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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 4 of 5
There are currently 29 member reviews
for The Secret of Everything
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  • Jennifer F. (Tucson, AZ)
    Too much information
    This book is a quick and enjoyable read, but I had the sense that the author was trying to fit too much into the story and the constant flashbacks were distracting.
    The story is interesting but all over the place.
    This would probably be a good beach or airplane book, but overall seemed scattered and the recipes seemed out of place.
  • Carol T. (Ankeny, Iowa)
    Too many secrets
    As a whole, The Secret of Everything is not bad. A good light read. The children and dogs are excellent additions. Unfortunately, the author got so wrapped up in hiding Tessa's past that she hid things she shouldn't have. Apparently O'Neal forgot that a reader's first introduction to the character becomes, literally, a picture in the reader's head. When we first meet Tessa, she is sauntering down to the beach carrying a mango, a chunk of bread, and a cup of tea. We know she is recovering from a hiking accident, caused by torrential rain and a spider bite. But paragraphs later there is a miss-able allusion to a cast on her arm. Immediately, I was wondering how she managed not to spill the tea. Chapters later, another aside mentions a friend who died in the hiking accident. All of this could have been handled with more finesse and allowed me to maintain the willingness to suspend disbelief that is so essential to good fiction. Why not have her struggle a little to balance the mango, bread, and tea on her cast? Why not add guilt to the opening litany of things she's trying not to face? O'Neal needed to deliberately make so many things in this book not be as they first seemed. Why clutter that lovely mysteriousness with unnecessaries?
  • Julia H. (Excelsior, MN)
    Present meets past
    For the most part, I really enjoyed this debut novel. Tessa Harlow was a pretty good protagonist. The point of view shifts occasionally from Tessa to other townspeople, a gimmick I found a little difficult to get into in the beginning, but eventually, the story flowed very well. Because of the multiple views, I found myself even more interested in the lives of little girl Natalie and Vita, owner of the wonderful sounding 100 Breakfasts restaurant. Perhaps more than Tessa at times. Although the plot’s resolution was a bit transparent, I really enjoyed this story of Tessa’s self-discovery.
  • Carol (NC)
    The Secret of Everything by Barbara O'Neal
    The book starts well and captured my interest. Didn't even realize the book was a romance at the beginning. The love story was not believable. Wish it could have been a bit more subtle.
  • 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.
  • Joan P. (Owego, NY)
    The Secret of Everything
    This book wasn't a satisfying read. There is a good story here but too many bells and whistles.The main characters, Tessa and Vince, are well developed but many of the minor characters are one dimensional. There are mysteries, dog stories, hippies, communes, accidental deaths, murders, spousal abuse, hot sex and suicide. Add to the list recipes. There are "secrets" but mostly "everything". The conclusion was trite and tried too hard to tie up all the loose ends.
  • Suzanne G. (Tucson, AZ)
    Only for some.....
    I didn't like this book--only because I think this type of romance is fluffy and too graphic to put any substance to a story. I felt the plot and the many characters were so labored and so outlandish and so unrealistic, I wondered if I could even finish! But yet, because I had free time I figured I would like to know what else the author could come up with before it finally ended! She didn't fail me.

    I do realize there are many, many books written in this fashion and just as many readers who enjoy. I just don't happen to be one. This book was a poor choice on my part.

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