The Art of Inheriting Secrets
When Olivia Shaw’s mother dies, the sophisticated food editor is astonished to learn she’s inherited a centuries-old English estate—and a title to go with it. Raw with grief and reeling from the knowledge that her reserved mother hid something so momentous, Olivia leaves San Francisco and crosses the pond to unravel the mystery of a lifetime.One glance at the breathtaking Rosemere Priory and Olivia understands why the manor, magnificent even in disrepair, was the subject of her mother’s exquisite paintings. What she doesn’t understand is why her mother never mentioned it to her. As Olivia begins digging into her mother’s past, she discovers that the peeling wallpaper, debris-laden halls, and ceiling-high Elizabethan windows covered in lush green vines hide unimaginable secrets.Although personal problems and her life back home beckon, Olivia finds herself falling for the charming English village and its residents. But before she can decide what Rosemere’s and her own future hold, Olivia must first untangle the secrets of her past.

The Art of Inheriting Secrets Details

TitleThe Art of Inheriting Secrets
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 17th, 2018
PublisherLake Union Publishing
ISBN-139781503901391
Rating
GenreFiction, Mystery, Romance, Contemporary, Womens Fiction, Chick Lit

The Art of Inheriting Secrets Review

  • DJ Sakata
    January 1, 1970
    Favorite Quote:Life had washed me here on this strange errand. Maybe the best thing to do was to just let it show me what it had in mind.My Review:This was my first exposure to the clever and stealthy genius of Barbara O’Neal, and I was quickly hooked by her thoughtful and surreptitious storytelling. Her first-person narrative was evocative, atmospheric, and compelling while her divinely descriptive and nuanced writing style was a feast for all senses, however Favorite Quote:Life had washed me here on this strange errand. Maybe the best thing to do was to just let it show me what it had in mind.My Review:This was my first exposure to the clever and stealthy genius of Barbara O’Neal, and I was quickly hooked by her thoughtful and surreptitious storytelling. Her first-person narrative was evocative, atmospheric, and compelling while her divinely descriptive and nuanced writing style was a feast for all senses, however, be warned, her intricately detailed foodie scenes were a bane for my diet. Her word voodoo was strong, I swear I could taste the spices and smell the garlic. The premise was unique and engaging with several well-woven and intriguing storylines just oozing with mystery and confounding clues that kept me tethered to my Kindle late into the night.
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  • ABookwormWithWine
    January 1, 1970
    ⭐⭐⭐ / 5 * Unpopular Opinion Alert * When I first started reading it, I very much liked The Art of Inheriting Secrets by Barbara O'Neal, but in the end some things just didn't jive with me and I didn't love it as much as I had hoped to.The Art of Inheriting Secrets is about 38 year old Olivia Shaw who has been the editor of a highly respected magazine when she gets into a car accident and has to take time off work. As if that hasn't hit her life hard enough, her mother then passes away and Olivia finds out she/>The ⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5 * Unpopular Opinion Alert * When I first started reading it, I very much liked The Art of Inheriting Secrets by Barbara O'Neal, but in the end some things just didn't jive with me and I didn't love it as much as I had hoped to.The Art of Inheriting Secrets is about 38 year old Olivia Shaw who has been the editor of a highly respected magazine when she gets into a car accident and has to take time off work. As if that hasn't hit her life hard enough, her mother then passes away and Olivia finds out she is the heir to an estate in England named Rosemere. A very old and very crumbly estate. She travels to England from San Francisco and she starts falling in love with the small village and the people in it. However, things aren't always what they seem, and she has a lot of secrets from her mom's past that she must unravel as well if she ever hopes to find peace and figure out what to do with Rosemere.As I got further into this book I realized that this is not just a women's fiction book with mystery, it is also a romance novel. So there are a couple sex scenes that are on the graphic side (for me anyway) that were a little TMI for my liking and I ended up skipping over them completely. I also think this book could have been much shorter; and the secrets aren't all reveled until pretty much the last 5% or so of the book. I wouldn't mind this normally, but I thought there was some filler in between I could have done without and things could have moved a bit faster. Also, the explanations were very confusing to me and unfortunately I didn't fully understand exactly what had happened. One other thing that really frustrated me was that one revelation is entirely glossed over by Olivia when she finds out something big. She just continues speaking to someone about something else entirely without even touching on how much surprise she should have been feeling. I'm sure this won't bug everyone, but it really bothers me when things that should be touched on just get completely passed over.On the bright side, O'Neal's writing is truly beautiful and I did love how she described everything. I was also really loving the crumbly mansion and family secrets aspect, along with Olivia's friendships with the villagers (mostly 3 in particular).Another thing to note is the descriptions of food in this book are MOUTH WATERING. Like they are completely legit, and reading this book made me hungry.Final Thought: I feel like this review is fairly negative, but I don't mean it to be. I just couldn't get past the romance aspect slowing the mystery down for me and the very confusing conclusion. I definitely recommend checking this book out if you are a fan of romance with a mystery aspect. It just caught me so off guard that I couldn't get past it. There isn't even that much romance, at least as far as sex scenes go, so check this out if it sounds appealing!
