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Nowhere but Home: A Novel

Nowhere but Home: A Novel

4.3 39
by Liza Palmer

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Bestselling author Liza Palmer carries readers to North Star, Texas, in the amusing and poignant Nowhere But Home.

After Queenie Wake is dismissed from her restaurant job, she returns to North Star to cook meals for death row inmates.

Hopeful that the bad memories of her late mother and promiscuous sister (now the mother of the captain of the high school


Bestselling author Liza Palmer carries readers to North Star, Texas, in the amusing and poignant Nowhere But Home.

After Queenie Wake is dismissed from her restaurant job, she returns to North Star to cook meals for death row inmates.

Hopeful that the bad memories of her late mother and promiscuous sister (now the mother of the captain of the high school football team) have been forgotten by the locals, Queenie discovers that some people can’t be forgotten—heartbreaker Everett Coburn—her old high-school sweetheart.

When secrets from the past emerge, will Queenie be able to stick by her family or will she leave home again?

Liz Palmer’s Nowhere But Home is a funny and touching story of food, football, and fooling around.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The latest winner from the bestselling author of Conversations with the Fat Girl centers around Queenie Wake, a talented but ornery cook who returns after 10 peripatetic years to her small Texas hometown of North Star to reckon with an unpleasant past. Queenie and her older sister Merry Carole still have trouble shedding the town-pariah status given to them by their promiscuous mother, long before she was murdered by her vengeful best friend. The town’s mean girls are now mean women, and catty showdowns are a guilty pleasure to read. Queenie still has feelings for Everett Coburn, who as a boy had been forbidden to see her. As she tries to ignore him, she takes a job at the prison that houses her mother’s killer, making last meals for the condemned and meeting Hudson Bishop, a handsome professor who helps get her mind off of Everett, though she finds his academic interest in capital punishment infuriating. Palmer deftly conveys how parents’ hang-ups can easily be passed on, or, in some cases, nullified by the next generation. For the most part, the author has a light touch with some very heavy subjects, and though the book’s conclusion seems more forced than destined, the story makes for an intriguing, moving read. Agent: Christy Fletcher, Fletcher and Co. (Apr.)
New York Journal of Books
“Nowhere But Home is a nice, warm snack.”
“Palmer deftly covers the complicated ground of family and hometown loyalty in this funny, poignant novel.”
Kirkus Reviews
A heart-wrenching tale told with true wisdom and a brilliant wit that morphs into a heartwarming and inspiring experience. The book opens with Queenie Wake getting fired from her job as a chef at a Manhattan hotel restaurant. She has been through similar failures in cities across the country from Los Angeles to New York, always on the run, but this time she decides to head back home to North Star, Texas. Growing up in North Star, Queenie and her older, loving sister were doomed to inherit the disdain of the community due to a mother known as the town harlot and a completely absent father. Their mother was killed when Queenie was 16, and she still harbors mixed feelings about the neglectful mother's untimely death. She returns home to cheer when her sister's son debuts as the star quarterback on the high school football team, but she is not really certain she will stay. Once there, she reconnects with the love of her life, whose marriage to a socially more suitable woman, selected for him by his upper-class parents, is the reason Queenie left North Star in the first place. On the career front, she gets a job cooking last meals for death row inmates at the local prison. This job will lead her into one of the most moving and inspiring scenes any writer could possibly imagine and thence to the happiness that she craves and deserves. Along the way, Queenie will witness, and sometimes influence, positive changes in the lives of other residents of North Star. Palmer (More Like Her, 2012, etc.) demonstrates a remarkable grasp of human psychology. Her running interior monologue is so funny and real that the reader quickly relates to Queenie. The dialogue is equally real, and each character comes alive with his or her own distinct voice. The excellent use of language and metaphor makes several long back stories feel short, and the author handles the complex connections with superb skill. An uplifting reading experience.
Library Journal
Queen Elizabeth Wake is a chef on the run from her painful past growing up in North Star, a tiny town in east Texas. She's worked all over the United States and has just been fired from her latest job at a hotel restaurant in New York City. Now Queenie must return to North Star to live with her older sister Merry Carole. The Wake sisters had it tough growing up because of their mother, Brandi-Jacques Wake. BJ was famous for two things, her cooking and her habit of dating other women's husbands, the latter resulting in BJ's murder by her best friend. Queenie takes a job at the local prison cooking last meals for prisoners on death row. Her work leads Queenie to exorcise the ghosts of her past and get closure from her mother's murderer. VERDICT Palmer (More Like Her) uses details about cooking and high school football to create a vivid picture of small-town Texas. The characters are fully realized and the setting authentic. This appetizing, colorful tale of a young woman finding herself and finding love again will please readers who enjoy smart chick lit.—Kristen Stewart, Pearland Lib., Brazoria Cty. Lib. System, TX

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Liza Palmer is the internationally bestselling author of Conversations with the Fat Girl, Seeing Me Naked, A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents, More Like Her, and Nowhere but Home. An Emmy-nominated writer, she lives in Los Angeles, and is hard at work on her next novel and several film and television projects.

