Cover Image: This Place of Wonder

This Place of Wonder

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Member Reviews

I received a digital ARC from Lake. Union Publishing via NetGalley.

This is the first book that i have read by Barbara O’Neal, and I appreciated the author’s writing style. The characters in this story are realistic and relatable.  The family dynamic was interesting to read as well.
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This is a family drama story of the lives of three women who knew Augustus Beauvais. Meadow was the ex-wife of Auggust, Norah was the mistress of Augustus and Maya was the daughter of Augustus from his first marriage. Augustus Beauvais dies suddenly and his death affects the three women in different ways. 

The story is told from the perspectives of Norah, Meadow and Maya who recounts their experience with Augustus. The author has a unique style of writing and did a good job of drawing the reader into the story. It was also very interesting to read each of these characters as each of the characters are holding a secret that may ruin their lives. The story is set in California and the description of the places makes the reader feel like they are in California as well.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this story and if you like a story with family drama, then this one is for you--worth five stars.

Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC. The review is based on my honest opinion only.
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This book tackles difficult issues in a real and honest way. What really shines in this book are the amazingly developed characters! Each character was fully developed and had my rooting for them. This is a bit of a slow burn but I was so invested I didn't want it to end. Highly recommend! Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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So fun to read another book by one of my favorite authors. 
This story revolves around  the unexpected death of chef, Augustus Beauvais,  and the four woman who loved him. 
His Ex Wife Meadow, their two daughter, his Maya and hers, Rory, and his recent girlfriend Norah ,all who were mourning his loss in very different ways and for very different reasons.
Each of these women were integral in Augustus life and all had come from some type of trauma in their lives.
I am not big on telling all of the story, but if you want a wonderful read with great characters and plot, this one is for you. I have never been disappointed by any of her books.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for a copy of this book.
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Thanks NetGalley for the arc!

I’ve heard so many great things about Barbara O’Neals When We Believed in Mermaids. I own it but haven’t read yet! I knew from those rave reviews This Place of Wonder would not be a book to pass up!

This was family drama at its finest. It was filled with deep seeded love but little romance. It also had a heavy air of mystery without being a thriller. It kept me captivated throughout. 

Augustus & Meadow got together while each already having a young toddler daughter. Their love was magic. It was a tale for the ages. They built an empire (from nothing) in the food world. They raised Rory & Maya together all while opening a restaurant and farm. But Augustus strayed from the marriage & the two end up divorced. Although it didn’t seem to matter much because they remain very close (ignoring Meadows broken heart.) 

When we meet the characters, Maya is going through a crisis and her peak of alcoholism. Augustus drops dead in his restaurant. Meadow is left to clean up all the pieces including his newest young girlfriend. 

There’s so much more to each of the characters that O’Neal slowly builds upon through this story.  There’s many elements touched upon that really make the reader think (addiction, infidelity, abandonment, etc). Everything we go through really make us who we are. But without letting people in on those tidbits of our life- our motivations can remain mysterious or misunderstood. I loved the way O’Neal told a story. She painted such a clear picture & made me quite hungry a few times! I’ll definitely be reading her next novels!
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I really enjoyed this book.  The story was well thought out and the characters were very well described, believable and likable.  The mystery was embedded in the story well, and wasn’t impossible to figure out.  I understood how each of these women loved Augustus, even though he was a very flawed character.  I was rooting for all of them as the story progressed.  As with the last book I reviewed from this author, I did feel as though too many characters were introduced very quickly and I did become a bit confused and confused t took me a while to determine who was who.  I had to go back to earlier chapters a few times to better understand what name went with what character.
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I can’t think of any author as skilled at writing complex, twisted relationships and difficult circumstances as Barbara O’Neal, and this book epitomizes all of those things. In this brilliant, emotional, layered novel, we hear from three women who loved the same man—his ex-wife, his newly-sober daughter, and his latest lover. When Augustus dies unexpectedly, it leaves them reeling with grief, regret, uncertainty, and doubt. All three women stir up a swirl of emotions, as they grapple with his loss, reconcile their guilt, and look for a path to move forward. Their lives are entwined in so many complicated and messy ways, and all of their relationships are a reflection of that. I was fully immersed in their lives, wanting to uncover their pasts and their secrets, turning pages to stay up with their present, and hoping for them all to find peace and healing in their future.
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Augustus is a well know restaurant owner and wine maker, he is also a womaniser.
When he dies he leaves behind an ex wife two daughters and a mistress.
This is a slow moving tale from the point of view of these women.
A book about secrets and lies.
Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Barbara O'Neal's book This Place of Wonder is the story of a blended family suffering a tragedy. O'Neal takes a deep dive into the inter-personal dynamic of each character in her poignant writing. 

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. (3.75 ⭐⭐⭐)

This Place of Wonder by best-selling author Barbara O'Neal is available on July 19th.

Thank you, NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing, for allowing me to review this beautiful book. I appreciate your kindness.
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I was overjoyed with a chance to review “This Place of Wonder,” the latest effort of fan-favorite, Barbara O’Neal, author of “When We Believed in Mermaids” and “Write My Name Across the Sky.”  

When chef Augustus Beauvais suddenly dies of a heart attack, he leaves behind his ex-wife, Meadow,  his daughter, Maya, stepdaughter, Rory and mistress, Norah. Because the novel is told through the POVs of three of these women, we learn about each woman’s relationship to Augustus and how they decide to move forward as well as about each of their personal struggles and what makes them tick. Augustus continues to be a mighty force on these four women, maybe too much of a presence as some of the women’s choices tend to be based on his influence. 

