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This Place of Wonder

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Member Reviews

Thanks NetGalley for opportunity to read this prerelease book for honest review. This book was enjoyable but nothing extra special. Honestly, I finished it about a week ago, and I  can’t  really remember much detail.
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to say i loved when we believed in mermaids is an understatement. i also really enjoyed write my name across the sky, though that one took longer to get into. unfortunately this means i went into this one with high hopes and i just don't think it was the book for me. her writing is amazing as usual, but i didn't really feel like i connected with any of the characters and it didn't become interesting until more than halfway through, and by then my attention was already wanting to go elsewhere. i'm sure it's a great book for some and lots of people will love it, just not for me.
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This Place of Wonder is another feast for the senses from Barbara O'Neal.
Set in the beautiful city of Santa Barbara, the novel follows the lives of three women in the aftermath of the unexpected death of the charismatic, but flawed chef, Augustus.
In dealing with their shock and grief, each women--ex-wife and business partner Meadow, daughter Maya, and current lover Norah--learn to look inside themselves and discover their own strengths and weaknesses and hopefully emerge stronger from the trial..
Ms. O'Neal's descriptions, as in many of her books, are vivid and rich.   You can feel the wind from from the coming storm and taste the salt in the air.  You smell the scents of the food simmering on the stove and you feel the sand beneath your feet during a walk on the beach.  
A slight mystery involves exactly how Augustus died, with detectives visiting each women.  Further unease is created by the threat of a wildfire in the near distance, a fire that seems a metaphor for the tension and potential devastation that each women must face.
I recommend this book and thank NetGalley, the publisher, and Ms. O'Neal for the advance copy and the chance to review the book
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This is my first Barbara O'Neal read and I look forward to reading more of her work. I thoroughly enjoyed her writing style and the well-developed characters, each of whom were likable, flaws and all.

This novel takes us through each character's relationship with Augustus, Mr. Charisma, father, husband, and lover, who dies at the beginning of the novel. The author shows how each of the women in his life loves even though he is an adulterer and a narcissist. I enjoyed all the characters' stories of their interactions with Augustus and could see why they adored him so (even though I didn't!).

Filled with twists and turns and the harsh reality of addiction, recovery and heartbreak, this novel even has a secret at the end that I didn't see coming. Very much enjoy and onward to When We Were Watching Mermaids!

My thanks to #NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and the author for the ARC. All opinions are my own
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I was given an eARC from NetGalley. I really loved reading this story. The characters drew me in and made me care for them. It is a story of four women and how they deal with the aftermath of a death of someone that was an important figure in each of their lives. The setting, the relationships between characters, the all made me want to find out more..  Barbara O'Neal's books always pull me in right at the start and her characters are so well developed. This story is no exception.  I really loved reading this and enjoyed connecting with these characters.
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Such a good book, I think people are gonna really love this one. Keep me wanting more the whole way through. Thank you!
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Thank you for the advanced copy of this book! I will be posting my review on social media, to include Instagram, Amazon, Goodreads, and Instagram!
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I've been a fan of Barbara O'Neal/Barbara Samuels for decades, up to and including the Women's Fiction she has published recently for Lake Union Publishing. This time, however, I was underwhelmed, as O'Neal's typical "women at a crossroads" plot was preempted by a dead man who was a Svengali-type presence in each woman's life.

The sudden death of Augustus Beauvais, the charismatic and famed chef, has a profound impact on the women who loved him. His ex-wife, Meadow, whose organic farm produce laid the foundation for their farm-to-table restaurant's success, is devastated, despite the fact that they have been divorced for more than a decade. His current girlfriend, Norah, is unceremoniously evicted from Gus' house, and left without a home or job. His daughter Maya, who hasn't spoken to her father in years, learns of his death as she is completing inpatient rehab for her alcoholism. As the three women (and Meadow's daughter Rory, who is not a POV character) process their feelings and try to determine how to move on without Augustus, a police investigation suggests that the cause of his death might not be the simple heart attack that everyone assumed.

O'Neal is a lovely writer, and her California settings are always described in exquisite detail so that you can see and smell the surroundings. The three women are flawed but sympathetic, especially Maya, who is struggling to lead a sober life while vacillating between grief and anger at her father.

