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This Must Be the Place

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3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  1,196 ratings  ·  255 reviews
The Darby-Jones boardinghouse in Ruby Falls, New York, is home to Mona Jones and her daughter, Oneida, two loners and self-declared outcasts who have formed a perfectly insular family unit: the two of them and the four eclectic boarders living in their house. But their small, quiet life is upended when Arthur Rook shows up in the middle of a nervous breakdown, devastated b ...more
Unknown Binding, 0 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Tantor Audio (first published January 1st 2010)
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Sjcapanna
I chose this book because it got a glowing review in People magazine. I know, People might not be the best source for literary recommendations, but I find reviews by high-faluting, snobby literary types to be just as unreliable.

I figured this book would be good in a quietly charming kind of way. You know, like the kind of book that is enjoyable not so much for the dramatic plot twists, but because of good writing and likable characters. While this book did have the latter two, it just somehow d
...more
Britany
Amy Rook dies in a tragic car accident and her husband, Arthur Rook finds a shoebox of mementos with a strange postcard addressed to a Mona Jones in Ruby Falls boardinghouse. He decides to run off and find out about what this postcard could mean and who Mona Jones was and why he hadn't heard of her before...

Enter Mona Jones, a chef extraordinaire, mother of Oneida Jones, owner of a boardinghouse full of characters. What started out as an interesting mystery slowly becomes overwrought with useles
...more
Jennifer
I was intrigued by the summary of this book, though it's not a genre I'd usually pick up ~WOW am I glad I did!

This was a refreshing read that was hard to put down. There are several main characters in the book and all of them are accessible and fascinating in their own right (which is not an easy feat, mind you). Even though I didn't love all of the characters immediately, the more I read, the more endeared I became. Racculia jumps from character to character advancing the story from different
...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

The main problem with overedited literary debuts from precocious MFAers, in my opinion, is not that they're bad but rather so damn mediocre; take for example Kate Racculia's recent This Must Be the Place, which would be hard to point at in any particular place and say that it's actively bad, but nonetheles
...more
Gail Cooke

We know that growing up can be difficult. Coming of age isn't easy, but it was especially onerous for Oneida Jones. And, no, as she'll be the first to tell you - she was not named after a spoon.)

In this imaginative, entertaining debut novel Oneida's home is a boarding house, the Darby-Jones in Ruby Falls, New York, run by her mother, Mona. (There is not a father in the picture as Mona had returned to Ruby Falls years earlier unwed but with baby Oneida in her arms) As if cooking and cleaning for
...more
Evelyn
I was intrigued by the premise of this novel by a first-time author. It's the story of a single mother and her daughter who run a boarding house in a small, upstate New York village, and a widower/lost soul who is 'guided' to them after his wife suddenly dies.

The writing was very uneven; at times captivating and beautifully realized, at other times unbelievably muddled, confusing and unclear. It felt as though an editor had lost patience with parts of the book, and simply deleted some of the de
...more
Meredith
Before you crack open this book, understand something vital: Whatever you think you know about these characters, you're, at best, only half-right. That doesn't mean that this is a mind-bender of Murakami proportions, though there are some pretty significant twists. It means that the characters have depth.

This is the warm, sometimes whimsical story of Amy Rook and the people she left behind. There is Arthur, her shattered husband; Mona, her erstwhile best friend, the girl who always cleaned up a
...more
Judith
Our hero is rendered speechless by his first visit to "In & Out" and meets his future wife when she rescues him by ordering for him. This cute-meet foreshadows the rest of the story. His wife dies dramatically in the first chapter and in his despair he tears apart their apartment looking for. . .? a shoe box filled with his wife's adolescent memorabilia. This naturally leads him to immediately leave L.A. and head for her hometown of Ruby Falls, N.Y. There he tracks down his wife's best frien ...more
Melinda Worfolk
I started listening to this as an audiobook while we were travelling because I had enjoyed the author's previous audiobook (Bellweather Rhapsody) well enough. It was a bit predictable (and we are talking me here--I almost never figure out plot twists ahead of time) but I did like the characters. The narrator wasn't as good as the Bellweather Rhapsody narrator, but she was OK. A reasonably pleasant way to pass the time, but like BR, it was too long. It needed editing! The ending dragged a bit, wh ...more
Sharon
"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 e
...more
Laurel-Rain
The story begins with a boardwalk scene, a young girl, and a postcard.

