review by Maryom
When Daniel and Claudette met on a lonely road in Donegal, he was a New York based linguistics professor, bruised and battered by a broken marriage, in Ireland to pick up the ashes of his grandfather, and she was an ex-film star, who had famously disappeared from out of the media spotlight, now hiding out with her young son in a remote, almost derelict, old house. For ten years, they've lived together, had two more children, restored the house, created a home. Life seems to be going well, but then, on the way to visit his estranged father in New York, Daniel hears something disturbing about a woman he knew twenty years before - and his life seems ready to slip off course again.
I haven't read all of Maggie O'Farrell's novels but enough of them to know I'll be settling down to a good read. This Must Be The Place, though, is even better than I expected - in short, engrossing, stunning, compelling, moving, brilliant!
I'm not sure Daniel and Claudette are the most loveable book characters ever, but characters with no faults make for a dull book - if they don't have 'real-life' dragons or hijackers to combat, they need internal emotional demons to overcome (otherwise A and B would meet, fall in love and 'lived happily ever after' would come on the second page) In this case, both leads have a streak of self-destructiveness running through their make-up. Daniel's shows in a tendency to drink, to cut himself off from family, to wallow in the remembrance of things that have gone wrong for him. For Claudette, it's her need for extreme privacy - having escaped the invasive media circus that surrounds celebrities, she tends towards a hermit-like existence with an inclination to protect her private space violently if needs be.
Without it being pointed out and underlined too obsessively, the place, Claudette's tumble-down house, was the healing force that brought them together and helped mend their lives, and those of others around them, but when Daniel leaves on his round of soul-searching, will its influence persist?
In brief, it's a love story about grown-ups; not bright new teenage love but that between older people, set in their ways, not necessarily ready to compromise, and dragging baggage from their past relationships along with them.
I absolutely loved it! Need I say more?
Maryom's review - 5 stars
Publisher - Tinder Press
Genre - Adult fiction,