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  • Tina
    January 1, 1970
    This started out really strong for me. An American girl's mother dies and she inherits an old crumbling English country manor. She has no idea of her mother's gentry background or the circumstances as to why her mother left England so long ago. I loved the setting of this book. I loved the idea of it. So many family secrets to uncover.However, I just felt that the build-up was slow and then the secrets were all revealed too fast and were too neatly tied up.I think this wa This started out really strong for me. An American girl's mother dies and she inherits an old crumbling English country manor. She has no idea of her mother's gentry background or the circumstances as to why her mother left England so long ago. I loved the setting of this book. I loved the idea of it. So many family secrets to uncover.However, I just felt that the build-up was slow and then the secrets were all revealed too fast and were too neatly tied up.I think this was more of a 2 1/2 stars for me. It just did not entice me as I thought it would.Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for allowing me the opportunity to read this Advanced Reader Copy.
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  • Brenda James
    January 1, 1970
    Too many loose endsThe premise of the story was great. However, I wish the author has spent more effort weaving the story together than she did describing every nuance of food Olivia came in contact with. Who was Olivia's father? Why didn't he help her mother? What was the big deal with Samir's first book? What insight did it offer about Samir? How might it have deepened her relationship with him? What was in the other envelope Alexander gave her? What role did Rebecca play in siphoning mon Too many loose endsThe premise of the story was great. However, I wish the author has spent more effort weaving the story together than she did describing every nuance of food Olivia came in contact with. Who was Olivia's father? Why didn't he help her mother? What was the big deal with Samir's first book? What insight did it offer about Samir? How might it have deepened her relationship with him? What was in the other envelope Alexander gave her? What role did Rebecca play in siphoning money out of the estate? There was talk of her mother's suffering, but little detail on the roll the uncle played other than he wasn't nice. What happened in regards to the paintings that were all the same size? Olivia obsessing over the age difference with Samir was annoying and detracted from the story? What about the Restoration Diva and Olivia 's career in San Francisco? There was just too much left undone with this story. The author was great at descriptions, but terrible at unfolding a mystery and developing relationships.
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  • Kerry
    January 1, 1970
    Barbara O’Neal’s stories are always as beautiful as they are poetic. She possesses a writing style I admire and is an expert at weaving tales I can’t put down and crafting characters that, depending what they do, reward and frustrate. They are the best and stick around long after the final page. THE ART OF INHERITING SECRETS is a gem. Fans, new and old, will fall in love with the book’s layers and textures, and Olivia’s journey into a world she never fathomed belonged to her.
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  • Jeanne Adamek
    January 1, 1970
    This story spoke to me like none other this year. I had the feeling of being a friend to live through all that was happening in the life of Olivia, everything so clearly described that I was actually there. Barbara O'Neal incorperated, wonderfully, a lot of passions of mine making reading an experience--a joy.I enthusiastically recommand The Art of Inheriting Secrets. 5+ stars
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  • Sharlene
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this book greatly. The mystery kept me turning page after page quickly. Memorable characters and you will feel transported to the English countryside. Will recommend to friends and I give this book 5 stars.
  • Kay (aka) Miss Bates
    January 1, 1970
    I both dreaded and looked forward to Barbara O’Neal’s The Art Of Inheriting Secrets, dreaded because I dislike women’s fiction and looked forward to because the blurb offered gothic potential. In the end, the novel’s gothic and romance portions outweighed the women’s fic. I was one contentedly satiated reader at pages’ end. Be warned, there’s also first-person narration, but the narrator is engaging, funny, self-deprecating, intelligent, and as the hero notes, looks like Kate Winslet (I adore Wi I both dreaded and looked forward to Barbara O’Neal’s The Art Of Inheriting Secrets, dreaded because I dislike women’s fiction and looked forward to because the blurb offered gothic potential. In the end, the novel’s gothic and romance portions outweighed the women’s fic. I was one contentedly satiated reader at pages’ end. Be warned, there’s also first-person narration, but the narrator is engaging, funny, self-deprecating, intelligent, and as the hero notes, looks like Kate Winslet (I adore Winslet, ever since I saw her in Heavenly Creatures). Our narrator-heroine is San Francisco-based food writer and editor of the fictional magazine Egg and Hen, Olivia Shaw. When the novel opens, Olivia’s life has taken some spectacularly difficult, life-altering turns. She arrives in Hertfordshire’s Saint Ives Cross having recently learned she has inherited a crumbling estate, Rosemere Priory. She is mourning her mother, only six weeks gone, but she’s also learned that her mother kept her identity as Lady Caroline Shaw secret. The drippily unhappy heroine, the rain, the English countryside, the quaint village she arrives in, down to the country-accented friendly cab-driver, who drops her off at the local inn and pub, absorbed me from page one. I loved the premise of the family secrets, I loved the crumbling priory, I loved Olivia’s voice, and the notion of a heroine navigating a new place, culture, community, and her own new-found, strange identity.To give you a sense of Olivia, I will quote, verbatim, one of my reading notes, “Except for the annoying, rapacious fiancé, Olivia would make a great feral spinster.” What I loved about O’Neal’s handling of Olivia’s characterization is a basis not in character growth, as in a young adult novel, but Olivia’s realizations and reconsiderations. Her mother’s loss and the revelation of her inheritance (with title!) precipitate life-changes, changes requiring bravery. I loved Olivia’s courage: she wasn’t faced with challenges so dear to WF (no Big C stories please). Olivia took time to think, organize (I loved her task-oriented whiteboard, including good-times with the love interest … more of his wonderfulness