We then leap ahead sixteen years to a couple living an ordinary life in LA; he, Arthur Rook, is a photographer, and she, Amy Henderson Rook, creates special effects in movies. They are just living day to day.

Then it all changes with a freak accident that leaves Amy dead and Arthur blindsided. Armed with a pink shoebox containing Amy's collection of objects he sees as "clues," and with a postcard and an address in Ruby Falls, N
...more
Stephanie D.
When Amy Henderson dies suddenly, her devastated husband, Arthur Rook, finds a hidden shoebox of mysterious mementos, including a never-mailed postcard which leads him to the Darby-Jones boardinghouse, now run by Amy’s childhood best friend, Mona Jones. The grieving Arthur tries to decipher the meaning of his dead wife’s cryptic souvenirs, and in so doing, threatens to reveal a secret from her past.

“She was so tired of fighting with Amy’s nature. Because it was Amy’s nature to be unknown and unk
...more
Barbara
I am a sucker for originality. I loved this book! Kate Racculia has created an original story, with original characters and writes with a beautiful original voice. Just up my alley!! This Must Be the Place is a story of people who are not seeing their world clearly due to a series of secrets which keeps them at arms length from the people in their lives. As they find love, they find the importance of the secrets diminishes, and each of them are in a position to see and feel what matters to them ...more
Michelle
Beautifully written and an interesting premise (a man finds an odd postcard in his deceased wife's things and tries to figure out what it means). I've been trying to figure out why I didn't like this as much as I thought I would (or as much as the reviews might suggest). I think in the end while there were some fabulous secondary characters (Eugene/Wendy and to a certain extent Oneida) I just didn't really connect with Arthur or Mona. I can see why reviews have been good, but I just didn't love ...more
Karen
This book was somewhat enjoyable, but was extremely flawed. It used the structure of the "one big secret," which even I, who can never predict anything in movies and books, was able to figure out in the first few pages. What was incredibly irritating about reading this book was that all of the suspense was built around this one secret, but because the author clearly didn't want to reveal it until the end, she withheld information from the reader instead of slowly and organically revealing its ba ...more
Scorkpr Allen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Megan
I'm definitely waffling between 2 and 3 stars on this one. I like the idea, I liked the setting, I liked SOME of the characters, but I didn't much care for the delivery. You can tell that it is a first novel. It's overly detailed, manipulatively dramatic, and the big reveal is so transparent you can see it coming the minute you start the book. She does create some interesting side characters, though. I ended up wishing the book was about them.
It's not horrible. It's just decent.
Gina
I will admit, this book first caught my eye because I liked the Ocean City cover. The postcard that was written but never sent with an apology and the words, "I left you the best parts of myself. You know where to look" is the focus of this story about a heartbroken man whose wife dies in an accident. In finding her shoebox of symbols and memorablia, he sets off on a journey to find out what it all means. It was a book that kept my interest and made me happy enough with its ending.
Rori
Arthur Rook finds himself a sudden widower at 30-something. Immediately after his wife, Amy's, death he finds a shoebox full of sentimental bric-a-brac in the bottom of her closet including a mysterious, never-sent postcard that he determines is the key to finding out what she would have stated as her last will and testament had she made it far enough in life to make one. He makes an impulsive decision to leave their apartment in LA with her cantankerous feline and flees to upstate New York to h ...more
Lorenzo
The story was real. The characters seemed real, like I knew them and wanted to join them. It as a soothing, past time read. The style of writing is comfortable, relaxed and real... The story made me look back, nostalgically, at my own life and the people I met along the way - appreciating it all, my life, those people and whatever the future may hold. Inspirational.
Terri Vlasak
Kate Racculia's stories are creative and her characters are likable and intelligent. In This Must Be The Place, the story pivots around Amy Henderson, a charismatic young special effects designer who dies suddenly. Amy's heart-broken husband, Arthur, discovers her hidden box of mementos and sets out to learn the meaning of each. His search leads him to Ruby Falls, the town where Amy grew up. Here he meets Mona, Amy's best friend - perhaps her only friend - and Mona's daughter, Oneida. As Arthur ...more
Jeannine
Slow and mostly uninteresting. Liked how In-N-Out Burger (a California institution) played a prominent role in the the first chapter, and how Amy admired real-life pioneering special effects master, Ray Harryhausen as a role model, but other than that? Didn't like Amy much. Boarding house resident "Bert" grated on my nerves so bad I stopped reading.

