Place: Kalulell, Montana
People: Gisela Martindale, married to Oliver Martindale. Mother of Mary Beth, grandmother to Olivia and Chloe Martindale. Chloe’s son, Kyle, Olivia’s daughters, Lucy and Stephi, and Olivia’s husband, Jace Rivera.
Plot: Oliva Martindale drives her girls, Lucy and Stephi, through a blizzard to her grandparents’ home in Kalulell, Montanta. She and the girls are fleeing towards the safety and security of her family – something the girls have had precious little of in their young lives. As their story unfolds, so does the long-buried history of Olivia’s grandmother and the entire Martindale family.
Perspective: It’s been a little while since I’ve read Cathy Lamb. To be honest, I’d forgotten just how much I like her writing. She creates characters that are very accessible and memorable, and families that I long to be a part of. In No Place I’d Rather Be, I especially liked the pieces of long-lost family history that were revealed little by little. The whole story is moving and emotional, filled with richly detailed scenes that bring to life the strength of the human spirit and the power of family.
About the Book
Food, family, and secrets combine in Cathy Lamb’s emotional and deeply honest novel as one woman discovers the recipes and life lessons that have shaped her family’s past, and could guide her toward a second chance at happiness.
Two years ago, Olivia Martindale left behind her Montana hometown and her husband, Jace, certain it was the best decision for both of them. Back temporarily to protect her almost-adopted daughters from their biological mother, she discovers an old, handwritten cookbook in the attic. Its pages are stained and torn, their edges scorched by flame. Some have been smeared by water . . . or tears. The recipes are written in different hands and in different languages. In between the pages are intriguing mementos, including a feather, a pressed rose, a charm, and unfamiliar photographs.
Hoping the recipes will offer a window into her grandmother’s closely guarded past, Olivia decides to make each dish, along with their favorite family cake recipes, and records her attempts. The result, like much of her life to date, involves a parade of near-disasters and chaotic appearances by her doctor mother, her blunt grandma, her short-tempered sister, and Olivia’s two hilarious daughters. The project is messy, real and an unintended hit with viewers.
Even more surprising is the family history Olivia is uncovering, and her own reemerging ties to Montana, and to Jace. Generations of women have shared these recipes, offering strength and nourishment to each other and their loved ones. Now it’s Olivia’s turn to find healing and determine where her home and her heart truly belong.
About the Author
Cathy Lamb was born in Newport Beach, California. As a child, she mastered the art of skateboarding, catching butterflies in bottles, and riding her bike with no hands. When she was 10, her parents moved her, two sisters, a brother, and two poorly behaved dogs to Oregon before she could fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a surfer bum.
She then embarked on her notable academic career where she earned good grades now and then, spent a great deal of time daydreaming, ran wild with a number of friends, and landed on the newspaper staff in high school. When she saw her byline above an article about people making out in the hallways of the high school, she knew she had found her true calling.
After two years of partying at the University of Oregon, she settled down for the next three years and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education, and became a fourth grade teacher. It was difficult for her to become proper and conservative but she threw out her red cowboy boots and persevered. She had no choice. She had to eat, and health insurance is expensive.
She met her husband on a blind date. A mutual friend who was an undercover vice cop busting drug dealers set them up. It was love at third sight.
Teaching children about the Oregon Trail and multiplication facts amused her until she became so gigantically pregnant with twins she looked like a small cow and could barely walk. With a three year old at home, she decided it was time to make a graceful exit and waddle on out. She left school one day and never went back. She likes to think her students missed her.
When Cathy was no longer smothered in diapers and pacifiers, she took a turn onto the hazardous road of freelance writing and wrote almost 200 articles on homes, home décor, people and fashion for a local newspaper. As she is not fashionable and can hardly stand to shop, it was an eye opener for her to find that some women actually do obsess about what to wear. She also learned it would probably be more relaxing to slam a hammer against one’s forehead than engage in a large and costly home remodeling project.
Cathy suffers from, “I Would Rather Play Than Work Disease” which prevents her from getting much work done unless she has a threatening deadline. She likes to hang with family and friends, walk, eat chocolate, camp, travel, and is slightly obsessive about the types of books she reads. She also likes to be left alone a lot so she can hear all the odd characters in her head talk to each other and then transfer that oddness to paper. The characters usually don’t start to talk until 10:00 at night, however, so she is often up ‘til 2:00 in the morning with them. That is her excuse for being cranky.
She adores her children and husband, except when he refuses to take his dirty shoes off and walks on the carpet. She will ski because her children insist, but she secretly doesn’t like it at all. Too cold and she falls all the time.
She is currently working on her next book and isn’t sleeping much.