later), to consider, seek the advice of trustworthy people, and take action, not, as many romance characters do, resolve change. Olivia enacted it, step by step and with considered decision-making.Olivia wasn’t suspicious, or paranoid, but a good reader of character. When, for example, she realized her relationship with dick-fiancé was a long-time-over, she broke off with him honestly and with class. Here’s an example of Olivia’s thought-process, in a phone conversation with dick-fiancé:He was using the voice I’d come to know too well – the patient voice. There were times lately I didn’t even like this man, much less want to marry him. Many times. Sometimes I thought I’d never really loved him much at all.Her honesty with herself was a joy to read, and her decisiveness. Grant turned out worse than she thought, but Olivia didn’t wallow in self-recrimination. Olivia’s journey is of a mature, thoughtful woman, who also possesses humility and humour. Another thing I loved about Olivia was how she navigated her relationships, despite feeling unmoored in a new place, people, and identity. She nurtured the worthy ones and divested herself of the unhealthy. One of my favourites, other than with the hero, was Olivia’s relationship with food and her body. O’Neal’s Olivia loves to cook. She knows how to savour and break down flavours; she knows how to celebrate food. Olivia is aware of her early-Kate-Winslet body. When she takes the hero as her lover, there are fleeting moments of self-consciousness about her “squishy bits” and her six-year seniority; overall, however, Olivia celebrates the pleasures of touch as she does of taste. The love scenes, by most romance standards, are circumspect, but they are sensuous, sexy, and healthy for both partners. Really, some of the best I’ve read. As are the food descriptions …And now we come to the people who surround Olivia and how well-drawn and compelling they are. They come from the far past in the form of her ancestry and what she learns about the secrets her mother kept: her grandmother Violet’s personal tragedy; her mother’s; the ghosts that haunt Rosemere Priory. They come from her recent past: her loving, close relationship with her marvelous artist-mother; the dick-fiancé, and her work colleagues. And they come from her strange, bittersweet new present: the man who accompanies her on her Rosemere Priory ruins’ walks and explorations, Samir Malakar, who becomes her lover with joy and humility; her friendship with Samir’s family, especially his father, Harshad, who knew her mother when she was Lady Caroline; his talented chef sister, Pavi, local restaurant owner, new friend, and introducer of marvelous flavours; and even Samir’s difficult, complex mother; the local shopkeepers, artisans, and bakers, the bringers of tea and pourers of ale. I can’t say I loved the estate-makeover hostess who aids Olivia, Jocasta Edwards, the “Restoration Diva” very much. I can see, however, how she makes the renovation aspect of the story easier to tell and move, so okay. Maybe it was a tad pat, but it worked. As I write this post, I sip on a cup of chai latte, which I made, despite the summer heat, to honour how much I loved O’Neal’s romance between Olivia and roof-thatcher (as well as something else, but no spoilers) Samir Malakar. I will give you a small sampling of the moment they knew they were linked (it’s lovely, worthy of a Jane Eyre echo): “Something earthy and green and fertile bloomed between us, twining like the vines through the windows of Rosemere Priory.” The sense of something new, fertile and green, like a new shoot, and its connection to the past, the house, is beautiful and memorable. Samir and Olivia’s relationship is simple, loving, and comfortable. It’s not simplistic: they have to navigate the age difference (doesn’t matter, love is love), Samir’s reticence about class and colour (doesn’t matter, love is love), and the old-fashioned, romance hesitation that they’ve both been hurt by their past, failed relationships (doesn’t matter post-growing-pains because they’re so gentle and honest with each other). Here’s a snippet to lure you to read O’Neal’s Art Of Inheriting Secrets:” … the fact remains that our social classes are vastly different.”“Don’t,” I said, and to emphasize my point, I covered his mouth with my fingers. “Let’s just be us. Let it be.” I took my hand away. “Okay?”He captured my fingers. “We’re tired. Let’s go to sleep, shall we?”“Side by side?”“Yes.”O’Neal has been writing a long time. I’m so glad I have her romances in the TBR, her historical romances and contemporaries and all this new stuff she’s writing. To conclude, my final reader-bait: what does Samir say to Olivia when she wavers on restoring her ancestral home? ” ‘That isn’t who you are. You’re afraid. And you cannot have a life of great meaning if you make decisions out of fear.’ ” I loved that the HEA, as Victor Frankl urges us to do, is to find happiness as a subsidiary of finding meaning. I’m very glad O’Neal couched this truth in a romance between two equal, worthy people. With Miss Austen, we say that Barbara O’Neal’s The Art Of Inheriting Secrets is proof “there is no charm equal to tenderness of heart,” Emma.Barbara O’Neal’s The Art Of Inheriting Secrets is published by Lake Union Publishing. It was released on July 17th and may be found at your preferred vendors. I received an e-ARC from Lake Union Publishing, via Netgalley.
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  • Susan Peterson
    January 1, 1970
    The Art of Inheriting Secrets captivated me from the very first page and kept me turning pages far into the night! Imagine losing your mother, and while in the depths of grief you discover a past that she kept hidden your whole life...a past that includes a crumbling estate in England and the title and challenges that come with it. The mysteries that the house is hiding, the secrets that it holds, kept me in suspense until the end. But what captivated me even more than the suspense, were the ris The Art of Inheriting Secrets captivated me from the very first page and kept me turning pages far into the night! Imagine losing your mother, and while in the depths of grief you discover a past that she kept hidden your whole life...a past that includes a crumbling estate in England and the title and challenges that come with it. The mysteries that the house is hiding, the secrets that it holds, kept me in suspense until the end. But what captivated me even more than the suspense, were the rising and ebbing emotions of Olivia, the main character of this story. I was pulled in by her journey of discovery of who she was, where she came from, and where she was going. Her relationship with Samir was so organic, the chemistry between them crackled on the pages, their attraction and their feelings romantic and genuine. This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I look forward to reading more!
