The Best Place by Tyler R. Tichelaar is a character-driven fiction that takes place in historic Marquette, Michigan. Tichelaar did it again! He presents the life story of Lyla Hopewell, a picturesque old lady who grew up in an orphanage where she met her lifetime best friend and now neighbor, Bel. Her story intertwines with local history and characters taking the reader to a trip through time, Lyla’s mind and heart, as they discover with Lyla where does she belong.
The story begins when Lyla receives a call from Eleanor, Lyla’s ex-boyfriend’s sister, to let her know that Bill, the ex-boyfriend, had a heart attack. Lyla, decides to go to the hospital even though their breakup many years back was anything but friendly. Bel, drives her reluctantly, and picks her up after a while. I don’t want to give away the story, but this visit sparks Lyla’s journey as she reconnects with friends and places from her past, and connects with herself for the first time.
Tichelaar’s gift of character development is evident when we meet Lyla. It is hard not to fall for her. Her grumpiness and foul language somehow makes her big heart evident. I loved how Lyla reconnected not only with her past but also with the old O’Neill house because I am a nut for old houses filled with history and personal moments. I definitely need to put on my bucket list to visit Marquette! The story was captivating, heartfelt, filled with history, and current issues. The writing, as I expected from Tichelaar, was impeccable. I didn’t want to end the book so that I wouldn’t have to say farewell to Lyla, Bel, and all of the other characters in her life.
The Best Place is for sure one of the most captivating and unique Historical Fiction books I read this year, one that will resonate in my mind for a while. I highly recommend it to adult readers, and place it at a high 5 star in my book!