Cover Image: This Place of Wonder

This Place of Wonder

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Member Reviews

If I could give this book more than 5 stars, I would. It was a beautiful book. The language the author uses throughout is evocative. It heightens your experience of everything that you see, or hear, or taste, or feel through the whole novel. I wanted to be in that house...even when it was a hoarder's wreck, to pick through the treasures I envisioned. I wanted to eat garlic soup with Maya. I definitely wanted to drink the limeade that Rory made! And I wanted to walk the farm with Meadow. It was such an amazing story of love, loss, hardship, addiction, renewal. Walking beside Maya as she faces her struggles, her memories, and as she moves forward was an amazing journey. I cannot express well enough just how moving, sensual, and utterly romantic this story was. I would read it again and again.
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I loved this book . She has a way of creating believable characters. I truly enjoyed this well paced novel 
Thanks to Netgalley for letting me review this book
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I was encapsulated by this book from the very beginning. It follows the grief of 3 women: the ex-wife, girlfriend and daughter of famed chef Augustus Beauvais after he is found dead at his restaurant. The difficulty of recovery and healing from the past are big topics throughout, and are dealt with in a delicate and empathetic way, and emphasises how grief on top of that makes everything harder. I was satisfied with the ending and would recommend it.
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Getting this book from Netgalley made my day! I loved Barbara O’Neil’s last book. I was not disappointed by this one. Such a heartfelt female driven books. Loved!

And that cover— whew!
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This was a beautifully written story about the lives of 4 different women who all loved the one man and the grief they went through when he died. The books flicks back and forth between Meadow, Norah and Maya’s  point of views. However it would have been nice to have a few chapters from Rory’s point of view so that we could see Augustus from a different angle. Each of the four characters were likeable and they all grew throughout the book. Overall, this was an easy and captivating story and I look forward to reading future novels from Barbara O’Neal. Thanks to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book!
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After a famous chef dies of a heart attack, the women in his life try to make sense of their lives - these include hi ex wife, his daughter, his step daughter and his young girlfriend. 

I really liked this book.
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In the wake of a personal tragedy, four women face the past, their futures, and each other in a novel of broken ties and healing.  This author hooks her readers and keeps them dangling till the very last page…
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I shouldn't have started this one late at night because I did NOT want to put it down. 

The story is woven so well in this book going back and forth between perspectives of Meadow (the ex wife), Norah (the newest live-in girlfriend) and Maya (Augustus' daughter). While the story is also technically about Meadow's daughter, Rory, her perspective isn't shared and we learn just enough about her life and role she plays as the more "uncomplicated" of the 4 women who loved Augustus Beauvais with everything they had. 

There were several little mysteries to be solved that all fell into place just perfectly, just how I like it. Each character was flawed in their own way and yet also had such redemptive qualities that I really loved them all. 

If I had ANY critiques, it would be that I wish Augustus' letter to Maya near the end had a little something more. It seemed to fall flat for me when I really wanted some kind of major revelation or big emotional moment to happen. Great story all around and a very good book!
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An explosive prologue made me want to dive straight into the book.
Four women are trying to come to terms with their love/fury/passion/grief for one man and there is some mystery surrounding his death.

Barbara O'Neal's writing was as usual excellent with authentic dialogue and a rich, beautiful setting. Maya's struggle with alcoholism is a big part of the story and was informative and believable.

In the author's previous books, Write My Name Across the Sky, When We Believed in Mermaids and The Lost Girls of Devon, there are characters that are battling their demons. They have learned to live with their life choices. The characters worked through their emotions, evoking empathy and understanding and earning acceptance. I didn't feel that in this book and I can't say that I liked any of these women. I preferred the three previous books to this one.
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Actually a 4.5.

This would be a fun summer read. A heartwarming novel with memorable characters. A feel-good read that was much needed.
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Wow, I really wanted to love this book. In 2020 I read When We Believed in Mermaids and absolutely adored the twisting adventure of two sisters; the lush ocean scenery and mysterious characters; even the side romance was pleasant (and romance is not really my thing). I'd been craving to be taken there again, into that sweet oceanic unknown O'Neal created. So when I saw this book I jumped at the opportunity to read it. But it just fell short for me. 

Thanks to the multiple character POVs there were a lot of inner thought ramblings that carried on forever and felt unnecessary, as well as repeated information between one character and the next. The characters all had sad backstories (which was supposed to endear them to us) but for some reason they never felt like real people to me. Meadow's story presents itself as uber *mysterious*, something that I should have felt desperate to know, but since the characters weren't tangible it was difficult to care. Every chapter/POV sounded similar so I wasn't able to hear characters' voices. I just saw an author in her house freewriting as the thoughts occurred, trying to eat up page count. It didn't get interesting until about 60% and by that time it felt like it could have benefited from some heavy editing.

There was very little to no action for the entire length of the novel, the inner thoughts just rambled on and on, but in the end I guess the pay off was worth it. The entire read just didn't sweep me away how I'd hoped and that was a big let down. If it were whittled down to half the length then perhaps it would have shined brighter, but this one missed the mark. 