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  • Anna Bowling
    January 1, 1970
    I now have a new favorite Barbara O'Neal novel, and dibs on Samir as my book manfriend. More comprehensive review coming soon, but if you like compelling wonen's fiction, with a strong sense of history, a mystery for the ages, and gorgeous descriptions of food, an ages-old estate, and a heroine who finds love, romantic and otherwise, where she least expects it, get this book.
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  • Jeff
    January 1, 1970
    Sneaky Book Hangover. This is one of those books that has a way of sneaking up on you, in all the good ways. In the beginning, we're thrust into the world of a food editor who has just arrived in England after only recently finding out that she has inherited a full English estate and title. Throughout the book, we discover things as she does, and through the first half of the book what we discover is mostly that she is falling in love with both the countryside and its resident thatcher. The "sec Sneaky Book Hangover. This is one of those books that has a way of sneaking up on you, in all the good ways. In the beginning, we're thrust into the world of a food editor who has just arrived in England after only recently finding out that she has inherited a full English estate and title. Throughout the book, we discover things as she does, and through the first half of the book what we discover is mostly that she is falling in love with both the countryside and its resident thatcher. The "secrets" come mostly in the back half of the book, and they are tragic yet beautiful. While the timing of my own reading of this could have been better (reading a book about falling in love with the English countryside over July 4...), this really will make a great read anytime, but particularly (for my own tastes) as a late summer read - which means its release in mid July is timed nearly to perfection.
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  • Patricia Sands
    January 1, 1970
    O’Neal’s clever title begins an intriguing journey for readers that unfolds layer by surprising layer. Her respected masterful storytelling blends mystery, art, romance, and mayhem in a quaint English village and breathtaking countryside. Brilliant!
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  • Debra
    January 1, 1970
    About halfway through the novel, I thought to myself, "This is a romance novel and I do not like romance novels." Notice I was halfway through the book when I made this discovery. I can also share that I stayed up all night and finished this book around four o'clock in the morning.Apparently I might need to rethink my bias.The Art of Inheriting Secrets may include some romance but it also contains LOTS of food (which is why I originally picked up the novel). (You can check out all th/>The About halfway through the novel, I thought to myself, "This is a romance novel and I do not like romance novels." Notice I was halfway through the book when I made this discovery. I can also share that I stayed up all night and finished this book around four o'clock in the morning.Apparently I might need to rethink my bias.The Art of Inheriting Secrets may include some romance but it also contains LOTS of food (which is why I originally picked up the novel). (You can check out all the food and an inspired recipe soon at Eliot's Eats).I enjoyed O'Neal's knack for characterizations, especially in Olivia's case. Our heroine finds herself in some distressing situations in losing her mother and (partial spoiler alert) breaking off a long time romance yet she does not appear tragic. She finds out she is a countess and has inherited a large estate but this is not fairy tale. The whole Malakar family was just enchanting as well and I would love to be a family friend included in their communal meals or be a diner at Coriander. I also appreciated that O'Neal did not resort to the typical romance formula of the couple connecting with a promising and budding love affair only to break up because of a trivial misunderstanding (and only to be reunited in a passionate denoument ). At one point I was afraid Olivia and Samir would wander down that meandering path; they thankfully did not.There was a bit of predictability in the novel. Like I said, it's a romance so you knew the whole couple-thing would work out. The mystery of the young girl's disappearance was expected and foreshadowed. And, maybe it was just wishful thinking, but I hoped and expected that Grant would meet some sort of comeuppance.Finally, and maybe it was because it was four in the morning, but I couldn't wrap my head around the whole embezzlement plot and who, how, and when everyone got arrested. (Oops, spoiler alert.)
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  • Michelegg
    January 1, 1970
    Easily my favorite book of the year, this book is full of everything I adore about reading. The pages were filled with a fabulous story, peopled by characters I came to care about so much and set in an England I want to live in.The setting came alive under the authors pen, I can still see Rosemere Priory rising up from the green earth, covered in ivy and overlooking the little town below. The characters were some of my very favorite ever written, Olivia and Samir were gorgeous togeth Easily my favorite book of the year, this book is full of everything I adore about reading. The pages were filled with a fabulous story, peopled by characters I came to care about so much and set in an England I want to live in.The setting came alive under the authors pen, I can still see Rosemere Priory rising up from the green earth, covered in ivy and overlooking the little town below. The characters were some of my very favorite ever written, Olivia and Samir were gorgeous together and their love story was breathtaking to read. The circumstances surrounding Olivia’s inheritance and her journey to understand her mother were such a beautiful part of this story and kept me turning the pages late into the night. I’ve long been a fan of this authors work simply because her stories stay with me, the places described continue to stay in my mind and her characters are always beloved and unforgettable. This is my favorite book to date, the way this book made me feel will long be on my mind, the hallmark of a great read for me.I very highly recommend this book to lovers of fabulously written stories, beautiful settings and characters who you will fall in love with and never forget. I can’t say enough about how much I loved this book!
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  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    I have never read anything by this author before and I have to say that I was amazed by both the story and the author's writing skill and style. Obviously, I will hunt up her books to read more. The story contained in this book is magical. It caught me in a tough time - my 12 year old dog died while I was reading this. It was the one thing that drew me away from my grief the first couple days. First, the characters; they were so perfectly described that I could see each and every one. Second, th I have never read anything by this author before and I have to say that I was amazed by both the story and the author's writing skill and style. Obviously, I will hunt up her books to read more. The story contained in this book is magical. It caught me in a tough time - my 12 year old dog died while I was reading this. It was the one thing that drew me away from my grief the first couple days. First, the characters; they were so perfectly described that I could see each and every one. Second, the story line blew me away. I'm not going into it. I don't believe in spoilers, but it fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for allowing me to read and provide an honest review of this book.
