The Home Place (Hardcover)
August 2014 Indie Next List
“Alma Terrebonne, a rising star in a Seattle law firm, has left behind her complicated family and past tragedies in Billings, Montana, until one morning when a call for help pulls her back. Returning to identify her sister, dead apparently from exposure, and to care for her 11-year-old niece, Alma is overcome by guilt, fragile family relations, powerful memories from the past, and the hold the family homestead has over her. Both a tense, page-turning police procedural and a delightful romance with carefully drawn characters, The Home Place will resonate with the reader long after the book is finished.”
— Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT
A successful lawyer is pulled back into her troubled family's life in rural Montana in the wake of her sister's death in this mesmerizing, emotionally evocative, and atmospheric literary novel
For a Terrebonne, the home place is the safe haven, the convergence of waters, the place where the beloved dead are as real as the living. . . .
The only Terrebonne who made it out, Alma thought she was done with Montana, with its cruel poverty, bleak winters, and stifling ways. Hard work and steely resolve got her to Yale, and now she's an attorney in a high-profile Seattle law firm, too consumed by her career to think about the past. But an unexpected call from the Montana police takes the successful lawyer back to her provincial hometown and pulls her into the family trouble she thought she'd escaped.
Her lying, party-loving younger sister, Vicky, is dead. The Billings police say that a very drunk Vicky wandered away from a party and died of exposure after a night in the brutal cold. The strong one who fled Billings and saved herself, Alma returns to make Vicky's funeral arrangements and see to her eleven-year-old niece, Brittany. Once she is back in town, Alma discovers that Vicky's death may not have been an accident.
Needing to make her peace with the sister she left behind, Alma sets out to find the truth, an emotional journey that leads her to the home place, her grandmother Maddie's house on the Montana plains that has been the center of the Terrebonne family for generations. She re-encounters Chance, her first love, whose presence reminds her of everything that once was . . . and everything that might be. But before she can face the future, Alma must acknowledge the truth of her own life--the choices that have haunted her and ultimately led her back to this place.
The Home Place is a story of secrets that will not lie still, human bonds that will not break, and crippling memories that will not be silenced. It is a story of rural towns and runaways, of tensions corporate and racial, of childhood trauma and adolescent betrayal, and of the guilt that even forgiveness cannot ease. Most of all, it is a story of the place we carry in us always: home.
About the Author
Carrie practices energy and environmental law on behalf of farmers, ranchers, and Native Americans, and does a little writing, from an office in Billings, Montana. Her ancestors homesteaded in Montana in 1864 and survived every sort of calamity and absurdity, so the publishing industry seems pretty tame to her by comparison.
Carrie s improbable but apparently nonfiction resume includes a degree in English and French from Bryn Mawr College, a Rhodes Scholarship, a doctorate in modern languages from Oxford University, and a Yale law degree. She has always been a writer. The writing comes easily, she says. It s what I m always doing in the background, whatever else is going on. It s like my resting pulse rate to be scribbling what s happening in my head. If I didn t, I d be wandering the streets talking to myself. Sometimes I do that anyway.
In 2006, Carrie founded the legal nonprofit Plains Justice, which provides public interest energy and environmental legal services in the northern plains states. Carrie and Plains Justice have played a key role in halting several new coal plants, enacting clean energy reforms, and launching the Keystone XL pipeline campaign. I m still involved in Plains Justice, but I went back to private practice in 2012. Running a nonprofit takes a unique blend of selflessness and enough raging narcissism to think you really can change the world. The burnout rate is similar to that of telemarketers.
A licensed private pilot and committed introvert, Carrie hikes, skis, and fishes the Montana wilderness with her family in her spare time. Her work has appeared in such diverse media as Grist, Harvard Law and Policy Review, The Huffington Post, Mother Jones, and Salon.