2.5 stars rounded up to 3 for readability. The author does write beautifully and if you don't mind sinking into a lethargic story about grief then this one could be for you.

Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my review.
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After reading When We Believed in Mermaids and LOVING it, I sought out more of this author's books! And, of course, I just had to read them all!! Barbara O'Neal is fantastic at delivering heartfelt stories and portraying strong female characters that are likeable and relatable. This Place of Wonder did not disappoint! 

Following the death of beloved Augustus, four women are forced to deal with the grief and destruction left behind in his wake. Ex-wife Meadow, daughter Maya, stepdaughter Rory and current girlfriend Norah. This story is messy, personal and very real! It was captivating and fast-paced, switching between the POVs of Meadow, Maya and Norah. I would have liked to know more about Rory, but I can also see why it wasn't necessary. And Augustus!! He was dead from page 1, yet very much alive throughout this entire story. Again, I have to compliment O'Neal on the strength of her characters. I always feel like I know them or we're already friends. She is a true artist with her words! I am definitely looking forward to her next masterpiece!  

Thank you to the author, Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for allowing me free access to this ARC!
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This was a quite laid back style of book, but it kept you glued to the pages because of each of the quite different female characters and how they dealt with the death of the their ex-husband/partner/father who was the larger than life charismatic chef, Augustus Beauvais.

Meadow was the ex-wife who was still very linked (and in love) with Augustus, girlfriend Norah who was a product of the foster-care system and didn't have much in life until she met Augustus, Rory (step-daughter) & Maya (daughter). Each of them was dealing with their own grief at losing Augustus in different ways, but Rory seemed the most upset and Maya the most angry. Maya was an alcoholic who had only recently got out of rehab, she had been angry at her dad for a long time because of a couple of issues, but hadn't managed to confront him or work through it before he died.

Each character was really interesting, and then you had the slight mystery of how Augustus actually died, was it a heart attack as thought, or something else?

I really enjoyed how the story moved from one character to another, with each woman having a separate chapter as the book progressed. I do really love the way Barbara O'Neal writes, her books are just so compelling.
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I really like this novel about addiction, broken families, love, pain and grief. The characters are relatable and believable, the pain palpable and the mystery interesting enough but it's not really the main theme. Four women, four different personalities, four different relationships with the deceased.
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WOW! I was excited to read this, as loved “When we believed in Mermaids” This story about four damaged women is also a story of four strong women. I love the full and honest characters and how they turn the damage to lessons learned or learning. The central figure whom they have all revolved around is honestly portrayed with all his faults, yet you still love him anyway, just as they did. 
I really recommend this book.
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This Place of Wonder is the story of Meadow, Maya, Rory, and Norah’s journey to heal following the death of Augustus, someone very important to each of them in different ways. His death leaves the four women in a wake of grief, anger, pain, and loneliness that they will have to address in order to move forward and determine how to build a future without Augustus.

Barbara O’Neal does a great job of taking complicated relationships and finding the beauty while working through pain or loss. Each of her books have a strong theme of family relationships, love, and healing. And I always look forward to what she is going to write next!

Thanks to #NetGalley, Barbara O’Neal, and Lake Union Publishing for the eARC of #ThisPlaceofWonder in exchange for an honest review.
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Captivating and heart wrenching from Barbara O'Neal as always. The story is set around the loss of Augustus and the four women who are all tied to him and their story after his death.

Multi POV. Well written, well structured. I wasn't a fan of Augustus' character however, did adore Norah. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for this ARC. All opinions are my own.
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Barbara O’Neal has done it again. Each time I read one of her books I’m sure it’s the best one ever. Then she tops it with the next. This book tells the story of four women involved with the same man. There is his ex-wife, his most recent mistress, his daughter and his step-daughter. Each chapter is written from the perspective of one of these women. The central event is the sudden death of the famous restauranteur. The book then explores each woman’s efforts to deal with that loss and the grief that surrounds it. It also highlights the ways the past of each character colors their efforts to deal with that grief and loss. I love the characters Barbara creates. They are so real it feels like they could be your next door neighbor. This book is definitely worth your time and effort.
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When Agustus Beauvoir suddenly dies, he leaves four women to deal with their grief. There’s his wife, Meadow his daughters, Maya and Rory. And his girlfriend Nora. The story was told from the point of view of each woman. The women are grappling with the loss of this man who was essential to them, and they are dealing with their problems. As the story unfolds, the reader learns about Augustus and the women in his life.  Through their grief, each woman knows about themselves and each other.

I enjoyed this book; The characters were interesting and well developed. The story moves quickly. It kept me turning the pages to see what would be revealed next.
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I don't know how O'Neal consistently writes female-driven stories with such vivid characters that simply come alive in front of your eyes while reading. The empathy she makes the reader feel for her characters is so solid and real that you feel you know these people. You live next to them and they are your friends. 
This Place of Wonder is ripe with unforgettable characters ... even Augustus, who is a non-POV character,  and who is literally dead from page one, is so ALIVE in the narrative.
Barbara O'Neal's books are an experience in storytelling, female bonds, complicated relationships, and above all, life.
Go on! Go experience life with this one, readers. You must.
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