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  • Roberta
    January 1, 1970
    Family Secrets and Fabulous FoodI might have missed this lovely novel, but one of my book clubs picked it out for a summer selection.Olivia finds out her mother kept many secrets from her. After her mother’s death, she finds out she has inherited a huge British estate and the title of countess. The large home on the estate is in very bad shape so Olivia is in a quandary whether she should restore the “white elephant” or sell everything.Leading to her indecision is meeting Pavi a Family Secrets and Fabulous FoodI might have missed this lovely novel, but one of my book clubs picked it out for a summer selection.Olivia finds out her mother kept many secrets from her. After her mother’s death, she finds out she has inherited a huge British estate and the title of countess. The large home on the estate is in very bad shape so Olivia is in a quandary whether she should restore the “white elephant” or sell everything.Leading to her indecision is meeting Pavi and her handsome brother Samir. Pavi has a restaurant that serves British/Indian fusion food that is like heaven to Olivia’s food writer palate.Romance is folded well into this delicious tale, but it’s not overwhelming. Author Barbara Samuels has crafted a story that will appeal to a wide audience.This was my first book by this author, but it won’t be my last.
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  • Falguni Kothari
    January 1, 1970
    When several of my favorite things in books (or life) - a picturesque English countryside, a broody British Indian man, a crumbling manor house in desperate need of repair, family skeletons and an older woman- younger man romance - are paired with a gripping prose, how could I help but devour the book in one sitting? A thoroughly enjoyable read.
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    This book pulled me in and would not let go. It’s filled with great characters and beautiful scenery. It makes you feel like you are right there.I throughly enjoyed this book. It has something for everyone. Romance, history, mystery and intrigue. It’s one that you won’t want to put down until the very end and it will stay with you long after you finish.I look forward to more of this author’s work.Thank you to #Lake Union #NetGalley for the honor of reading this book. A bi This book pulled me in and would not let go. It’s filled with great characters and beautiful scenery. It makes you feel like you are right there.I throughly enjoyed this book. It has something for everyone. Romance, history, mystery and intrigue. It’s one that you won’t want to put down until the very end and it will stay with you long after you finish.I look forward to more of this author’s work.Thank you to #Lake Union #NetGalley for the honor of reading this book. A big 5 stars from me.
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  • Barb in Maryland
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsA hearty 'squeeee' for this latest from Barbara O'Neal. It is more women's fiction with a good romance--but the romance is so wonderful I'm calling it a romance.Our main character is Olivia Shaw, 39 years old, food magazine writer and editor, who is grief stricken at the recent death of her mother. To complicate matters, her romantic relationship of 8 years is on the rocks as she comes to realize that she no longer loves Grant if, indeed, she ever really had.Olivia is 4.5 starsA hearty 'squeeee' for this latest from Barbara O'Neal. It is more women's fiction with a good romance--but the romance is so wonderful I'm calling it a romance.Our main character is Olivia Shaw, 39 years old, food magazine writer and editor, who is grief stricken at the recent death of her mother. To complicate matters, her romantic relationship of 8 years is on the rocks as she comes to realize that she no longer loves Grant if, indeed, she ever really had.Olivia is in England to claim an inheritance that she had known nothing about until after her mother's death. It's a doozy--Rosemere Priory (and manor house) come with a title--Olivia is now Countess of Rosemere. Olivia is flabbergasted, overwhelmed, as well as intrigued. There's a mystery here, no doubt. And the more certain parties push her to make a quick decision, the more she decides to take it slow.One of the many charms of the book is all of the food descriptions. Food is important to Olivia; it is how she's earned her living for a number of years. She savors each bite, explores the flavors and takes the reader along with her. [Caution! Do not read this while hungry. Trust me.] Olivia becomes friends with Samir Malakar and his sister Pavi (who runs a very upscale Indian restaurant) and others in Saint Ives Cross, the village closest to Rosemere Priory. There are other parties, of course, who are not thrilled with her arrival.Another charm of the book is the manor house, which is in a state of decay and rumored to be haunted. Abandoned for the last 40 years, it is huge and aptly described as a 'white elephant'. Olivia is fascinated by it. We wouldn't have much of a book, now would we, if Olivia decides on a quick sale; so we get renovation p0rn, complete with 'The Restoration Diva'. As a big fan of 'This Old House' and almost all the renovation shows on HGTV, I loved all the 'fix up the manor' parts.The story unfolds slowly, as Olivia settles in to her responsibilities as Lady Shaw and as she tries to unravel the mysteries of her mother's early life. In all of this she is helped by Samir. The slow burn romance between the two is wonderful. Oh, it has its ups and downs, of course--each of them is hesitant, for Reasons, but it is lovely to watch it unfold.There is drama along the way: bodies revealed by storm damage, a suspicious fire, a threatened lawsuit and financial fraud. At one point Olivia is so overwhelmed that she wonders if what she is doing is worth the effort.All in all, a marvelous story of finding a life for yourself that you never knew could be possible. I loved it. So why not 5 stars? Well, there were several plot lines that were wrapped up too quickly. I thought the ending to the Grant part of the story was just a little too facile and the sudden solution to the fraud plotline seemed to come out of left field, with little to no explanation on how several of the culprits were involved.
