Nowhere but Home by Liza Palmer
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 2013, 384 pages)
Queen Elizabeth Wake, who goes by “Queenie” for obvious reasons, has just been fired from her most recent job as a chef at a New York hotel restaurant. She has worked all over the U.S. but this recent firing caught her off-guard. Unsure where to go she calls her older sister and decides it might be worthwhile for her to take a pit-stop in her hometown of North Star, Texas. She hasn’t been there in more than ten years and while she’s excited to see her sister and nephew, she’s not looking forward to going back to a world where her family is viewed as trash.
Queenie’s mother had something of a reputation for being the town slut. Unfortunately that reputation was passed on to her kids, so no matter what they did or how hard they tried to be accepted in their small town, the stigma remained. Because of this Queenie was never allowed to openly date her true love, Everett, because he came from one of the wealthiest families in town. She had to watch him marry someone else, despite knowing she was the one he loved. Now that she’s back Queenie is trying to figure out what she wants to get out of life. While she’s thinking her friend’s husband gets her a job at the local prison cooking last meals for the prisoners about to be executed. This is obviously a difficult thing to do and while Queenie at first enjoys the opportunity to make something amazing to send these prisoners “on their way” she soon gets in her head and has a hard time thinking about the people she’s cooking for and knowing it will be their last meal on this earth.
This is a book about second chances and coming out of someone else’s shadow to shine on your own. This was a quick, enjoyable read. I’m glad I picked it up on a whim at the library.