Featured New Release Of The Week: The Lost Girls of Devon by Barbara O’Neal

This week we’re looking at a solid tale of intergenerational family drama across four generations of a single family. This week, we’re looking at The Lost Girls of Devon by Barbara O’Neal.

Two years ago, O’Neal’s 2018 book The Art of Inheriting Secrets was one of the very first Featured New Release posts here. A year ago, her 2019 release When We Believed In Mermaids was also a Featured New Release. Today, we continue that emerging tradition with O’Neal’s newest release.

And I admit, at first I didn’t think I really had enough to say about this book to be able to give it this slot. But when I sat down to write the Goodreads et al review, it turned out I had more to say than I thought, so here we are.

This book doesn’t have Secrets‘ sense of discovery and wonder. It doesn’t convey the abject pain and heartbreak and waterworks of Mermaids either. What it does have, and what it shows remarkably well from many different angles, is the drama of how certain events can play out in the lives of family across multiple generations. Just to use the same example I used in the Goodreads review, in particular it shows how the second generation’s decision to begin living her life for herself – when her daughter, the third generation, was still a child – plays out not just with her daughter, but also her mother (first generation) and her daughter’s daughter (fourth generation). We see the complexities of the mother/ daughter relationship between 2 and 3, but we also see 1 and 4’s perspectives on it and how that decision impacted each of their lives. There are multiple other similar issues between various groupings of the four, and O’Neal does a remarkable job of balancing each voice.

A bit of action near the end feels a bit out of place, but wraps up the primary external plot thread in a way that manages to feed into the drama between the family members.

All in all an excellent display of O’Neal’s storytelling abilities, and one not to be missed. (Though you can largely leave the handkerchief at home for this one, fortunately.) Very much recommended.

As always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
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A Month of Reading: July 2018: Starting A Blog and Reading An Entire Series

July 2018. The month I finally gave up politics completely and embraced something I’ve loved for far longer – reading.

It was the month I started this very blog just a few short weeks ago, and the month I finally read a series that I’ve had at least one book from for nearly 5 years, and whose author I’ve known for 6 years – we share a small book club on Facebook where he is one of about 70 or so author members and I run the monthly Group Read subgroup. And those two things pretty well dominated my month in reading.

Overall, I read 14 books in July 2018, per my Goodreads list (which I’ve become devout regarding updating when I finish a book). This pushed me into unknown territory at 81 books on the year – a new personal record. Of the 14 in July, 7 were from Brett Battles’ PROJECT EDEN series. Of the remaining books, 5 were Advance Review Copies (and 3 of those were from Lake Union Publishing) while the other two were new releases from friends – including Jeremy Robinson, who I will be meeting for the first time in just 16 days.

There 14 books accounted for over 3700 pages of (Kindle) text at an average length of over 260 pages each.

I only read one series on the month, so best series of the month goes to PROJECT EDEN by Brett Battles.

Most interesting book of the month I will give to The Same Blood by M. Azmitia, for the simple reason that it was good, yet very far out of the norm for me in virtually everything about it – particularly with it being a long form narrative poem.

I only read one book that was remotely humorous in tone, so funniest book of the month goes to #SecondCivilWar – Letters: Letters from America’s Second Civil War by U. Ray Moran (a pen name of a friend for this effort, though I’ll not reveal who it is). If you’re already sick of politics and political news and 2018 Election coverage, this book is for you.

Overall best book of the month, I think I’m going to have to give to The Space Between by Dete Meserve. It was simply a very wild ride, and I loved the fact that a female NASA scientist got to play a lead role, even if her job wasn’t the main plot of the book.

Below the break, the entire list, in date completed order – with links to my Goodreads reviews of each.
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Featured New Release Of The Week: The Art of Inheriting Secrets by Barbara O’Neal

This week, we’re going to the first book I’ve read from a new to me author, Barbara O’Neal, whose publisher (Lake Union) I’ve come to trust. This week, we’re looking at The Art of Inheriting Secrets by Barbara O’Neal.

I’ve never met nor interacted online with Ms. O’Neal, and admittedly the setting of this book was one that I have absolutely no familiarity with at all other than the occasional TV show or movie, and who knows when those things are actually accurate? But the central character herself proved as relatable as can be expected for a first person female perspective being read by a male. Olivia Shaw’s mother has died, and she left behind some substantial secrets – the most obvious of which being that she had a full estate and title in England that Olivia has now inherited and must decide how to handle. She’s also dealing with having been out of work for a few weeks already due to breaking her leg, and once we meet up with her in England on the first page, she’s already dealing with the fact that her relationship with her fiancée doesn’t feel as close as it once did.

As Olivia gets introduced to the land she inherited and the land and people nearby, we come to know more about her, them… and her mother’s far darker secret, along with a tragic secret from her grandmother. And pretty much everyone tends to grow on at least this reader, from the charming townspeople to the knowing Baron of a nearby estate who takes Olivia under his wing. We see a fair amount of character development over the months covered in the story as Olivia struggles to learn to become the new Countess of Rosemere, and we fall in love with the land at the same time she does.

Overall a very strong tale, if not quite the same as I’d come to expect from Lake Union and indeed not a type of tale I would normally pick up on my own. Definitely a worthy read, and I’m very glad I picked it up, even if I was more concerned with the publish date than any other factor when I originally chose to read it. Now that it is out, you should absolutely pick this up and read it at the first opportunity you have. You won’t be disappointed.

And once again, I leave you with my Goodreads/ Amazon review:
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