Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer

A brilliant, hilarious, and touching story with a Texas twist from Liza Palmer, author of Conversations With The Fat Girl (optioned for HBO)

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. 

Source: GoodReads

Liza Palmer’s book Seeing Me Naked is one of my favorite books of all time.  I’ve been meaning to check out her backlist for awhile and picked up Nowhere But Home on a whim.

The result.

Mixed.

The writing itself is enjoyable and as readable as ever.  Palmer knows how to make a book readable that in itself gave the book a huge plus.

On the downside though, the story itself is extremely trite.  I could predict almost everything that was going to happen before it did.  And there was nothing surprising or unusual to set the book aside from the blandness that it was.

Even the character development was lacking.

Arguably, you could say that Queenie’s arc was decent character development.  The thing is though, is that I thought a lot of her character’s development felt rushed and unrealistic at best.  Especially how things wrap up.

That was a big fat no for me when I read that Queenie went through with that, I was like are you shitting me?  Because who in their mother fucking right mind would cook their mother’s murderer’s last meal.

And yes, I know that was her job at the prison where she was working, but come on.  No one would do that, but I had a bad feeling when I found out about Queenie’s mom’s death and her new job this was what Palmer was going to do.

And it didn’t work.  It was stupid.

Much like the love triangle in this book.  Honestly, Queenie’s whole romance could’ve been scraped all together and the book might’ve been better off for it.  I get that Everett was a part of her past, but in the present he barely makes an impression on me throughout the whole story so how things got resolved between them seemed a little WTF to me.

Really, all the character development was like that.  All the secrets that were to come out, apparently didn’t need to come out since everyone knew them already.  It was like what’s the point.

You read the book for the reveal and the reactions of the reveal, and the reveals had already been done.

To be fair though, a part of me really did enjoy this one.  Like I said, the writing was good and as unrealistic as the town Queenie lived in felt, for what it was worth it was atmospheric.  I did get emerged in the setting, but from my experience with Texas and small towns that town would likely only exist in a Hallmark movie.

I’m being honest here.  I just found it so difficult to buy some of the conflicts that went on with the community and the added bonus of Texas big hair made it feel even faker.

I guess what I’m saying is even though I had a lot of problems with Nowhere But Home, is that if you can look passed all the cliches and a plot that doesn’t surprise you, you might want to give it a try.  Like I said, Palmer does have a quality about her writing that makes is charming and hard to put down.  But if you are one to get swept up into decent writing and you start noticing all the flaws you might not like this one that much.

Overall Rating: A C+

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