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The Art of Inheriting Secrets

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  50,839 ratings  ·  2,677 reviews
When Olivia Shaw’s mother dies, the sophisticated food editor is astonished to learn she’s inherited a centuries-old English estate—and a title to go with it. Raw with grief and reeling from the knowledge that her reserved mother hid something so momentous, Olivia leaves San Francisco and crosses the pond to unravel the mystery of a lifetime.

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Paperback, 357 pages
Published July 17th 2018 by Lake Union Publishing
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Average rating 4.25  · 
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 ·  50,839 ratings  ·  2,677 reviews

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Brenda James
Too many loose ends

The premise of the story was great. However, I wish the author has spent more effort weaving the story together than she did describing every nuance of food Olivia came in contact with. Who was Olivia's father? Why didn't he help her mother? What was the big deal with Samir's first book? What insight did it offer about Samir? How might it have deepened her relationship with him? What was in the other envelope Alexander gave her? What role did Rebecca play in siphoning money ou
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-goal

Strong premise and opening, and then the author proceeds to tell us a whole lot rather than show us. And tell us and tell us. All I keep thinking is— Kate Morton light.

I really liked all of her characters, the storyline and setting but it just retains a touch too much soap opera-ish elements that sent this reader’s eyes rolling on a regular basis...just how much bad luck can one heroine inherit?

The real good stuff (what could have been a strong second storyline set in the past) is so glosse
DJ Sakata
Favorite Quote:

Life had washed me here on this strange errand. Maybe the best thing to do was to just let it show me what it had in mind.

My Review:

This was my first exposure to the clever and stealthy genius of Barbara O’Neal, and I was quickly hooked by her thoughtful and surreptitious storytelling. Her first-person narrative was evocative, atmospheric, and compelling while her divinely descriptive and nuanced writing style was a feast for all senses, however, be warned, her intricately detaile
Jan 15, 2020 rated it liked it
I don't ever want to read the words "damp penis" ever again. ...more
⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

* Unpopular Opinion Alert * When I first started reading it, I very much liked The Art of Inheriting Secrets by Barbara O'Neal, but in the end some things just didn't jive with me and I didn't love it as much as I had hoped to.

The Art of Inheriting Secrets is about 38 year old Olivia Shaw who has been the editor of a highly respected magazine when she gets into a car accident and has to take time off work. As if that hasn't hit her life hard enough, her mother then passes away and Oli
Sep 29, 2018 rated it liked it
This started out really strong for me. An American girl's mother dies and she inherits an old crumbling English country manor. She has no idea of her mother's gentry background or the circumstances as to why her mother left England so long ago. I loved the setting of this book. I loved the idea of it. So many family secrets to uncover.

However, I just felt that the build-up was slow and then the secrets were all revealed too fast and were too neatly tied up.

I think this was more of a 2 1/2 stars

I do wish the author had had this book 'Brit-read' before publishing. There are several 'eek' moments in the story that really should have been picked up by an editor.


she hands over a'clutch of pound notes' - England doesn't have pound notes now - haven't had since 1988

'She's a teacher, third grade.' School 'years' in England are numbered after the first year: Reception, Year I Year 2, etc. 'third grade' means nothing here

The food references were way too overdone and I ended up skimm
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Barbara O’Neal’s stories are always as beautiful as they are poetic. She possesses a writing style I admire and is an expert at weaving tales I can’t put down and crafting characters that, depending what they do, reward and frustrate. They are the best and stick around long after the final page. THE ART OF INHERITING SECRETS is a gem. Fans, new and old, will fall in love with the book’s layers and textures, and Olivia’s journey into a world she never fathomed belonged to her.
Jeanne Adamek
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This story spoke to me like none other this year. I had the feeling of being a friend to live through all that was happening in the life of Olivia, everything so clearly described that I was actually there. Barbara O'Neal incorperated, wonderfully, a lot of passions of mine making reading an experience--a joy.

I enthusiastically recommand The Art of Inheriting Secrets. 5+ stars
Foxy Vixen
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great book! If you like mystery, murder, treasure hunts and romance than this is the book for you.
This takes place on a vey 0ld 600 hundred years old Manor in England. The mystery is created by the main character’s deceased mother.
You learn more about the Indian and English relationships of past and present.
If you want a book that will keep the pages turning quickly with much passion thrown in, than this book is for you.
It probably should be considered for the ladies... but certainly f
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sneaky Book Hangover. This is one of those books that has a way of sneaking up on you, in all the good ways. In the beginning, we're thrust into the world of a food editor who has just arrived in England after only recently finding out that she has inherited a full English estate and title. Throughout the book, we discover things as she does, and through the first half of the book what we discover is mostly that she is falling in love with both the countryside and its resident thatcher. The "sec ...more
I have never read anything by this author before and I have to say that I was amazed by both the story and the author's writing skill and style. Obviously, I will hunt up her books to read more.

The story contained in this book is magical. It caught me in a tough time - my 12 year old dog died while I was reading this. It was the one thing that drew me away from my grief the first couple days. First, the characters; they were so perfectly described that I could see each and every one. Second, th
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book greatly. The mystery kept me turning page after page quickly. Memorable characters and you will feel transported to the English countryside. Will recommend to friends and I give this book 5 stars.
Lynn Cahoon
Jul 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the MC's bouncing back as one thing after the other hit her as she's trying to get over a string of bad luck. Having to fight for your destiny is the best way to find true love. Amazing story. ...more
Cathy Hooper
Dec 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 10, 2020 rated it liked it
First half four stars , second half 2 stars . Not a complete waste of time , but I don't have a high opinion of the morals and language as the book progressed . ...more
Kiki Z
Aug 14, 2019 added it
Shelves: unfinished, so-slow
DNF'd at 46%. I've been chipping away at this book for ten days, reading a little each day, and that's pretty surprising. O'Neal's book have always been pretty quick reads for me--I typically finish them in less than two days if I'm not as interested or in the case of When We Believed in Mermaids in three hours, and I didn't even love that book.

