This book was recommended by mystery author Kate Carlisle, so when I saw it was available for free at Amazon on Prime Reading, I read it, and I’m so glad I did. I had recently finished reading a literary novel with tons of dry narrative, so I was delighted to find a book written by a master storyteller. I was able to relax and immerse myself in the world O’Neal so vividly created. Later I realized that Barbara O’Neal used to write historical romance as Barbara Samuel, whose books I had loved. Why publishers feel they have to hide a writer’s romance roots, I will never understand.
The Art of Inheriting Secrets: A Novel
by Barbara O’Neal
Lake Union Publishing, 2018
When food editor Olivia Shaw’s mother dies, she learns that her mom, who never talked about her background, has left her an estate in England. An honest-to-god landed estate, complete with crumbling manor house, a ruined abbey and a title. Reeling from grief and shock, the new Countess of Rosemere flies to England to assess her inheritance and discovers more secrets.
Olivia doesn’t intend to fall in love with England, not to mention trying to resist the charms of a certain Indian-American author, but lately nothing in her life has gone according to plan. Some of the locals she encounters help her, while others work to actively undermine her. She runs into lots of pitfalls and obstacles, but also finds joy and a sense of belonging.
The book is so well-written, the characters seem real, and the description is wonderful, esp. Olivia’s lyrical descriptions of the food she eats, befitting a food editor.
Highly recommended for fans of women’s fiction, Downton Abbey, or anyone just wanting a feel good read.
Wishing you all a happy and safe holiday season.
As always, click on the link below for more great reviews in Barrie Summy’s Book Review Club!
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