“This Must Be The Place” by Maggie O’Farrell – Book Review

For my seventh and final read of the 2018 ‘Reading Ireland‘ challenge, I thought I’d try an author I’ve heard a lot about.  I’d never read any of her work before, but after this one Maggie O’Farrell will be on my list of favourite authors.


I believe this would be a great choice for a bookclub. The novel’s many characters and strong writing would generate some lively discussion.  To facilitate discussion, the publisher has kindly provided a Reading Group Guide for “This must be the place“.

I waffled about the rating for this one. Mostly due to the oftentimes disconcerting jump between characters and time periods.  I rated it a 4/5 then changed it to 4.5/5 because I loved the characters so much. Then after finishing – I knew that since it made such and impact on me, and that I would remember it for a long time, I had no choice but to change my rating to 5 stars.  I look forward to reading more by this highly talented author. Literary fiction at its finest.

I received a digital copy of this novel for free, at my request, from Knopf via Edelweiss. This review is my sincere thanks to them.

Born in Northern Ireland in 1972, Maggie O’Farrell grew up in Wales and Scotland and now lives in London. She has worked as a waitress, chambermaid, bike messenger, teacher, arts administrator, and journalist in Hong Kong and London, and as the deputy literary editor of The Independent on Sunday. Her debut novel, After You’d Gone (2000), won a Betty Trask Award and was followed by My Lover’s Lover (2002), The Distance Between Us (2004), winner of a Somerset Maugham Award, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox (2006), The Hand That First Held Mine (2010), winner of the Costa Novel Award, Instructions for a Heatwave (2013), and, most recently, This Must Be the Place (2016).

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
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17 Responses to “This Must Be The Place” by Maggie O’Farrell – Book Review

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  3. Caroline says:

    It has a lot in common with “Instructions for a Heatwave” – the cast of complex, fleshed-out characters. The intensity of the main characater, flaws and all, the jumps from present to past . . .
    It sounds just as good.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. bibliobeth says:

    Lovely review. I’m so pleased you loved this, I loved it too when I read it last year. I’m really intrigued to read her memoir which has come out recently. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Absolutely LOVE Maggie O’Farrell – I have read many of hers, my first I read (and my all time favourite of hers) is After You’d Gone. On the Irish theme, one of my favourite books ever by an Irish author is Four Letters of Love by Niall Williams.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. skyecaitlin says:

    This is actually on my TBR list, and I love books with many characters and all the tributes you mentioned. I may have to simply order this one.

    Liked by 2 people

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  8. Berit&V@Audio Killed the Bookmark says:

    This was my bookclub read this month and I absolutely loved it! I felt the characters were all so fabulously developed, so happy you loved it!
    Was very surprised that some people in my book club found it very disjointed, I just thought she did a fabulous job all the way around, but as always not every book is for everybody! Have a fabulous rest of your weekend! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can understand why some readers would think that. In my opinion, once you read the entire book, you realize that it was so well written that the author pulled all the different parts/characters together to make a cohesive whole. Thanks for sharing your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I love all her books! The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox is excellent as is The Hand That First Held Mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Loved this book too Lynne!!


  11. Great review I like sound of this one. Have you heard about her memoir I Am, I Am, I Am ?


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