The issue here is very little happens but it takes up lots of pages. A majority of what I've read so far is Olivia going through the options to save Ros
Susan Peterson
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Art of Inheriting Secrets captivated me from the very first page and kept me turning pages far into the night! Imagine losing your mother, and while in the depths of grief you discover a past that she kept hidden your whole life...a past that includes a crumbling estate in England and the title and challenges that come with it. The mysteries that the house is hiding, the secrets that it holds, kept me in suspense until the end. But what captivated me even more than the suspense, were the ris ...more
Rekha Chithrampatt
The title was what intrigued me to purchase this book. It started off with a promise of mystery, however I soon found myself focused on the writing structure and how it seemed like the author was trying too hard. Like a child searching for synonyms to use in a school assignment, I found that there was no flow to sentences and this created a break in the story that, to me, was difficult to overlook. There was also not much mystery, the "hunt" for answers seemed halfhearted, the revelations underw ...more
Anna Bowling
I now have a new favorite Barbara O'Neal novel, and dibs on Samir as my book manfriend. More comprehensive review coming soon, but if you like compelling wonen's fiction, with a strong sense of history, a mystery for the ages, and gorgeous descriptions of food, an ages-old estate, and a heroine who finds love, romantic and otherwise, where she least expects it, get this book. ...more
Patricia Sands
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
O’Neal’s clever title begins an intriguing journey for readers that unfolds layer by surprising layer. Her respected masterful storytelling blends mystery, art, romance, and mayhem in a quaint English village and breathtaking countryside. Brilliant!
Kay (aka) Miss Bates
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I both dreaded and looked forward to Barbara O’Neal’s The Art Of Inheriting Secrets, dreaded because I dislike women’s fiction and looked forward to because the blurb offered gothic potential. In the end, the novel’s gothic and romance portions outweighed the women’s fic. I was one contentedly satiated reader at pages’ end. Be warned, there’s also first-person narration, but the narrator is engaging, funny, self-deprecating, intelligent, and as the hero notes, looks like Kate Winslet (I adore Wi ...more
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I just loved this book. I teared up from happiness at the very end - a first for me.

This is a little slow but don't be deterred. It's just a little slow. And there's plenty to keep you occupied along the way to the end. It's a mystery but also a kind of an older (late thirties) coming of age story. It's about over coming the grief of losing a loved one. It's about finding love in unexpected circumstances. It's about family history and responsibilities. It's about building friendships. No aspect
I felt let down by the time I finished this book. It's a beautifully told story that kind of collapses and fizzles at the end, which I felt was rushed and not very satisfying. There's this big buildup to a big secret, but the revelation of the secret itself isn't very well developed and I didn't feel it lived up to the hype. I finished it and felt... unfinished and unfulfilled.

I also felt there were loose ends left and story lines that just kind of... trailed off and disappeared. The book is ful
I've read several of Barbara O'Neal's books recently, this one is my least favorite. There's a lot thrown at Olivia, on top of losing her mother and a beloved pet, and I think it was just too much drama for one book.

The setting was lovely, I loved the restoration parts, and Olivia's relationship with Samir and Pavi. But there seemed to be one drama after another, not all of them believable, and not all of them got resolved at the end. The ending was very rushed, like the author was told she only
Literary Redhead
Barbara O’Neal has written a gorgeous novel focusing on a woman’s emotional awakening under difficult circumstances. This time set in a quaint English village with a crumbling centuries-old estate. 5/5 for a compelling story line, warm characterizations and a setting you’ll want to inhabit forever.

Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the review copy.

#TheArtOfInheritingSecrets #NetGalley
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Easily my favorite book of the year, this book is full of everything I adore about reading. The pages were filled with a fabulous story, peopled by characters I came to care about so much and set in an England I want to live in.

The setting came alive under the authors pen, I can still see Rosemere Priory rising up from the green earth, covered in ivy and overlooking the little town below. The characters were some of my very favorite ever written, Olivia and Samir were gorgeous together and their
Joann 'bartunek' prashek
I listened to the book and so glad I did. Loved the British accents. Will definitely read or listen to more of the author's books. ...more
Jul 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
About halfway through the novel, I thought to myself, "This is a romance novel and I do not like romance novels." Notice I was halfway through the book when I made this discovery. I can also share that I stayed up all night and finished this book around four o'clock in the morning.

Apparently I might need to rethink my bias.

The Art of Inheriting Secrets may include some romance but it also contains LOTS of food (which is why I originally picked up the novel). (You can check out all the food and a
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: charming, 2020
The description of this one didn't sell me but after reading a different book by O'Neal at the beginning of the year I gave it a go. Much like when I decided to read 'When We Belived in Mermaids' I did not expect to like this let alone love it.

The characters could have a little more dimension but are still relatable. Many layers to this story. Some happy, some sad, complex and real. There are a few elements that deserved more explanation which made the ending feel a bit rushed.

Some of the sexu
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Barbara O'Neal is the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling writer of women's fiction. She lives in Colorado with her partner, a British endurance athlete.


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