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August 12, 2022

This Place of Wonder by Barbara O'Neal ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"My first impulse was to burn it all down, but no native Californian would ever - even dealing with drink and fury and a dangerous need for revenge - set anything on fire." (p xv)

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of women's fiction novel This Place of Wonder by Barbara O'Neal
July 2022; Lake Union; 978-1662503702
audio, ebook, print (316 pages); women's fiction

I became a fan of Barbara O'Neal after reading her last two books:  When we Believed in Mermaids (see my review here) and Write My Name Across the Sky (see my review here).  She's an author you can always depend on to give you unputdownable books with great storylines and unforgettable characters that you'll think about long after the last page of the book.  She writes about families in the midst of major life changes.  Her stories are full of conflict, family love and forgiveness, and finding happiness.  This Place of Wonder is a fantastic book and has added her to my list of authors of books that I'll buy without knowing anything about the book.

When Augustus, a well-known chef died, he left behind four women to deal with his death:
  • Meadow is his ex-wife who helped him build his fame at the same time that she was getting national recognition for her farm-to-table cooking.  She is still in love with him but couldn't handle his infidelities.
  • Maya is his estranged daughter who is fresh out of rehab.  She has mixed feelings toward her father and even though she still loves him, she hasn't spoken to him since he and Meadow split up. She's surprised when his will left his home and restaurant to her.
  • Rory is Meadow's daughter who was raised by Augustus.  She is married and has a family.  Her grief over his passing is the least complicated - she misses him completely.  She is the voice of calm among the four women.
  • Norah was his current live-in girlfriend.  She is much younger and had arrived at his restaurant the year before to find out how to reach Meadow for an article she was writing but as soon as she met Augustus, the sparks flew and she ended up moving in with him.  She is distraught over his death and has nowhere to go once Maya inherits the home.

This Place of Wonder is told by three of the four women who are grieving Augustus's death.  Chapters are told by all of them except Rory.  As these four women are held together by their grief, there are secrets being kept that disrupt their lives.  They have to decide whether they will accept Augustus's legacy or try to work together in the future.  As a mystery evolves about the cause of his death, the thoughts of all the women become more complicated.  Can they learn to rely on each other to find their inner strength and be able to move forward or will they stay stuck in their past with resentments toward Augustus and each other?  This book gives the readers an excellent look at four women in transition after a dramatic change in their lives.  

Buy This Place of Wonder at Amazon
(Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read the ebook for FREE!)

Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is two hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.  You can connect with her on Facebook.

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