Where the book breaks down, however, is in its overwhelming focus on Augustus himself. He is described as warm, loving, sexy, and ambitious. It's acknowledged that he was a womanizer who could not remain faithful to any of his partners, but that's kind of hand waved away because he was such a genius and treated all of the women well. Except for the cheating, that is. Women's Fiction books usually highlight the power and beauty of women's relationships but This Place of Wonder instead focuses on each woman's obsession with the same man, who never sees any consequences for his infidelities.

This is a well-written book that kept me turning the pages, but unlike O'Neal's other releases , my predominant emotion was annoyance at how much Augustus' presence dominated the story. In its place I'd recommend any of the author's previous releases, such as When We Believed in Mermaids or The Lost Girls of Devon.

Uncorrected proof received from Net Galley in exchange for objective review.
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I really enjoyed this compelling and heartfelt story about how a man’s  unexpected death affected his daughters, ex-wife and best friend, and his girlfriend, and their journeys in finding their own inner strengths and recognizing each other’s.  I was on the fence about reading When We Believed in Mermaids, but now I will!  

Thank you very much to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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I consistently enjoy Barbara O’Neal’s books. She always offers great character development, the stories always suck me in emotionally, and she describes things in such a way that it is so easy to visualize the people and places. I took one star off because the mystery of Meadow’s past wasn’t so mysterious to me. I guessed it fairly early. Still, a very enjoyable book. I look forward to reading more from her!
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This Place of Wonder by Barbara O’Neal

Swipe for synopsis 

From the author of When We Believed in Mermaids (still on my TBR 😬), comes this emotional story of grief, love, and complicated relationships. 

I know I’m going to be in the minority here but this book wasn’t for me. It was beautifully written and the characters were lovable and felt very relatable and real. My issue was that I didn’t feel as though there was much I felt like I needed to keep reading on for. In the end, the reveal of the “mystery” was underwhelming and felt very anticlimactic. 

I am still excited to read O’Neal’s other novels because the writing style was wonderful and easy to get wrapped up in. 

🧾 Summary:
Storyline for me was overall meh but the characters, setting, overall writing style was phenomenal. I know this will be a favorite of a lot of other reviewers, so don’t let me hold you back from reading
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I’ve just finished reading This Place of Wonder by Barbara O’Neal. It’s her next book after the bestsellers, When We Believed in Mermaids, and The Lost Girls of Devon. It’s due out in July, and I was lucky enough to read an advance reader copy. It’s another gripping family suspense novel, where tragedy ultimately helps heal four women. Barbara is very good at drawing you into the lives of her characters. Set in California, there are secrets which will slowly be revealed, grief, and personal reckonings. It is a rare Barbara O’Neal character who has had a ‘normal’ childhood, but she pulls you into their stories so you will keep on wanting to go back for more, while hoping it will all be alright in the end.
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A Place of Wonder is the story of 3 women affected by the death of Augustus Beauvais. His ex-wife Meadow, daughter Maya and live in girlfriend Norah.  These women share not only a love for Augustus but learn that they share a sense of lost and abandonment from their childhood.  Augustus’s death appears to be a heart attack while he is in the company of a much younger woman.  The police begin consider foul play.  The story begins to follow each of the three women who examine their lives before and after Augustus. 
Barbara O’Neal provides an easy enjoyable weekend read.  Her characters are well developed.  I felt an attachment to each one.  Most works with three main women characters, there is usually one that you don’t like. I did not find this to be true in A Place of Wonder. I was not impressed with Norah’s character in the beginning.  She came to interview and writes a story about Meadow and ends up moving in with Augustus before she ever met him.  I thought she would be the one I didn’t like.  Meadow comes in almost comforting Norah after the death of Augustus then kicks her out of the house.  So I switched and didn’t like Meadow.  Maya gets out of rehab and basically has no feelings at all.  So I switched to her.  As each character develops I find myself begin to cheering them on in one moment and thinking don’t do that in the next moment.   O’Neal’s description of the landscape, wildfire and tides coming in brought the scenery to life. She discusses everything from physical, sexual and verbal abuse, to adultery, abandonment and drug abuse.   Best of all she throws in an unexpected twist at the end. 
Thank you Barbara O’Neal, NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for allowing me to read an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Are you reading a Barbara O’Neal book if your heart isn’t broken and then put back together throughout the course of the story? I have been a longtime fan of Barbara O’Neal’s books. Her writing is always so evocative, her settings fully drawn out, and all of the reader’s senses are touched upon. Her writer’s voice is like no other that I’ve been able to discover. 
One of the greatest attributes of her writing are her beautifully flawed and broken characters and This Place of Wonder is no exception. This story focuses on the points of view of three women of different ages and stages in life: Meadow, Maya, and Norah. Each are grieving and coming to terms with the loss of Augustus, a man each woman loved and who held a special role and relationship in their lives. The tale braids these voices and views together in a story that explores the brokenness that lurks in all societies, how people cope with the life that they are given, and finally the offer of hope and healing. 
This is a story of grief, betrayals, and being at life’s bottom. This is also a story of love, family, perseverance, and the strength of believing in oneself. All of life’s messy beauty and grimness is captured and suspended for the reader in this latest offering by Barbara O’Neal. As a reader, you will root for these characters, you will smile, and you will cry. You don’t want to miss it. Thank you to the author, Lake Union Publishing, and NetGalley for providing me an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This was an emotional book about family and relationships. Four women all grieve after the death of a man they all loved.  Each is trying to move on. 
I’ve read quite a few of this author’s books and they just keep getting better and better.
Thanks to the publisher, author and Netgalley for the early copy
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When I first read The Goddess of Kitchen Avenue, I knew I found an author I would continue to seek out her books.  This newest book, This Place of Wonder does not disappoint.  Augustus Beauvais has died and the four women in his life are dealing with the aftermath.  Meadow Beauvais, ex-wife, was his confidante and business partner until he cheated on her for the last time and broke up their 20-year marriage and their beautiful blended family.  Maya, his daughter from a previous marriage, is in rehab dealing with her anger toward her father.  Rory, Meadow’s daughter is devastated by the loss of the only father she ever knew.  Norah, the latest girlfriend fell for him disregarding her plans, her career and herself.  Now that he has died, she has nothing.   All four women are dealing with death in very different ways, they will need to rely on each other in order to heal.  But how do you set aside your anger, grief, disappointment and help someone you resent? 

