A sudden death, a never-mailed postcard, and a longburied secret set the stage for a luminous and heartbreakingly real novel about lost souls finding one another
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 three 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 by the death of his wife, carrying a pink shoe box containing all his wife's mementos and keepsakes, and holding a postcard from sixteen years ago, addressed to Mona but never sent. Slowly the contents of the box begin to fit together to tell a story—one of a powerful friendship, a lost love, and a secret that, if revealed, could change everything that Mona, Oneida, and Arthur know to be true. Or maybe the stories the box tells and the truths it brings to life will teach everyone about love—how deeply it runs, how strong it makes us, and how even when all seems lost, how tightly it brings us together. With emotional accuracy and great energy, This Must Be the Place introduces memorable, charming characters that refuse to be forgotten.
Arthur Rook didn't know.
He woke up on Friday morning when Amy rolled out of bed, but the running of the shower sang him back to sleep. When his alarm buzzed at seven he woke again, shaved and dressed and fed himself and Ray Harryhausen, the cat, and stood on the curb in front of his apartment complex in Toluca Lake, just north of Hollywood, waiting for a ride to work. Like every morning in Los Angeles, it was colder than Arthur, who grew up in Boston, thought LA was supposed to be. He squinted at the sun, hugging himself. He saw his breath on the air. He wished Max
“ ‘This Must Be the Place’ makes for a lively read as it explores the themes of friendship, love, loss and forgiveness. . . . [T]he author creates subtle moments of poetry by way of everyday objects and lives.” -Los Angeles Times
“In This Must Be the Place Kate Racculia reveals herself to be a wonderfully witty writer whose vivid characters—young and not so young—are capable of endless surprises. Her absorbing plot and her deep understanding of the connection between past and present make this an affecting and deeply pleasurable novel.” —Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street
“What a lovely, utterly endearing book this is—effulgent and alive, peopled with originals, alchemically forging whole souls out of fractured hearts. Kate Racculia tells her tale with the rare, light-winged grace of a natural-born storyteller who finds meaning and beauty in the deliciously strange half-twist.”—Beth Kephart, author of Undercover and A Slant of Sun
“Never has it been more aptly presented than in this engaging novel that love can take us all on unexpected journeys—often when we least expect it. Here is a story that is part mystery, part meditation, part romance, part imperative. It is presented from different points of view: cake-baking Mona, mistress of a boarding house, for whom a long-ago act of love for a friend leads to a complicated romance. Mona's teenage daughter, Oneida, whose tentative forays into love bring her far more than she anticipated. And Arthur, a man widowed too soon, on a path that will lead him to understand who his young wife really was. Kate Racculia has a strong and original voice, and a lot to say about the chances we take—or miss.”—Elizabeth Berg, author of The Last Time I Saw You