November 25, 2015

The Secret of Everything Barbara O'Neal

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The Secret of Everything
Barbara O'Neal
Published: Brilliance Audio
Date: 2009
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Angela Dawe
Length: 12hrs 5min
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: Own book
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At thirty-seven, Tessa Harlow is still working her way down her list of goals to “fall in love and have a family.” A self-described rolling stone, Tessa leads hiking tours for adventurous vacationers — it’s a job that’s taken her around the world but never a step closer to home. Then a freak injury during a trip already marred by tragedy forces her to begin her greatest adventure of all.

Located high in the New Mexico mountains, Las Ladronas has become a magnet for the very wealthy and very hip, but once upon a time it was the setting of a childhood trauma Tessa can only half remember. Now, as she rediscovers both her old hometown and her past, Tessa is drawn to search-and-rescue worker Vince Grasso. The handsome widower isn’t her type. No more inclined to settle down than Tessa, Vince is the father of three, including an eight-year-old girl as lost as Tessa herself. But Tessa and Vince are both drawn to the town’s most beloved eatery — 100 Breakfasts — and to each other. For Tessa, the restaurant is not only the key to the mystery that has haunted her life but a chance to find the home and the family she’s never known.

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I ended up really enjoying The Secret of Everything - the audiobook version. At the beginning I wasn't too sure of how it was being narrated. But very soon I was right into it. Angela Dawe did a great job with all the different characters voices, everyone was different.

Tessa has some past griefs that cause her trouble, she has been in an accident and is part recovering, part looking for a new tramping tours spot and part seeking out her past that has been lost to her because her memory can't recall it. There is a mystery there for her - and when its finally solved some big surprises.

Vince, the guy she meets has three adorable daughters and when they entered the story I was totally hooked.  Natalie is the oldest at eight and she is struggling somewhat, she remembers her mother before she died, her two younger sisters don't. Natalie also has a growing appreciation of food which sometimes puts her off side with her grandmother. Natalie and Tessa develop a bond that takes them eventually on a pilgrimage.

Vida owns 100 Breakfasts and this is where the food element comes in. She has had a tough life but her cafe is popular and she gives jobs to women who for example are on parole. She helps them get on their feet. One such woman is Annie who is learning all things from Vida. At the end of some chapters their is one of Vida's breakfast recipes. Natalie has sampled a fair few of those!

There are some wonderful dogs in the story, the plot moves along at a leisurely and enjoyable pace. It is what is happening to the characters that count. With a few surprises there. Mystery, animals, food, children - great combination.
                                                      4 stars
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  1. This sounds like just what I need right now ... kiddies, dogs and the food element got me. Lovely review Kathryn, I'm going to check my library and then audible.

  2. Kathryn Great review and I love characters who have a bit of age on them.
    thanks this goes on my list

  3. This sounds like a nice read. The dogs, kids and food always make for a good combination. I'll have to look for it!

  4. I always enjoy Barbara's books. She has great characters, yummy food and of course, dogs!

  5. I do love the sound of this one...last year (or maybe the year before?), I read a book by this author: The All You Can Dream Buffet, and it was delightful.

    Thanks for sharing...and I love your little "My Thoughts" logo.

  6. I concur. I read this quite some time ago but I did rate it highly.


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