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In a novel as warm and embracing as a family kitchen, Barbara O’Neal explores the poignant, sometimes complex relationships between mothers and daughters—and the healing magic of homemade bread. Professional baker Ramona Gallagher is a master of an art that has sustained her through the most turbulent times, including a baby at fifteen and an endless family feud. But now Ramona’s bakery threatens to crumble around her. Literally. She’s one water-heater disaster away from losing her grandmother’s rambling Victorian and everything she’s worked so hard to build. When Ramona’s soldier son-in-law is wounded in Afghanistan, her daughter, Sophia, races overseas to be at his side, leaving Ramona as the only suitable guardian for Sophia’s thirteen-year-old stepdaughter, Katie. Heartbroken, Katie feels that she’s being dumped again—this time on the doorstep of a woman out of practice with mothering. Ramona relies upon a special set of tools—patience, persistence, and the reliability of a good recipe—when rebellious Katie arrives. And as she relives her own history of difficult choices, Ramona shares her love of baking with the troubled girl. Slowly, