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The Secret of Everything

by Barbara O'Neal

The Secret of Everything by Barbara O'Neal X
The Secret of Everything by Barbara O'Neal
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  • Published Jan 2010
    400 pages
    Genre: Romance

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Page 3 of 5
There are currently 29 member reviews
for The Secret of Everything
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  • Linda S. (Oceanside, NY)
    Everyone has secrets
    Tessa Harlow is a tour guide recovering from a terrible accident on her last tour, a tour that ended with a death and Tessa recovering from severe injuries. After months of recuperation she is looking to get back to work and heads to Las Ladrones, New Mexico to determine if it would be a good tour for her company. Tessa has a bit of a past there, she lived there as a child and almost drowned. While there Tessa comes face to face with her past and she begins to discover “The Secret of Everything”.

    This book was an easy read, pretty standard chick lit fare; beautiful emotionally damaged woman meets incredibly handsome but equally damaged man, sparks and sex fly and together they help each other heal. Nothing earth shattering here, although there was a bit of an interesting mystery involving Tessa’s past. Some small magical realism bits seemed a little out of place. The characters were very likable, especially the character of Natalie, a little girl grieving the loss of her mother. The descriptions of New Mexico make you want to pack your bags tomorrow. The storylines eventually come together in one big happy bow at the end, not too believable but if you just want to have a nice beach read this is the book for you.
  • Carol N. (San Jose, CA)
    The Secret of Everything
    I can’t say I was smitten with this book. . . interesting premise, but unknown author and very few expectations. The book’s main character is a young woman in her 30’s whose mother died when she was a child. All that Tessa really knows about her early childhood is that she and her parents lived in a New Mexico commune. Working as an adventure guide and recovering from a recent physical injury, she decides to combine a work fact-finding trip with business and return to the commune.

    I thought this was a unique and interesting setting, and found the interspersed recipes neat however this gimmick has overused by authors. Once Tessa arrives in the area of the commune (now an organic farm/bakery), she meets up with a variety of interesting people, and includes Vince, a single dad of three little girls. I certainly was in the mood to enjoy a little romance (sex) but the author’s pornographic descriptions were a little out of character for the rest of the book.
    The book was crowded with too many choppy, never fully developed story lines and lacked the thrust to keep me reading. I put it down several times finding it didn’t have that special something to draw me immediately back. Would Tessa ever learn or remember about her early history? Never did figure the author’s intention by the insertion of the mysterious man in the plaza – rather odd and really didn’t fit. My last comment is about the ending .... too quick, neatly resolved and somewhat forced.
  • 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.)
    A Secret?
    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".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Cam G. (Murrells Inlet, SC)
    The Secret of Everything
    Tess Harper, an adventure tour guide, sets out to Las Ladronas in New Mexico, ostensibly to research prospective guided tours in that area, but in actuality ends up searching for her own true identity.

    This book is an easy read and enjoyable due to the likable characters and the recipes that are included at the end of some of the chapters; however, it is just that: an easy uncomplicated read.

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