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  • Elena Mikalsen
    January 1, 1970
    Barbara O'Neal is a new author to me and I am so excited to have discovered her book. Gorgeous writing and deeply developed characters. I love this story. It's one of my new favorites. Can't wait to read more of her books. Thank you NetGalley for giving me this book to review.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    I did not want this book to end.There’s a bit of everything here. There’s a mystery, there’s a woman trying to find herself again after her mom dies, there’s a lot of talk of delicious food, there’s adventure and romance. And there are even a few cute animals thrown into the story for good measure :)This book is beautifully written.You can picture Olivia, devastated from the loss of her mom, finding out that she has inherited a title and a house that rivals Downton I did not want this book to end.There’s a bit of everything here. There’s a mystery, there’s a woman trying to find herself again after her mom dies, there’s a lot of talk of delicious food, there’s adventure and romance. And there are even a few cute animals thrown into the story for good measure :)This book is beautifully written.You can picture Olivia, devastated from the loss of her mom, finding out that she has inherited a title and a house that rivals Downton Abbey.Her mother also left behind secrets.Because Olivia never knew this house existed.And she certainly doesn’t know why her mom kept the house a secret.She finds herself pulled into a bit of a treasure hunt. She tries to uncover the mystery of her mother. Why did she leave this home? Why did she let it become totally disheveled? And why would she leave it to Olivia without ever telling her about it?Along the way, Olivia meets a handsome man and samples many delicious local foods.What’s not to love here?This was right up my alley.I got to read an early copy of the ebook, sent to me by the author. Thank you!
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  • Laurie
    January 1, 1970
    How I loved this novel! I tried to read it slowly to savor it, and could not. I loved the descriptions of the castle, the gorgeous roses, the strawberries, the views from the conservatory and especially the descriptions of all the miraculous foods that were prepared. I was walking along Rosemere with Olivia as she inherits this old, dilapidated estate in England that she had no idea belonged to her family. Olivia needs to solve the mystery and find why her mother had fled England many years ago How I loved this novel! I tried to read it slowly to savor it, and could not. I loved the descriptions of the castle, the gorgeous roses, the strawberries, the views from the conservatory and especially the descriptions of all the miraculous foods that were prepared. I was walking along Rosemere with Olivia as she inherits this old, dilapidated estate in England that she had no idea belonged to her family. Olivia needs to solve the mystery and find why her mother had fled England many years ago and has never mentioned this life to her. Caroline, Olivia's mother, has left instructions for Olivia upon her death, but it's something to be found in a treasure hunt. Of course! It was what Caroline did with Olivia as a young child and now as an adult, giving her a last gift.This is well written and definitely a great book and I think the only thing to do, is to read it yourself!
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  • Joan
    January 1, 1970
    Okay....I do wish the author had had this book 'Brit-read' before publishing. There are several 'eek' moments in the story that really should have been picked up by an editor.ie:she hands over a'clutch of pound notes' - England doesn't have pound notes now - haven't had since 1988'She's a teacher, third grade.' School 'years' in England are numbered after the first year: Reception, Year I Year 2, etc. 'third grade' means nothing hereThe food reference/>'She'sa'clutch Okay....I do wish the author had had this book 'Brit-read' before publishing. There are several 'eek' moments in the story that really should have been picked up by an editor.ie:she hands over a'clutch of pound notes' - England doesn't have pound notes now - haven't had since 1988'She's a teacher, third grade.' School 'years' in England are numbered after the first year: Reception, Year I Year 2, etc. 'third grade' means nothing hereThe food references were way too overdone and I ended up skimming them. Yes, I know Olivia is a food editor but she seemed to be having an orgasm every time she ate something - and EVERY meal was 'perfect' ;) Olivia seemed to be disliked by many people and there was no explanation for this - just another 'unexplained' mystery which served to irk me more as I read on.There was an ??? wtf !!! moment at the end when two fairly important characters were mentioned, almost in an offhand way, as being involved in a crime and yet NO ONE reacted. It was as if their names were irrelevant or simply not spoken and it didnt make any sense at all. Neither did the missing caretakers who were apparently on holiday and then were simply forgotten about until too late. It gave the feel of a story that had been rushed and not proof-read. Having said that, on the whole I enjoyed the overall plot and the characters were likeable. I do think it needs serious editing though, (the timeline seemed particularly odd somehow) and a MUCH better cover. The current one makes it look as if the story is set in the 50's ;) 2.5 stars. I liked it, but not that much. sadly, the flaws outweighed the characters.
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  • Natalia Iwanyckyj
    January 1, 1970
    "My first glimpse of Rosemere Priory came just before dusk, when the last of the day’s sunlight fingered the old stones a rosy gold. It was vast and rambling, bay upon bay of Elizabethan windows, with two crenellated towers pointing into an eggplant sky. Everything I knew about my mother shattered in that instant.""The Art of Inheriting Secrets" opens with these strong, beautiful words. And so I tumbled onto an old English estate, joining Olivia Shaw as she unraveled the secrets of h "My first glimpse of Rosemere Priory came just before dusk, when the last of the day’s sunlight fingered the old stones a rosy gold. It was vast and rambling, bay upon bay of Elizabethan windows, with two crenellated towers pointing into an eggplant sky. Everything I knew about my mother shattered in that instant.""The Art of Inheriting Secrets" opens with these strong, beautiful words. And so I tumbled onto an old English estate, joining Olivia Shaw as she unraveled the secrets of her ancestors, uncovered her own deepest desires, and befriended English people from several classes.Like all of Barbara O'neal's books, this one features strong women, good men, families, dogs, food, and adventure. The addition of mystery, history, and a delicious romance made "The Art of Inheriting Secrets" a very satisfying read about true nobility.“Our families have been neighbors for more than four centuries. Four hundred years,” he added for weight. “Always, it was the Barbers and the Shaws, side by side. We stood in solidarity over many things and quarreled about others, but I believe our people have always stood for the same ideas—that with great wealth comes responsibility.”
