the home place la seur

The Home Place by Carrie La Seur

The Home Place by Carrie La SeurThe Home Place by Carrie La Seur
Published by Harper Collins on 7/29/2014
Source: TLC Book Tours
Pages: 304
Buy from IndieBound


Years after leaving her family in Montana for a high power law firm in Seattle, Alma Terrebonne is called back when her hard-partying younger sister, Vicky, is found dead. Despite Vicky’s seemingly accidental death, Alma uses her time in Montana to pull together strings from the past and pieces of the present into a single truth.

“That’s just it. How can you show what our lives are without demeaning the struggle people go through every day to keep one of these old places together, keep food on the table? How do you show how hard it isnot romanticize itwithout discounting the richness?”

It’s clear throughout The Home Place that La Seur has a deep connection to both the land and people of Montana. However, there’s a bit of a disconnect between her passion and the characters she’s created. The Home Place is filled with an array of characters that make up the richness of a town like Billings, yet they end up feeling two-dimensional and underdeveloped. Unfortunately, that fate seems to come at the hands of the novel’s plot. Though the story of Vicky’s death is an interesting one, it requires the reader to be pulled in many directions toward a number of secondary characters. Rather than diving deep into the life of a gay man in Montana or taking a serious look at the impact of mining, the novel meanders toward the topics before being snapped back into a mystery.

Though La Seur never falls into the trap of romanticizing life in Billings, The Home Place takes a wide look at life that could have benefited from a closer character study.

If you’d like to see what other bloggers think, you can take a peek at the rest of the stops on the tour.


  • Kelly Massry

    Wow, I feel like we took the words out of each other’s mouths – got into each other’s brains or something! Crazy that we wrote almost identical reviews without consulting each other first.

    • I think we definitely tend to look for the same things in our books and this one was missing that key bit for both of us.

      • Kelly Massry

        By the way, I am completely addicted to the Celeste Ng!

  • Sounds meh. lol

  • Ti Reed

    I have to write up my review but it was just so-so for me. Could have been a lot better. The characters seemed a little thin to me.

  • I love that quote. It’s too bad the characters weren’t as rich as the rest. :(

  • Sounds really meh. I’m impressed you finished it.

  • Bill

    I really enjoyed The Home Place. I see your point about it having many characters and subplots with most of them handled superficially. But I don’t feel that way. I understood Alma because I’ve taught a lot of students like her. I like the fact that there are a variety of conflicts among the various members of her family because that seems realistic to me, especially among working class/middle class families. I was sufficiently intrigued by the mystery of Vicky’s death and the secrets of her last months. I thought La Seur’s writing was graceful and evocative of this particular place. Perhaps she tried to do too much in one novel, but I enjoyed the ride and overlooked some of the minor flaws (the love story is a little predictable but still pleasant). I think most readers would enjoy The Home Place.

    • Stories of working class families in rural areas tend to be among my favorites, which is why I was really looking forward to this one. Maybe part of the reason it didn’t work for me is because I’ve stocked up on so much of the “genre” that I’ve loved, like Smith Henderson’s Fourth of July Creek. I don’t mind if there are several characters, but I think because the murder (which I never felt connected to in the first place) was the central plot point, those characters felt extraneous. I do hope that people end up liking it, but I always feel like I need to be honest.

      • Bill

        What’s funny is that I’m about to read Fourth of July Creek, another book set in Montana. I’ve heard it’s a powerful read, so THP might well have paled by virtue of following it. It sounds like I read THP differently than you did, in the sense that I saw Vicky’s death as merely a reason to get Alma back to Billings. I was more intrigued by her belated coming-of-age. All the other subplots and characters were planets orbiting around her sun. I just overlooked the book’s flaws because I was caught up in it. Once I finish Everything I Never Told You, it’s on to Henderson Smith’s book. Good to chat with you, Shannon.

  • Pingback: Carrie La Seur, author of The Home Place, on tour July/August 2014 | TLC Book Tours()

  • HeatherTLC

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour!

  • It’s too bad the author didn’t dig a bit deeper with any individual character, because it sounds like the story had a lot of potential!

  • Hmm – I have this on my TBR list and had really been looking forward to it (especially given my great track record with debuts this year!). I may wait for a few more reviews before deciding…