertwine to make us who we truly are.

Note on the audiobook: I listened to the unabridged audiobook (Harper Audio; 10 hr, 53 min), read by Andrus Nichols, who perfectly keyed into the rhythm and beauty of La Seur's prose. My full audio review will be published by AudioFile magazine, but the short take is that this is a don't-miss audiobook.

HarperCollins / William Morrow, 2014
ISBN-13: 9780062323446
Source: Review (audio and print) (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Dana Tanaro Britt 8/25/14, 6:58 AM  

This one is going straight to my TBR stacks--it sounds like a page-turner. I love the title and the cover and your quick review is just enough to let me know I want to read it. Thanks :)

rhapsodyinbooks 8/25/14, 8:23 AM  

I should read this - I like the sound of the setting.

Daryl 8/25/14, 10:28 AM  

sounds good … thanks!

Anonymous,  8/25/14, 12:27 PM  

Adding this one to the to-listen list!

Beth Hoffman 8/25/14, 7:24 PM  

I just read this book last week, and your review is spot on!

Sandy Nawrot 8/26/14, 9:23 AM  

You don't have to tell me twice...totally trust your audio recommendations!

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