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  • Literary Soirée
    January 1, 1970
    Barbara O’Neal has written a gorgeous novel focusing on a woman’s emotional awakening under difficult circumstances. This time set in a quaint English village with a crumbling centuries-old estate. 5/5 for a compelling story line, warm characterizations and a setting you’ll want to inhabit forever. Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the review copy.#TheArtOfInheritingSecrets #NetGalley
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  • Louise
    January 1, 1970
    The protagonist of Barbara Neals' upcoming The Art of Inheriting Secrets is a daughter raised by a single mother in San Francisco. When her mother dies, Olivia discovers that she is heir to a vast, ruined estate in England. Going to investigate, Olivia discovers hidden secrets and present-day potential in a derelict building, beautiful paintings, and new relationships. Possibly this bare summary sounds like something you've read before - or walked right on by? This story is not that. The protagonist of Barbara Neals' upcoming The Art of Inheriting Secrets is a daughter raised by a single mother in San Francisco. When her mother dies, Olivia discovers that she is heir to a vast, ruined estate in England. Going to investigate, Olivia discovers hidden secrets and present-day potential in a derelict building, beautiful paintings, and new relationships. Possibly this bare summary sounds like something you've read before - or walked right on by? This story is not that.I've left the summary deliberately sparse so there are no spoilers. That's how I came to the story and I would want other readers to share that experience, in landing in a different country with a protagonist determined to close up estate business and move on in her own high-powered, dreamed-of career leading a food publication. Neal is an exceptionally experienced and adept writer, technically sharp and deft with description, setting, pace, and structure. I savored learning how to weave a story from a master storyteller by reading her work. Having taken a terrific workshop with her several years ago, I enjoyed seeing her light-handed and intelligent craft in action.Among her many tools is specificity. For example, the main character named her dog "Arrow" after the dog in 1971's Harry Nilsson's album and animation The Point. For those who don't know this incredible film and album, The Point is the story of a round-headed boy named Oblio living in the land of Point. Everything and everyone has one - and is required to have one. Revealed as being "pointless," Oblio is banished to the Pointless Forest where his adventures unfold with loyal Arrow at his side. Again, I won't spoil it for you - see this movie. The songs are wise, light, piercingly true. The boy and his dog are charming, simple, wise as well. The animation is beautiful.Neal hit a resonant chord with me by dropping this small, unremarkable and highly specific fact about a character's background. Simply citing this counter-culture story lays open a character's background, her heart and joy, deepening her presence and my reader relationship with her. I bet Neal loved this movie, too. Us writers do things like that, weave in the jokes, references, pleasures that we know and love. Animals play an important role in the story - but it's not all light and sparkle, happy little songs. While we are beguiled by the roses and the garden, Neal explores class issues, urban sprawl, book publishing, illness and death, finances, family obligations, writers, art, food, and discrimination. Yeah, that's a lot of ground to cover. However, while she examines the issues, they are woven into the story, never upstaging or blaring or getting in the way of a story about a woman finding her way after a terrible accident and the loss of her mother who was a guiding light and powerful loving presence. These themes and recurring images support, enrich, add critical dimension and heft to a solid story. Neal did not pull any punches. She did not ratchet up tension in predictable, yawn-worthy ways, but there was plenty of it.What she did do was ground her characters and events in a place, a time. They are so well-grounded, so centered in themselves, that it was a joy to spend time with them, the real-feeling people and the places I would dearly love to visit.So, for certain readers, I recommend this book without reservation. It is fast, beautiful, delightful, truthful, all manner of wonderous. If you enjoy women's fiction or romance, this is a writer you need to read. For those other readers who don't typically read stories like this, you might want to give it a chance. Failing that, go find The Point and watch it. That I can recommend to anyone, everyone, with no qualms.
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    It was hard to read this book without salivating at the mouth from all of Barbara O' Neal's descriptions of food. The "notes" feature on my kindle got used quite heavily as I kept highlighting all of the wonderful descriptions of various food dishes. I loved how O' Neal personified food throughout her novel. For example, she writes about a glass of wine that "hit my tongue like a dance troupe" or "cumin kissed ginger; ginger embraced the umami depth of lamb." My list could go on and on. Some of It was hard to read this book without salivating at the mouth from all of Barbara O' Neal's descriptions of food. The "notes" feature on my kindle got used quite heavily as I kept highlighting all of the wonderful descriptions of various food dishes. I loved how O' Neal personified food throughout her novel. For example, she writes about a glass of wine that "hit my tongue like a dance troupe" or "cumin kissed ginger; ginger embraced the umami depth of lamb." My list could go on and on. Some of the food in this book I've never had such as all of the Indian dishes, but her descriptions of chai tea, strawberries, and asparagus had me practically reading the book up with a spoon in hand. Besides all of the superb descriptions of food, I think the other part of this book that kept me reading was the mystery that the author developed. At the beginning of the book, the reader learns that Olivia Shaw inherited an English estate and the title of Countess after her mother's death. So right away I was swept up in the mystery of why her mother would never have told her about this ancestral home that was hundreds of years old. As the book continued, I found myself rooting for Olivia to find a way to raise the funds that would allow her to renovate such a costly project. I also thought it was very interesting how the secrets of Olivia's family are finally revealed. I probably would not have made all of the connections that Olivia did in order to figure out her mother's secrets but I suppose Olivia knows her mother's way of thinking better than I do. Although there was a bit of a romance story thrown into the book, I think I enjoyed the parts of the story that dealt more with the mystery and renovation of the Rosemere estate. However, there were some really good quotes that Samir makes to Olivia that would have had me swooning at the feet if they had been professed to me while dating someone new. This book was the first book that I've read by this author and I am looking forward to reading others. Thanks to Net Galley and Lake Union Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this book. All thoughts expressed are my honest opinions of the book.