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Nowhere but Home: A Novel 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is published by Harper Collins, so the reader knows the content and editing will be much better, than the usual Smashword's releases. I paid $2.99 for this 285 page novel. While it held my interest and was completely different than any book I have ever read, I am not sure I liked it or not. It is a romance, one of those star crossed lovers, wrong side of the tracks, heroine down on her luck and must go home again books, that is where the usual goes off the beaten track and forges a new unusual pathway. I loved Queenie and her family, the plot was realistic, and I know people just like those depicted in this book. I understood the humor and found the death row meals extremely emotional. I cried a few tears over the hardships faced by this family. This is not the type of book I typically read and I honestly do not know how to rate it. I am giving it four stars out of five, because it so unique and has more pluses than minuses. This book's content was unexpected. It was a fast read and I would like to read a sequal to see how this family turned out, now that the crises has been resolved. There is a past murder, violence, (mostly non-descriptive) a lot of cursing, talk of sex, but no actual sex and some religion. There is out of wedlock children and past prostitution, child neglect, bias against the poor and lots of emotion in this book. There is also family love, strong friendship, caring people and people fighting for their place in the world and never giving up. Chick lit. I think mature 16 year olds could read this, but not for anyone younger. AD
CasualReaderNY More than 1 year ago
At first I thought this would be highly predictable, but it turned out to be an emotional story, with lots of "story" to it. I enjoyed it, and will look for other works by this author.
Bwitchd3 More than 1 year ago
Although this book is funny as only as small southern town can be, there is nothing breezy or simple about the story. It’s full of difficult choices, heartbreaking confessions and the struggles of growing up and letting go. Queenie is a fantastic main character. She’s bright, temperamental and broken. Anyone who has ever come from a broken home or dysfunctional family will understand some of what Queenie and her sister are going through. Merry Carole will be your second favorite character. As the older sister, Merry Carole is tough, no-nonsense, and burdened by a heart of gold. This tale of redemption, love, and knowing your self-worth is one that everyone should read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a good read. This was my first book by this arthor. Well be reading more of her books.
irishclaireKG More than 1 year ago
An unusual novel: equally predictable and unique. While much of this plot is predictable and full of devices we have seen plenty of times before-- a character being forced back to confront a past tightly woven into small town history and prejudices--the twist Palmer gives this is what stays with me, as a reader. Palmer's main character, Queenie, ends up taking a job as a death row 'chef' responsible for creating last meals for doomed inmates. Have to admit I have not read that one before--and Palmer does a very fine job of making that plot twist, and its accompanying scenes, totally engrossing and emotional. Quite honestly, I would have preferred that be more of the center of the story and often predictable, clichéd elements edited out or at least given short attention. Chief among these elements any savvy reader can see coming from a million miles away: the requisite small town 'mean girls' who, surprise, end up having their own secrets; the standard, hunky, childhood sweetheart who may or may not still be carrying a torch for Queenie; the small town stereotypes, and good grief! Did the town's name have to be 'North Star?!' Nothing like hitting us over the head with the obvious, and any reader can see the big, revealing, 'twist' coming in the first quarter of the story. All that being said, Palmer has a great eye for small town way of life and the eccentricities Texas ones in particular--including the preferred cuisine. I have lived in small towns my whole life--and here in Texas--for many years. Palmer does it well. So do not let predictable plot devices steer you away. This is an engaging novel that I may find myself going back and reading again.
guacamoleNYC More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing for me. I cry at movies and TV commercials all the time, but this is only the 3rd time I've cried from a book. I checked on the full plot before I ordered it, but had no idea how it would effortlessly go from a possibly like-many-others beginning into an intricate story where I cared about all the characters. I look forward to discovering more about Ms. Palmer's writing in the near future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book I had trouble putting it down!!!!
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings A small town in Texas packs quite a big punch in this sweet and endearing look at how a small town works and the ways that it can destroy some of its own.  Queenie Wake has been an outcast her entire life - she just never quite fit in and maybe it is because of the drama from her mom, but I don't think she helped the matter either.  Her and her sister reacted in different ways to the abuse from the small town - she ran from it.  She returns to North Star, TX, but isn't sure she is there to stay.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best, most engaging books I've read in a long time.
judyx3 More than 1 year ago
Finished it in 2 sittings.... I must have liked it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the characters and the small town. Will read more from this author.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lovely story of a sister who left a town that wouldn't accept her and discovered that their acceptance didn't mean a hill of beans. A very enjoyable and uplifting read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have not read this book but am SO tired of spamfilled, profane, andd all other unhelpful reviews written by people who need to be in a chatroom. I read customer reviews to help me decide about buying a book. Let's all keep the purpose oof reviews in mind. I reported 4 reviews on this book, come on people!
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colleen0209 More than 1 year ago
my granddaughter bought this book and is really enjoying it.
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