This Must Be the Place [Book Review]

January 12, 2018

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell (cover) Image: a home with a person walking toward it fills a circle surrounded by a blue cloud filled sky

Genre: Literary Fiction, Complicated Family Drama

Complex, complicated, and multi layered…


This Must Be the Place is a story of a collapsing and reawakening marriage.  Daniel, a young American professor, travels to Ireland on holiday and family business and to stabilize his life after a failed marriage and a difficult custody battle. By chance, he meets Claudette, a world-famous actress who dramatically left the public eye for a reclusive life in a rural Irish village. Daniel and Claudette fall in love and create an idyllic life in the country and have two children of their own. A secret from Daniel’s past threatens to destroy their carefully constructed and quiet, happy life. As Daniel leaves to make peace with his past and himself, he also reunites with the American son and daughter he has not seen for several years. His story is told from his own voice and other multiple voices as he wrestles with the complexities of loyalty and devotion, family, and an extraordinary love.

Amazon Rating (January): 4.2 Stars

My Thoughts:

The Writing: At first I was less than enthusiastic about This Must Be the Place and set it aside on multiple occasions. Although the writing was beautiful, the structure was complicated and jarring as the story jumped perspectives and time periods. If I wanted to continue with the book, I knew I had to focus and invest some hard reading work. Somewhere around 50%, the persistence paid off and I started enjoying my reading experience. After that switch in my attitude, I grew to admire this complex and multi layered literary fiction work.

Flawed and Complicated Character: If you’re looking for a challenging and complex read and appreciate literary fiction, you might consider This Must Be the Place. I think what I enjoyed the most was the fully developed character study of a complex and flawed human being who really is trying to get things right in his life.

Themes: As always in well-written literature, I appreciate the meaningful themes presented. In This Must Be the Place, you will find substantial themes that include family relationships, choices, love, regret, and courage to make changes. Daniel is certainly a flawed character; however, I appreciate his determination to do the hard work in his life of becoming sober to work toward regaining that which is most important to him.

Recommended: If you’re in the mood for something light and easy reading, you might want to skip this one. However, if you’re in the mood for multilayered and complicated family drama and grappling with life’s grittier themes, this might be the right read for you. This Must Be the Place is also recommended for fans of Maggie O’Farrell and for book clubs. I read this book as part of the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club and this poignant post describes how she applied one concept in the book to her personal life.

My rating: 4 stars

This Must be the Place

This Must Be the Place Information Here

Meet the Author, Maggie O’Farrell

Maggie OFarrell

MAGGIE O’FARRELL is the author of four previous novels, including the acclaimed The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, which was a B&N Recommends Pick, and After You’d Gone. Born in Northern Ireland in 1972, O’Farrell grew up in Wales and Scotland. She has two children.





Are you a fan of Maggie O’Farrell?

Have you read This Must Be the Place or is it on your TBR?

Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection!
Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

Looking Ahead:

This week I’m reading Left Neglected (an inspiring story of a woman living with a traumatic brain injury) by Lisa Genova (author of Still Alice). 

Left Neglected

Left Neglected Information Here

What are you reading this week?

Let’s Get Social

Thank you for reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along, promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:

***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

The book covers and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s website.



  1. Started reading “ Prairie Fires” this week… great start! I didn’t realize just how little I knew about what the Dakota tribes were forced to endure…

    • Hi Gail! I’m glad to hear you’ve started and are liking Prairie Fires! I’m waiting for my library hold to come in…. thanks for commenting!

    • This is the first of hers I’ve read…..but eager to read more…..she’s gifted! Do you have a recommendation for which of hers I should read next? Thanks for commenting!

  2. There are things about her books that never leave you. I have a very clear picture of that house in the middle of the woods that just sticks in my mind!

Leave a Reply