No Place Like Home Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of No Place Like Home

Celia Nolan's past comes back to haunt her in a most terrifying fashion when her doting new husband, Alex, surprises her by buying a house for her on the occassion of her birthday. What she cannot reveal to Alex is that this was the very home she lived in as a child named Liza Barton, and that she accidentally shot her mother, Audrey, to death while trying to protect her from her abusive ex-stepfather, Ted. As Liza Barton, Celia earned mean-spirited comparisons to Lizzie Borden, and the house has since been known as 'Little Lizzie's House'.
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Compounding Celia's troubles, a vandal intent on dredging up the past strikes, defacing the lawn, the door and masonry of the house.
Then, the real estate agent who sold the house to Alex is murdered, and Celia becomes the prime suspect, hounded by an obsessed, over-zealous detective.

Never fully vindicated and cleared in her mother's death and the (justified) shooting of her stepfather, Celia decides to find out why Ted was in the house the night of the tragedy before she can come clean to Alex.

When two more members of the community linked to the vandalism and to Celia's past turn up dead, it becomes clear that the danger is much closer to home than she ever realized.
The review of this Book prepared by tesubcalle

Alex Nolan seems like the perfect husband. He recently purchased a home for his wife's birthday in Mendham, New Jersey. Wanting to surprise her he had balloons waiting and roses in every room. He also got her son Jack a pony housed in the backyard stable. Celia Nolan is shocked. She could not tell Alex that this was the home she lived in as a little girl until the age of ten. Celia's father had died and it was just her and her mother, Audrey Barton. Celia woke up one night to find her mother in a confrontation with Ted Cartwright, a former boyfriend. Celia tried to rescue her mother, and took a gun she knew of in a bedroom drawer. Ted pushed her mother into Celia and the gun went off. Her mother died, and Ted
was seriously wounded. In a state of shock, Liza Barton, as she was known back then, could hardly say a word during her trial. She was acquitted and adopted by distant relatives and relocated to California.

    She came back to New York in her early twenties to enter the Fashion Institute. Celia Kellogg as she was now known, became a very successful interior designer. She met her first husband Laurence Foster, a philanthropist. They had one son named Jack. Larry died leaving her a young widow. He made her promise that she would never reHe made her promise that she would never reveal her former identity to save their son Jack from such notoriety. Soon after his death, Celia was courted by Alex Nolan, a successful attorney. He was there for her and her son, when she was involved in an accident and ended up in the hospital.They very quickly got married after she recovered.

    Alex wanted them to start fresh, and not continue living in the same apartment that Celia lived in with her first husband. Georgette Grove, a realtor tried to tell Alex of the house's notoriety. Around town it was known as “Little Lizzie's place”. It was horribly vandalized on the day they were to move in. Georgette becomes extremely worried about the legal technicalities since the house was put in Celia's name only and no disclosure was made to her. Georgette tries to make it up to Celia and show her another house. Georgette ends up murdered and Celia quickly becomes a suspect. When Charley Hatch, a local landscaper is murdered as well, the police began to focus harder on Celia. Celia is tempted multiple times to tell Alex the truth but never finds the right time. Also, she has been harassed by phone calls calling her Little
Liza. Someone knows who she is.

The District Attorney disagrees with his detectives beliefs, and continues to believe that Celia is innocent. His department does discover that she is indeed Liza Barton. Dru Perry, a reporter, is hot on the case as well, tracking down her relatives in Florida. An unexpected twist towards the end with one of the main characters keeps you guessing, as all the loose ends are nicely tied together. Things are very different for Celia and her son once the case is solved.

The review of this Book prepared by Nancy Larrabee

Chapter Analysis of No Place Like Home

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 50%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 35%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   depressing/sad    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Challenging Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   60% Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   solving long-past murder    -   Proving innocence of very obvious suspect    -   Killer purposely leaves clues Kind of investigator    -   police procedural, American Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   feelings of fear/loss/inadequacy Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes General Crime (including known murderer)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   small businessman    -   wealthy Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American Unusual characteristics:    -   Super sensitive soggy jelly muffin


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast Small town?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Unusual forms of death    -   perforation--bullets Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Mary Higgins Clark Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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