The synopsis on the back of the book combined with "clues" from a postcard in the prologue made guessing the big "mystery" easy peasy. It's difficult
...more
Tracy
I was ready to give this book 4 stars until it went on a hundred pages too long. I then couldn't wait for it to end!
LINCCReviews
I didn't even finish this book. By the time I was one third of the way through it I'd figured out what the "secret" was and could guess the ending quite easily. But the thing that really made me put it down was when the story of Arthur's search got bogged down in Wendy and Oneida's coming of age junk and sexual problems. I didn't choose this book to read about teenage stuff; I chose it to read about Arthur's problems and how he worked them through.



I give it two stars because the writing is good
...more
Lindsey Stefan
Author Kate Racculia has crafted a beautiful tale of grief, secrets, and chances missed and found in her debut novel. The novel fell flat for me in certain places, though. While Mona and Arthur were well-crafted characters, I did not want to spend so much time with our teenage protagonists. Oneida becomes friends with and then romantically involved with a boy from school known as Wendy. The point of view switches between the four characters and I felt that neither Oneida nor Wendy needed so many ...more
Beth
In the beginning of the book, I thought Arthur was going to be the main character. He takes his deceased wife's mementos in a pink shoe box to seek out Mona to find out more about his wife's past. However, after getting more into the book it seems as though Oneida is the main character and it becomes more of a coming of age story. All the characters in this book are not exactly likable but that is okay. Some of the tenants in the Darby-Jones Boarding House are quite peculiar but they do make for ...more
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
This Must Be the Place, Kate Racculia's debut novel, is the story of a widower, a past friendship, a mother and daughter, first love, and what happens when all these different worlds collide. Really, it's a hard novel to classify as it crosses genres. It's a coming of age story mixed with elements of chic lit, but it is also a plot driven character study. And, after melding elements from these different genres, it's really quite good.

All the characters aren't perfect so they feel realistic. (Art
...more
Sheryl
Much of the plot seemed unbelievable, but is so engaging and well written, I kept reading. Arthur Rook is a socially awkward photographer who is married to the quirky Amy, who creates monsters for Hollywood. When she dies unexpectedly, Arthur rifles through his home looking for mementos of her life, hoping to learn more about her. Hidden away in her closet, is a pink box with scraps of paper, plastic trinkets, and a mysterious postcard alluding to her past life. Without telling anyone, he drives ...more
Melanie
I struggled between a three and a four star rating on this book. I chose a four because, as you choose with wine, you read what you like and what makes you smile.

The plot is fast paced although the hidden secret chaser in the storyline is very transparent and easily guessed right away. I think you rocket through the book to validate your suspicions which is why i made it so quickly through this book. I admit i read 200 pages in one sitting just to finish and find out if i was right.

The writing
...more
Jan
My feelings about this book are a little mixed. I loved all of the stuff with the teenagers, Oneida & Eugene. I felt those parts were well-written, interesting, and engaging. I believed that they were teenagers acting like teenagers and even though they made mistakes as they muddled through on their way to adulthood, they were still likable & compelling.

[SPOILER BELOW]

I didn't particularly care for the parts with the adults. The tertiary characters, the other ones in the Darby-Jones, wer
...more
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Kate is a freelance writer living in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She is the author of two novels, Bellweather Rhapsody, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2014, and This Must Be the Place, published in 2010 by Henry Holt & Company.

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
...more
More about Kate Racculia...
Bellweather Rhapsody

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“There was only the promise and the hope that other people can be good, are good; that other people are the reason we are alive on Earth at all. Friendship required more faith than any other kind of love” 0 likes
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