Thursday, May 9, 2013

Book Review: Nowhere But Home

Nowhere But HomeAuthor: Liza Palmer
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Queenie Wake, a country girl from North Star, Texas, has just been fired from her job as a chef for not allowing a customer to use ketchup. Again. Now the only place she has to go is home to North Star. She can hope, maybe things will be different. Maybe her family's reputation as those Wake women will have been forgotten. It's been years since her mother-notorious for stealing your man, your car, and your rent money-was killed. And her sister, who as a teenager was branded as a gold-digging harlot after having a baby with local golden boy Wes McKay, is now the mother of the captain of the high school football team. It can't be that bad…

Who knew that people in small town Texas had such long memories? And of course Queenie wishes that her memory were a little spottier when feelings for her high school love, Everett Coburn, resurface. He broke her heart and made her leave town-can she risk her heart again?

At least she has a new job-sure it's cooking last meals for death row inmates but at least they don't complain!

But when secrets from the past emerge, will Queenie be able to stick by her family or will she leave home again? A fun-filled, touching story of food, football, and fooling around.

“Queen Elizabeth,” she whispered, “you’re going to be famous.”

I’ve seen the movies: Small-town Girl with her “head in the clouds” moves to the Big City. There’s a makeover montage. There’s a tiny apartment with white twinkle lights; a lovably nosy landlord; and a brand-new group of quirky, irreverent friends. And the piece de resistance: a scruffy-haired boy (usually named Logan) who adores Small-town Girl because she’s different and not like those “Big City girls.”

I need to cook something. I need to lose myself in something else besides the fractured light of my own memory. I’ll cook a big supper as a thank-you for being so welcoming. I’ll cook.

“You and me forever,” I say, closing the card and letting my hand linger. I hold the card as a believer would cradle a Bible. Everett was what I believed in. And he made me believe in an us. He made me believe I would get out of the hellhole I was in and that I could be happy. He made me believe that I was loveable. I choke back the tears I’ve been running from for decades.

Queen Elizabeth Wake, yes that’s her name, has a story just like so many others. She wants nothing more than to run away from the small town in which she has grown up and lived her life. She moves to a big city and makes a name for herself as a big-time chef. These characteristics may resemble other “make a name for yourself” stories you have read, but I promise you Queenie’s journey is what makes her and her story different from the rest. Liza Palmer has spun a story that is a little bit wacky, a little bit eccentric, and a lot of learning to love yourself and who you were meant to be!

Queenie’s situation really put a new light on her character. She moves back home to the small town of North Star, Texas, after losing her big city job, and ends up working in a prison where she cooks and serves last meals to some of the death row prisoners there. This is an odd job and one that probably not a lot of people could master, but Queenie’s true essence and kind heart shines through in passages like these. Queenie is strong, misunderstood, and feels lost, just like most of the prisoners she serves. Even after what felt like rock bottom to her, Queenie continues to pursue her hopes and dreams and sees the beauty in every situation.

Queenie has a lot to deal with once she moves back home. She has the ghost of her mother’s past, her mother once being the town harlot, her ex-boyfriend, and her sister who was beginning to follow right in their mother’s footsteps. I was wondering when it was going to stop raining on Queenie’s parade. But I will give it to her, the girl has spunk! I am hearing a lot of question about whether or not this should be considered “chick lit” or not, but I think that whatever you want to call it, it is fabulous! Queenie is one of those characters that make the story just through their perspective. If I had heard this story from any other character I knew I would have never fallen in love with its elements!

***A copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at William Morrow Books in exchange for my honest review***

1 comment:

  1. Is it okay to admit that I am in love with this cover art!? Adore it!

    Oh, yes, and the book sounds quite good also. Thanks for sharing all about it, Chelsey. :)