Eileen L. (Danvers, MA)
Sweet but a bit predictable
The Secret of Everything is not terribly secretive, but a charming little book nonetheless. The characters, lmeant to be colorful, are little cliche, but likable enough. The premise of the book, reconciling the past with the present, unfolds at an intriguing pace but just does not offer up many surprises. The language in parts of it, describing the landscape, and particularly the descriptions of the subjects of Tessa's photography, are quite beautiful. O'Neal has an interesting voice but may want to dig a little deeper in order to really grab her reader. All in all a light, quick read to pass an afternoon.
Gigi K. (Lufkin,, TX.)
The best thing about this book to me was the characters. I'd enjoy having them living on my block. Other than that, I had a difficult time staying interested. I was content just reading a chapter and putting it down. The recipes at the end of the chapters seemed rather "gimmicky".
Shawna L. (Idaho Falls, Idaho)
The secret of everything
This was a very moving book. I started it and then just had to finish it! It has everything you need for a wonderful read, it left me with a tear in my eye and a heart warmed from the inside out.
This book has a food theme as does her other book The Lost Recipe for Happiness. I am not a great cook but The Secret of Everything just awakens a need in me to become one, it is amazing what food can do ;o). I had instant connection to the books characters. The location makes me want to book a flight to New Mexico tomorrow. Photography was another pastime in this book that I really enjoyed. I am also a sucker for happy endings and this book just delighted me with just the right kind of Happy Ending I could think about long after I finished the last page!
Deb Y. (Blanco, TX)
Romance is in the Air!
This is a lovely romance, and I enjoy lovely romances. The only thing better than a lovely romance is a lovely period romance, but this is not one of those. Tessa and Vince and their many-faceted story will win over even the most curmudgeonly! Please do yourself a favor and read this nice book - no thinking involved, just pure enjoyment.
Molly B. (Hygiene, CO)
Good looking recipes...
This is a fun, easy read with enough mystery, heat and drama to keep me turning the pages. It is also easily forgettable, as the characters are black and white, albeit cool and appealing, and the dialogue and story line are soap operatic. But it was fun to read - just don't expect nuance or reality. And while I haven't tried the recipes scattered throughout the book, I surely will - they look delicious. THEY are what I will take away from this book.
Jinny K. (Fremont, CA)
No Secret, Didn't Care for this Book
Although I felt myself growing fond of the protagonist of this story, I didn't care for the way the story was told.
The source of Tessa's recent trauma was referred to vaguely and teasingly for too long before the details were told. Also, there were far too many coincidences all tied up neatly in the end; it really strained believability.
The recipe-at-the-end-of-chapter device is getting cliched.
The ending was just too cute and cloying for me, and maybe that's just a sign that this is not a genre I will pursue.
Ann S. (Shenandoah, Iowa)
Secret of Everything
O'Neal's book, The Secret of Everything, opened more to my liking than it's ending. I thought at the beginning it would be such a good read. Her use of food for description was such a treat to the senses and her perspectives of things as though she were looking through a camera were the tidbits that kept me reading with anticipation. However, the descriptions waned as the book continued. The use of the camera for perspective became somewhat overused.
The inclusion of the recipes is a fun addition, but not really necessary to the integrity of the plot.
O'Neal crammed so many different lines into the novel, some were never fully developed. They really deserved to be and I felt the ending was so quickly and neatly resolved, that it seemed forced.
It is, however, a light read to be enjoyed by many.