Cover Image: This Place of Wonder

This Place of Wonder

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Member Reviews

Such a deep read. The author explored some real and raw emotions and it made connecting to the characters very effortless. The writing was incredible. Would definitely recommend!
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My first thought after finishing this book: “Wow, I need to read more Barbara O’Neal”. I have already purchased “When We Were Mermaids”, and I am so excited to read it now. 

This book is told from three different perspectives and I did not find that I was disappointed in any perspective shift. I was eager to read each character’s story. I rooted for each character, yet each character frustrated me for different reasons. Which made for an extremely believable and compelling storyline. 

This story is just so fulfilling. It contains uncomfortable conflict; yet it perfectly navigates these conflicts through its characters journeys. It’s about mistakes that are made, how to move forward, and finding forgiveness and closure.

Thanks to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for my copy. A full five stars from me!
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O'Neal has a way of touching your heart. She is adept at creating heart warming books.  

In this book, the plot is a little unrealistic.  The women in it revolve around an egotistical albeit talented man.  Apparently his talent as a chef was so great, a string of women put up with his philandering.  

However, the female characters, in particular the exwife, drew me in and kepy mr engrossed.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the ARC.  This is my honest review.
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Thank you to Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for a review.
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I really enjoyed this one. Barbara O’Neal has a way of pulling you right into her characters’ worlds. I found the struggles of Maya, Meadow, and Norah to be very relatable, but I just couldn’t accept Augustus as the God-like character he was portrayed as (I actually related mostly to Maya because she seemed to be the only one holding him accountable and not excusing all of his selfish behavior). That said, life is complicated and imperfect and this book did a great job of displaying that. Happy to have read this.
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I found this story quite enjoyable. I liked that each of the FMC seemed to grow in some way throughout their grief of losing their father/ lover/ ex-husband. It was also interesting to read about their relationships with each other and how they each grew to need one another in different ways.

Thank you to the publisher via Netgalley for the book to read and review.
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Barbara O'Neal NEVER disappoints! She has become one of my favorite authors since When We Believed in Mermaids. I loved the setting and atmospheric feel of this book. I felt like I could easily visualize everything in my mind, almost as if there. I enjoyed the relationships between sisters, Rory and Maya. I didn't think I would be too keen on reading about a chef, but it ended up not being an issue. I highly recommend this book for any lover of family drama, and anyone who wants to be swept away for a bit. I devoured this book and loved it!
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Four women are affected by the death of Chef Augustus. The police can’t decide if it was murder or natural heart attack. The ex wife Meadow who helped build their restaurant empire, daughters Rory and Maya and Gus’s current girlfriend are all suspect and curious. A story of women and the ebb and flow of emotions. A good read with strong ladies.
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I flew through this book in four days, it was fantastic! I do have to warn you, there are sensitive topics addressed and your emotions will leave you feeling exhausted. I was completely immersed in not only the book itself, but also the characters, and especially the unexpected twists and uncovered secrets that were revealed. I love reading about families, especially when there are intricate relationships and psychological issues involved, and This Place of Wonder had it all. Though I would never want a family that faces all kinds of troubles amongst each other and with life itself, I do enjoy reading about families who do. My emotions were high as I read, a result of feeling intrigued by the characters, feeling a connection to them that left me feeling anger, love, surprise, shock, tenderness, forgiveness, and loss. Beautifully written, a must read.
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I had been hearing a lot about another book written by this author for quite some time.  I had not yet had a chance to read that one.  When I saw that this book was available to read, I was very excited!

I could not put this book down!  My daily chores were definitely neglected as I could not tear myself away  from this book!

If you are looking for a story about family and love, then this is the story for you!  I loved every character and my heart cheered and cried through each obstacle each character met.  Now I know that I definitely need to read the other book by Barbara O’Neal!

Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this book!
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Most of us know someone like Augustus, a man whose charismatic personality is bigger than life, much like his love, empathy, and mystery. In this story, we read how his life (and death) deeply affects four women. His daughters, Maya and Rory, his ex Meadow, and his current girlfriend, Norah, are all dealing with his sudden (and somewhat mysterious) death. Actually, none of them are dealing with it! They are broken over their loss.
What the author does so well is create characters who are so multidimensional, that they feel like real people you know. The family dynamics, conversations between mother and daughter, every scene is one the reader can easily place themselves in.
The author does a fantastic job of the character creation with Augustus, a man who is dead through the whole book, yet feels very much alive to the reader. A man who made too many mistakes with the ones he loves, yet you can't help but feel that magnetic pull to his character - again, even though he is no longer alive in the story!
I love her books, her characters, her don't-take-the-easy-way-out plots, and thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with this thought-provoking story.
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This Place of Wonder is a highly personal and emotional portrait of three very different women. I don't always do well with character-driven narratives, but I did enjoy this one.

Augustus played a lot of complicated roles in the lives of those around him. His death brings not only the expected grief but a journey of self-discovery as they come to terms with a world without him. Far from a perfect person, many loose ends are left unresolved, and everyone, including the police, is trying to figure out what happened and what it means now.

I liked the messy quality of the narrative - no one is perfect, and even if they know what they should do, it doesn't always work out that way. As with most character-driven stories, This Place of Wonder doesn't really go anywhere, we mostly sit in the events and the emotions immediately following Augustus' death. There are some flashbacks and some plans made, but this is all about the feelings and reactions to the loss of this man. It definitely leaves you in a contemplative mood.