The author is a master at creating well developed female characters and their (sometimes dynfunctional) relationships. Many of her novels touch on sisterhood, which we see here with the relationship between Maya and Rory, the latter of who does not get her own POV. What I appreciated about this novel was while there was a mystery element, what made this story shine was its character-driven arcs. I especially enjoyed reading about Maya’s struggle with addiction and how her dad passed before she had a chance to reconcile how their relationship impacted her. While I did find parts of this novel underwhelming, overall, “This Place of Wonder” is a well-thought, captivating novel that makes you care what happens to these women. 

Thanks go to Barbara O’Neal , the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to give “This Place of Wonder” an early read.
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I tried with book but it was average. Wasnt really anything there to grab my interest. Wasnt really memorable in any way. But the cover is gorgeous and the characters were okay. The writing was great just didnt wnjoy it as much as i wanted too
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From three women's POVs, we get to see what Augustus was like to each of them and the man himself from a variety of different angles. O'Neal does a great job of showing how someone can seem so different depending on who's looking at it. 

Despite Augustus' infidelities and messy split, Meadow, who knows him the best, still considers him her soul mate. But his daughter Maya has never forgiven him. Rory adores Augustus as a loving and generous grandfather to her kids, and Norah looks up to him as a generous savior from a lonely childhood in adoption. 

When Augustus' death is being investigated by police, O'Neal tries to add a mysterious element to the story, but I never really felt like I was left wanting answers.
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Barbara O'Neal has done it again--a beautifully written novel that had me engrossed from page one, kept me guessing and engaged throughout, and made me feel all the feels. I love how each of the point-of-view characters is so fully fleshed out and lovingly rendered, flaws and all, and how each is so different and distinct from the others. The setting is gorgeous with a deft attention to salient details that I've come to love from O'Neal, and the plot was woven with intrigue and surprises. But it was O'Neal's attention to character that gripped me by the heart and wouldn't let go. I really felt like I knew these characters as real-live human beings, and I experienced their joys and sorrows deeply, as if I were living their stories along with them. After a deliciously satisfying ending, I kept wishing there were more loose ends to tie up, simply because I wanted to stay with these characters longer. This is my new favorite book. 100% recommend, especially if you enjoyed When We Believed in Mermaids.
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Great story. I loved hearing all of the different points of view and crossing from past into present. What an interesting family.
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I love a good story where there are different points of view and this book by the great Barbara O'neal was such a book. The book followed multiple women all trying to deal with the death of the famous Augustus. He leaves behind his girlfriend, ex wife, and two daughters, all who have their own issues they are trying to deal with on top of their grief. The book does an amazing job with the development of these characters and showing how complicated relationships can be.
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I throughly enjoyed The Place of Wonder. A celebrated chef dies leaving behind an ex wife, two daughters and a girlfriend who must learn how to live without him as they sort through the memories of their relationship together. A character driven, fast, page turning read perfect for the summer.
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I LOVE this author! Her writing is just so beautiful and unique it sweeps you in immediately into a rich world of color, scent food and all other ways. The thread about addiction is blunt and honest and I believe many readers who are recovering addicts or have dealt with close friends or family members with addiction issues will relate and find pure wisdom here. The pace is gentle which is good given the heavy subject matter and there is a touch of mystery involved. The ending was so worth the wait this is a touching story that made me cry and I felt like I needed just that! This is a five stars for me hands down
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I absolutely loved When We Believed in Mermaids a couple of years ago and I was excited to see a new book out by Barbara O’Neal. This one was a little too slow-going for me. When Augustus apparently dies of a sudden heart attack, everyone is in shock. 4 women go back and forth with their back stories and frankly I just didn’t care how this was going to end. This will not deter me from reading other books by her because she’s an excellent author. This one just fell flat for me. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this early release in exchange for my honest review.
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Loved loved loved. Barbara O’Neal will move to the top of my must read authors. All her books are fabulous and this one is no exception. Thrilled to have gotten an advanced copy!
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This is a tough one, and I'm definitely torn.

First, let's start with the positives. O'Neal is an atmospheric writer. The settings on this were multifaceted and absolutely came alive: restaurant, vineyard, sprawling home, coffee shop, shoreline, and so forth. There was a richness there, and my senses were engaged. I appreciated that, since that isn't always easy to do. (Perhaps the title is a veiled reference to one of these places, if not a conglomerate of them.)

I also felt that O'Neal is doing a good job talking about family relationships and the ways in which different people interact in the face of tragedy. What do you when the patriarch of a family, for all his good and bad, suddenly passes away? How do you move on? I don't feel O'Neal made any particular grand insights in this, but I do believe that her characters explored this terrain well.

But I had a couple of issues. One, and this is a personal one, I don't really need all these random asides into romance - and it did play a role more than I would have anticipated from the cover. (I judge books by their cover, and that's the risk I take!) Still, that comes with the territory, and I often need to grin and bear it.

A larger issue here, and I'm not quite sure what it is, is that I didn't find this book too compelling. I read a lot of books simultaneously, but that's intentional: those that pull me in are ones I'll gravitate toward more. As I read several, I found that I always put this one on the background, even knowing the deadline. So that gave me a bit of a signal that something might be awry.

And I have a possible hypothesis: This book has three dueling narrators, which is a common trend these days, and though I typically like that, I felt this could've been better with one. I found the voices of Meadow, Norah, and Maya all pretty similar and almost indistinguishable after awhile. I really liked Maya's conceit and even how the book opens, with her destroying all the wine bottles to her vineyard in an attempt to salvage her sobriety (I'm not 100% sure if I have that plot detail correct). This was engrossing and a real attention getter, and I felt her story was the most compelling overall. And I think focusing on her a bit more would've helped keep my interest.

Overall, it was an okay read; I don't regret reading it and enjoyed the experience, but it's not necessarily one that typifies what I enjoy most in literature. Still, thanks to Lake Union Publishing for the ARC!
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