This Place of Wonder

- Barbara O'Neal

Goodreads Book Blurb:

When famed chef Augustus Beauvais dies, he leaves behind a celebrated reputation―and four women grappling with loss, anger, pain, and the question of how the world will turn without him…

Meadow, the ex-wife with whom Augustus built an empire―and a family―still holds a place for him in her heart, even as she continues to struggle with his infidelities, which ended their twenty-year marriage. More unforgiving is Maya, his estranged daughter, who’s recently out of rehab but finally ready to reclaim her life. Norah, his latest girlfriend, sidelined her own career for unexpected love and a life of luxury, both of which are now gone with Augustus. And then there’s Rory, Meadow’s daughter, the voice of calm and reason in a chorus of discontent.

As Meadow, Maya, Norah, and Rory are flung together by tragedy, grief, and secrets yet to be revealed, they must accept―or turn away from―the legacy of great intentions and bad decisions Augustus left them. And when the circumstances around his death are called into question, their conflicted feelings become even more complicated. But moving forward is the only choice they have, and to do so, they’ll need to rely on family, friendship, and inner strength.

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My Review:

***Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided.

solid, good read:
4/5
This Place of Wonder is a highly personal and emotional portrait of three very different women. I don’t always do well with character-driven narratives, but I did enjoy this one.

Augustus played a lot of complicated roles in the lives of those around him. His death brings not only the expected grief but a journey of self-discovery as they come to terms with a world without him. Far from a perfect person, many loose ends are left unresolved, and everyone, including the police, is trying to figure out what happened and what it means now.

I liked the messy quality of the narrative – no one is perfect, and even if they know what they should do, it doesn’t always work out that way. As with most character-driven stories, This Place of Wonder doesn’t really go anywhere, we mostly sit in the events and the emotions immediately following Augustus’ death. There are some flashbacks and some plans made, but this is all about the feelings and reactions to the loss of this man. It definitely leaves you in a contemplative mood.

Bookstores can solve any problem, at least for a little while. It was humid and too warm inside, the lights bright against the gray day, and it all smelled of paper and glue and dust and humans and damp wool and coffee brewing somewhere. Only this place of wonders could soothe me.

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