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 storyone 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 lovehow 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.
The tone is funny and generous – youthful and hip without the trendy bite. Kate Racculia has put together an interesting mix of themes. Meditations on family, identity, romance, and creativity swirl around a compelling set of relationships, many of which come about by proximity rather than by design. (Reviewed by Jennifer G Wilder).
O, The Oprah Magzine - Karen Holt
This often witty debut, with its cast of appealing characters, is a smart exploration of love, friendship, and the secrets we keep, even from ourselves.
This enchanting debut is part romance, part mystery—with a touch of coming-of-age tale thrown in…All three [characters] are confronted with larger issues of love and duty and learn that the essential question is not "How did I get here?" but "Where am I going?" Racculia's whimsical details and flawed yet immensely likable characters make Place a magical journey. 4 Stars
With its happy ending and rich trove of Gen-X references and humor, this is a thoroughly enjoyable first novel, both accessibly absurd and quite touching.
Starred Review. Boston-based Racculia has packed enough emotion, personality, and deft writing into her debut novel to power this small town. We are fascinated by Arthur's quest and eager to uncover the secrets everyone is hoarding. By book's end, readers will know they have unearthed a treasure. Highly recommended for discerning readers.
Starred Review. [An] accomplished and compelling debut novel. Intelligent, warm-hearted and tough-minded - Racculia is a talent to watch.
Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street
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.
Beth Kephart, author of Undercover and A Slant of Sun
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.
Elizabeth Berg, author of The Last Time I Saw You
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.
Harryhausen, the cat at the center of This Must Be the Place, is a living totem of his owner's patron saint, the real-life animator Ray Harryhausen. Ray Harryhausen was a pioneer in the field of animation, and the inspiration behind Racculia's Amy, who builds her life around the surreal art of making model monsters for the movies.
Racculia writes on her blog of discovering Harryhausen's work in the form of his last major film: "The Clash of the Titans, Harryhausen's 1981 epic ode to Greek mythology and Harry Hamlin's magnificent perm, were on HBO approximately eight bajillion times in the mid-80s, and all eight bajillion of those times, I was there to watch it." Oh, the heady early days of cable. Racculia was not the only one to overdose on Titans at a tender age the image of Harryhausen's writhing Medusa maybe a generational marker. We 80s cable subscribers could not get enough of that last gasp of handmade movie-making, even as computer animation was well underway on the other cable channels and had...
Research shows that 90% of Americans value public libraries(Dec 11 2013) According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, about 90% of Americans aged 16 and older said that the closing of their local public library would have an...