"Bookstores can solve any problem, at least for a little while. It was humid and too warm inside, the lights bright against the gray day, and it all smelled of paper and glue and dust and humans and damp wool and coffee brewing somewhere. Only this place of wonders could soothe me."
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I asked for the opportunity to read This Place of Wonder by Barbara O’Neal in spite of the fact that women’s fiction is not one of my favorite genres. And I can’t say that I enjoyed this family relationship story. It begins with the sudden death of Augustus, a famous chef. We soon learn that his ex-wife Meadow, herself a famous foodie, is trying to be everything to everyone. Augustus’ daughter, Maya, in rehab at the time, returns home. His flavour-of-the-month, Norah, is shattered and Meadow’s daughter Rory tries to comfort all. So we have these four women, who remain devoted to this adulterous, selfish man who obviously was so adorable and could do any wrong. I was disappointed because I expected this to lead to strong women getting on with a difficult situation. Each chapter is narrated by one of three of the four women, not sure why one was left out. Poor deceased Augustus is one of the main characters, emphasizing what an unappetizing human he was. This Place of Wonder had a lot of potential but it gets mired in too much drama and unrealistic situations. This is only my own opinion and I’m sure this novel will suit many. Thank you to Lake Union Publishing, NetGalley and the author for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I received a complimentary copy of this book "This Place of Wonder" and all opinions expressed are my own. I did enjoy When We Believed in Mermaids, so I was excited to read this book. A couple of her other books weren't for me but I had hoped this newest one would be good. There are lots of secrets and lies within the pages. Many Sensitive subjects throughout the book. Maybe I just wanted more suspense? It was a bit slow for me. Not sure I would pick up another book from this author.
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Renowned chef Augustus Beauvais passes away suddenly leaving behind his ex-wife Meadow, his two daughters Maya and Rory, and his girlfriend Norah. As the four women struggle with their grief they discover that Augustus left behind secrets they must face. To move forward they must learn to rely on inner strength, forgiveness and love.

In This Place of Wonder, Barbara O'Neal uses the natural tension of familial relationships to guide the story. Readers are held captive by juicy conflict and dysfunction throughout the plot. Intriguing situations and interesting dialogue abound in the engaging novel. (
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I love Barbara O'Neal's books. I think I have read almost all of them. She writes about families and family dramas, relationships and romance, and often about second chances and characters forging new paths and finding themselves. They are wonderful summer reads and usually contain some delicious food mentions woven into the story. 

This Place of Wonder contains all of the above, about four women according to the blurb (but told from the viewpoints of three of them), all impacted by the life and death of one larger-than-life famous chef. Augustus Beauvais was married to Meadow and together they created a California food empire with a restaurant and a farm. They also created a blended family, his daughter, Maya and her daughter, Rory. Augustus left Maya's addict mother for Meadow and then ultimately cheated on and left Meadow for a string of younger women, lastly Norah, a writer who journeyed to California to meet and write about Meadow and ended up living with and loving Augustus. Maya is in rehab for a drinking problem that reached the tipping point when her husband cheated on her and she burnt their vineyard to the ground. Estranged and bearing resentment for Augustus's betrayal of her and the family, her world is rocked when he suddenly dies. Meadow still loves him and grieves him despite their breakup, and Norah has her settled life with Augustus torn away when Meadow kicks her out of the house to make room for Maya, who leaves her recovery program early with his death. The story is told from their points of view and Rory, happily married with her third child on the way doesn't get to tell her story, but grieves her adopted father heavily. 

There are lots of secrets and family drama which only escalates when the police investigate Augustus's death, believing it was more than a heart attack. I was immediately caught up in the story of the women who loved a very complicated man. Barbara O'Neil's writing is beautiful and evocative whether sh is describing the California coast, a bowl of soup, a growing garden, or a family home. There is romance for one character in the book but the relationship between the women is what stands out and watching them grow. This Place of Wonder is the kind of book that sneaks into your heart as you read it, and it made me wish it was longer so I could spend more time with these strong and endearing women.
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This was my first Barbara O'Neal book and I really enjoyed her writing. Celebrity Chef Augustus Beauvais has just died and the story is told in alternating perspectives of the four most important women in his life - his daughter Maya, his ex-wife Meadow, her daughter Rory, and his most recent girlfriend Norah. They have all had very different relationships with Augustus. When the police start investigating Augustus's death, they look to these four women to help provide answers as to whether it was a heart attack (natural causes) or something more sinister. There are many secrets that these women are hiding. The book kept my interest throughout and I finished it in just a few days. I recommend reading it. and I will definitely read more of her books. Thanks to #netgalley #lakeunionpublishing and #barbaraoneal for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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What is it about Barbara O’Neal’s writing that keeps you wanting  to  read every book she’s written?  
I’ve said it before.  It’s the beautiful phraseology and the slow reveal of the plot that makes you say 
“WHAT?  WAIT.  WHAT just happened?”  And you reread that paragraph and are amazed how she slyly reveals  a new bit of information,  very important information, about the main character or plot.   This sends the book in a whole new direction and you can’t stop reading  in order to see what will happen next.
I don’t talk about the plots of books in reviews, because you can read the synopsis and description online.
What you really need to know is Barbara O’Neal is a gifted writer whose books you will truly enjoy.
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4 women are grieving the sudden death of chef Augustus. The women are all linked together but of course drama ensues as the women try to move on. I definitely recommend this book.
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This Place of Wonder is written by one of my favorite authors. I was attached to the characters from the beginning  and was interested in the direction the characters went. I am always  sad to come to the end of a story as good as this one was. I recommend this book as a great read.
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