Cover Image: This Place of Wonder

This Place of Wonder

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Member Reviews

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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This book is completely unlike what I usually read, and I found it so refreshing. This book follows 4 women trying deal with the death of a man they all loved deeply, and dealing with other issues along the way. I loved the characters, and parts were quite difficult to read, partly because they were horrible situations, and partly because I didn’t want anything to happen to them. I did find after a while the twists became very obvious, and none of them really surprised me but I still really enjoyed the book.
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Oh I enjoyed this book. It was a bit heavier at times than maybe I expected, and some of the twists could be seen a mile away, but I enjoyed the characters and the setting, oh I would’ve loved to see that house in real life. Definitely recommend for fans of this author, which I certainly am.
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This Place of Wonder intrigued me from the very beginning. The story centers around Augustus and the women who loved him. The characters were flawed, human, well-written, and relatable. The plot moved along nicely; however, there were a few things I was able to see coming that, I think, were supposed to be twists. It was a little predictable, but a good read nonetheless. The Place of Wonder highlights the complexity of love in all its forms and it’s a 4/5 for me.
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I love the pace of this book, which felt appropriate due to the sensitive subject matter. This book gives hope about families- as we all have problems and difficult things we face within them. Another win from this author!
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Barbara O'Neal is one of my absolute favorite authors and every time I think she can't possibly top her last book- she does it again! This Place of Wonder is a beautiful written portrait of a fascinating family. It's a love story and a mystery and I wanted to take my time reading it but I couldn't help getting drawn into the pages and racing through every one!!  Highly recommend!!
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A very deep emotional story about 4 women bounded by fate, life, love and grief. 

A story set in coastal California, when Augustus Beauvais died, he leaves behind a reputation as a well renowed chef, a restaurant and 4 women wondering how to move on and what to do next in life. 

This story is a journey to healing, to face addictions, to trust yourself, to rely on family in order to move on, to let go, to forgive and to build a new and strong roots for a new future

This story is beautifuly written and will make you love it with every chapter you read.

A special thanks to #netgalley for this Arc in exchange of my personal opinion
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I wanted to love this but just couldn’t. It was a good read, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like it’s target audience was not me. I’m in my mid to late 20s and I felt like the book would appeal more to women age 40+. It read similar to a memoir, spanning over 4 women's lives that I just couldn’t connect to as well. The constant change of POV also lost me a little.
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Despite having a few other unread titles on my NetGalley shelf, when this one arrived, it pushed the others out of the way.  Reading Barbara O'Neal is very satisfying to me - it gives me the right amount of family issues to be interesting, enough depth of personalities to feel real, and enough feel-good portions to keep me happy.  Once again, she hit all the marks with this book.  Each chapter is told by one of the book's characters, and is easy to track where you are in the thought processes of each person (all women).  

I love the setting, the current feeling of the book, and the care-filled way issues are handled.
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As a big fan of Barbara O’Neal, I really enjoyed this book. I am so glad they she wrote another book with a restaurant/food emphasis. She does it so well. 

I enjoyed the story as told from the viewpoint of the different characters as well. Overall, this was a story well written, filled with sadness and triumph, so to speak, ending in a satisfying, but unexpected way. I would definitely recommend it. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for the ARC.
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*I received a complimentary ARC galley of this book in exchange for my honest review.*

There were so many things about this book that I loved. The coastal/ Central California setting was atmospherically described in such a way that, by the time I finished the book. I actually felt as if I'd just spent time there, like a dream you wake up from & keep forgetting wasn't actually real. I thought the inclusion of a main character struggling with addiction was a bold & important choice, especially since it wasn't just tacked on as a detail, but was explored in a way that was sensitive but realistic. 
I did feel that it needs a good bit of editing down, with many parts of the book feeling bogged down by different characters' musings & ruminations that didn't feel necessary to the narrative of the story, and even detracted from it. With this being an uncorrected proof, I expected more grammatical-type errors, of which there were hardly any, but I was also surprised that this had already been edited, since the narrative arc of the story often felt confusing & meandering. The conclusion felt satisfying, if a bit abrupt, and I wish this book had had the benefit of different editing choices, as I think that would have contributed to a more cohesively-told story overall.
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I read this book as an arc, and sadly, it was not a book for me. 

The plot is a multi-POV story telling of how 60-ish-year-old man named Augustus affected the lives of many women, Meadow, Maya, Rory, Norah. He was a ladies man, and died of what seems to be a heart attack. 