I like the style of the author, the way the characters develop and bloom, how women dust themselves off, pick themselves up and keep going.   What I so enjoy about the author is the way she creates women characters that hit bottom, and may stay there for a while but ultimately realize life is about starting again, moving forward, even when it is so very hard.  As a woman, I can appreciate how well the author deals with the struggle, the emotions that get twisted and conflicted, the love that is given.  As a reader, I appreciate the writing, not overly dramatic, not verbose, just a well written good read.  Plotlines among characters intermingle with ease, points of view flow but each storyline, each chapter seamlessly weaves itself into the other.  I would recommend Barbara O’Neal, time and time again.  I re-read her books at least yearly.  I have favorites but each time I read a book of hers, I think to myself, that was great, can’t wait for the next one to come out.  Read this book, I believe you will not be disappointed.  A beautiful tale of love, loss, family and healing power inside each of us.
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Emotional story of 4 woman whom each deal with grief of the same man in their own way , it was like reading  a journal with each characters story interwoven with each other , smooth, almost lyrical, love this authors writing with descriptions of food , places and themes , its all so life like .
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I received an ARC of this book for an honest review. This is one of my favorite writers, and this book did not disappoint. Four women, all facing a very difficult time in their lives. All of them have lost a very important man in their life. A vibrant, robust man, who made them feel like they were the only person in his life. A book of forgiveness, of family, but mostly of love. I always read in amazement, as Barbara O’Neal describes colors, taste and food. Loved. This Place Of Wonder, Five stars.
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This is a heartfelt story of 4 strong women (Ex wife, 2 daughters, and a girlfriend) finding their way after the sudden death of Augustus, the man they all loved. It’s also a story about love and betrayal, facing the past, forgiveness, and healing. Each of them, including Augustus has a damaged past and as we hear their stories, secrets, and good intentions we gain a better understanding of the decisions they have made in their life and how connected they are with each other.  The story centers around Maya who is a struggling alcoholic. I found the descriptions of her recovery very detailed and believable.  It’s hard to like Augustus as he’s caused so much pain to these women and difficult to understand why they still love him so much. However,  I also felt a great deal of empathy for what they all had to do to survive.  Overall the characters were very well developed, but the story moves at a slow pace.  They do throw some mystery in there, but it’s mainly about the complex relationships and moving forward.  The beautiful California coastal setting really adds to the story and I thought the ending wrapped things up nicely.  For me this was 3.5 Stars.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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I really enjoyed O'Neal's When We Believed in Mermaids, so I went into this book with a lot of high hopes. Sadly, this story just wasn't for me. After a gripping prologue, the book's only focus was on the moping of 4 women for a narcissistic man who has just died. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the ARC.
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