review copy provided by William Morrow
Description from Goodreads:
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.
What can I say about Nowhere but Home? I actually loved the book. There was so much about it that I liked. I loved the way Queenie describes the food she cooks -- and she is a true Texas cook. I was constantly getting hungry from the chapter headings alone. An example: "Brisket, ranch beans, coleslaw, white bread, peach cobbler, and sweet tea." If you are from Texas or Oklahoma, this will bring back memories and make your mouth water.
North Star is just such a typical small town in Texas (or Oklahoma). Honestly, it could have been the town I grew up in. So true to form - long memories, scandal, reputations - both good and bad, that never die, and the trapped feelings so many of us felt; as well as the love of family, small town life, the ordinariness of it all that can be comforting. Palmer does a great job of bringing all the contradiction to life. I laughed out loud at some of the descriptions of these small town women - because I knew these women. Unlike Queenie, I never had any reason to return to my small town, but it was fun to read about her return and the ways she grows by facing her past and her fears. If you like a bit of romance, you won't be disappointed - who doesn't like to see the good guys come out the winner?
There is plenty of small town football action - without any of the bad stuff - just small town kids enjoying the game and their family and the town supporting them. Sometimes I chuckled over the intensity of the enthusiasm over the sport, but it is true to life. I have just never really bought into that aspect of small town life though.
I really enjoyed this book and will be recommending it to my friends. The story is compelling and fun with characters that are easily related to and sympathized with. Unfortunately, now I won't be happy until I can get a really good chicken fried steak.