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  • Connie Fischer
    January 1, 1970
    Olivia Shaw is the editor of the food magazine, Egg and Hen. Some months ago, she had a car accident that shattered a bone in her leg and has been off from work for some months as she heals. In addition, her mother, Caroline, recently died which has devastated her. The woman had been a very talented artist. Olivia has been living with Grant for several years in a nice apartment in San Francisco.Olivia received a letter from a solicitor in England about a house that had belonged to he Olivia Shaw is the editor of the food magazine, Egg and Hen. Some months ago, she had a car accident that shattered a bone in her leg and has been off from work for some months as she heals. In addition, her mother, Caroline, recently died which has devastated her. The woman had been a very talented artist. Olivia has been living with Grant for several years in a nice apartment in San Francisco.Olivia received a letter from a solicitor in England about a house that had belonged to her mother. It is called Rosemere Priory and it is a vast mansion. However, no one has lived in it for 40 years and it is probably ready to be torn down. It had been lived in by her mother’s family for 3-4 centuries until one day all of the family fled the house. Olivia learns that her mother was actually Lady Caroline and now Olivia is the Countess of Shaw.Finding much of the mansion in bad disrepair, she does find some lovely aspects and one room appears to have been untouched. The grounds and land are enormous with numerous outbuildings. Now, Olivia learns that repairing and rebuilding the place will cost a huge amount of money. However, with the money Olivia can get from selling her mother’s house in San Francisco, she might be able to undertake saving Rosemere. She meets many locals and finds that some seem to have an agenda of their own for wanting her to sell the place. However, a British Indian family take her under their wing and become close friends. One member of the family is Samir. Although he is a few years younger that she is, they share an attraction. What is the mystery surrounding Rosemere that sent her family fleeing it years ago? I enjoyed this book and found the descriptions of Rosemere and its grounds to be well-written. The mystery is a good one and I’m betting most readers won’t be able to solve it in advance. Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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  • Caleigh Rutledge
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of The Art of Inheriting Secrets from Lake Union Publishing in advance of the novel's release, in exchange for an honest review. While my full review will be available on Literary Quicksand (literaryquicksand.com) on July 16, I thought I would leave some early thoughts here on Goodreads. First of all, before I talk about the book itself, I have two things to mention. One, Barbara, thank you for the signed copy and inscription. As a reviewer, I was honestly touched. Second, the I received a copy of The Art of Inheriting Secrets from Lake Union Publishing in advance of the novel's release, in exchange for an honest review. While my full review will be available on Literary Quicksand (literaryquicksand.com) on July 16, I thought I would leave some early thoughts here on Goodreads. First of all, before I talk about the book itself, I have two things to mention. One, Barbara, thank you for the signed copy and inscription. As a reviewer, I was honestly touched. Second, the cover of this novel is beautiful, and perfectly reflects the story inside. The Art of Inheriting Secrets is well named. Ms. Olivia Shaw, a late 30's San Francisco-an, packs her things and lands in England where we find that she has inherited an incredible, albeit aged, English estate. But quickly we find that there are many knots of plot for Olivia to untangle as she tries to come to terms with the recent loss of her mother, a difficult break to a fading relationship, and some distasteful individuals who try to take advantage of the new Countess. In the end, Olivia is left with her own secrets to carry on with, but with some hope for a beautiful future (no spoilers!). There is a reason that this book has no reviews below 4 stars as of me writing this review. While it may be a little predictable, the writing is fabulous, the story compelling, and the characters and scenery deeply described. I actually found myself saying aloud "I wish this book had more chapters!". It simply ended too soon for me. I think I will have to visit some more of O'Neal's work!
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  • Sherri Lewis
    January 1, 1970
    *** I received an advanced e-copy from Net Galley in exchange for my honest reviewWhen Olivia's mother dies, her world turns upside down. She discovers a plethora of secrets her mother had been keeping, one of which was that she had a title and an estate in England. When Olivia goes to England to try to sort everything out, she discovers a life waiting for her beyond anything she could ever have imagined.I am a huge fan of this author, and I believe this book may be my new favo *** I received an advanced e-copy from Net Galley in exchange for my honest reviewWhen Olivia's mother dies, her world turns upside down. She discovers a plethora of secrets her mother had been keeping, one of which was that she had a title and an estate in England. When Olivia goes to England to try to sort everything out, she discovers a life waiting for her beyond anything she could ever have imagined.I am a huge fan of this author, and I believe this book may be my new favorite of hers. It kept me so engrossed that I could not put it down. With characters you want to root for, a story that is fresh and exciting & a bit of romance thrown in for good measure, this is the perfect summer read.
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