My thoughts during the read:
“There’s amazing imagery and play on words.”
“This wasn’t getting interesting until 60% in”
“I want to DNF this book if it weren’t for men receiving it as an arc”
“This book is for grandmas”
  —> I proceed to look up the author, who is in her 60s (no offense about the old grams thought)
“No wonder this book isn’t for me… and it’s my fault for not researching further into the book and author”

Although I’m glad I finished the read, I felt like I really read a whole bunch of nothing. Seems harsh but ultimately it was a bittersweet ending that I might’ve enjoyed much more if I were the intended demographic.
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This is an emotional, wonderfully detailed novel of family, friendship, heartbreak, heartache, so many secrets and resilience!
I laughed, cried and at times was in shock as I devoured this book.
How can four women love one man who is larger than life, so much, yet so differently?
Augustus Beauvais, (owner and famous chef in California), has a daughter, step daughter, ex-wife and girlfriend. When he dies suddenly, each has to resolve the guilt, fears, past and anger to move forward to continue their life journey. It isn't easy. Many secrets have been hidden.
I loved each of the characters, and the mystery and suspense that was thrown in to add some spiciness to the plot.
This is women's fiction at its best! Excellent!
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I just don’t think this author is for me.  I’ve read two of her books now and this one was extremely wordy and just overall I didn’t love it and was left wanting more.  If you enjoy other work by her, you’ll probably love this,m.
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In the end of the day, this book was more about the relationships between those four different women than it was a mystery/thriller. Augustus’ death was a tool to set up what really was a human story. It worked well for me, but that’s something that could disappoint some if they expected something different. This is a story about grief, but also about family and the connections between our main characters. The characters felt very human and were likable, although I wish some aspects were more fleshed-out, especially Rory’s character who seemed a little excluded of the story compared to the others (tho the synopsis is about *four* women). Overall a nice read nonetheless.
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This Place of Wonder by Barbara O'Neal is an emotion-filled story told in the voices of three women, who all loved one man, Augustus Beauvais! He was such an integral part of their lives and when he died suddenly of a suspected heart attack, they all feel lost. The women have one thing in common, they all have parts of their lives that are broken.
The book opens in a dramatic scene with Maya Beauvais destroying the wine casks in the cellar of her vineyard. Maya is taken away to rehab for treatment of her alcoholism.  Augustus was her father and they had been estranged for years. She is shocked by the news of his death. Maya experienced a traumatic childhood during the years she lived with her biological mother.
Meadow had been married to Augustus and together they built a successful business. Augustus adopted Meadow's daughter, Rory, and loved her as his own. Rory and Maya become close and loving sisters. Even after their divorce, Meadow and Augustus loved each other and reconciled a couple of times over the years. Meadow has secrets she has kept hidden since she was a teen, but will someone discover them?
Norah is a writer who fell in love with Augustus. He was thirty years older than her, but she could not resist his charms. Norah was gathering content to author a book about the influence of women in the food and restaurant industry. She had met Augustus when she interviewed him about Meadow being a major force behind the success of their business, Peaches and Pork. She had moved into Augustus' luxurious home when they became lovers. She was shocked when she was informed Augustus had died at the restaurant, but she called Meadow to let her know the upsetting news. I enjoyed reading Norah's kind character as she befriends Maya in her time of need and later Meadow.
All the women continue an uneasy circle of family, friends, and acceptance as they wait for the results from Augustus' autopsy. Maya struggles with maintaining her sobriety and facing her anger issues with memories of her father. Nora tries to finish her research but is homeless after Augustus died.
This book is my favorite in women's fiction for 2022!
Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and publisher for the opportunity to read this book!
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This was a great story of a group of women coming to terms with the loss of the man who connected them all. His ex-wife Meadow, daughter  Maya fresh from rehab and the end of her marriage and career as a vintner,  adopted step daughter Rory and his most recent live in lover Norah who came to town wanting to write a powerful feminist dissertation on Meadow but met Augustus (the man in question) first. 
While there is a mystery story with police considering whether or not Augustus was murdered rather than having a heart attack as suspected, this novel is really a study of female relationships, with the men in their lives, with their mothers, sisters and friends. How much does our relationship with anyone depend on our past relationships and how forgiving can you be when weighing up many years of care and support versus a cataclysmic betrayal. 
I read this book quickly and enjoyed it very much but did have a few minor criticisms. The physical descriptions of Augustus made me quite fascinated that any of woman would fancy him sexually never mind a parade of ex wives and lovers. The author’s use of ‘orange skin’ just made me think of a recent president and made me shudder. And my second issue was the wildfire mentions led me to believe they would feature in the plot somehow. Tension was built on the level of smoke and colour of the sky but in the end it seems the author was simply describing something that is as common in California now as is describing the ocean. 
I am excited now to go and see what else the author has written and read those books too!
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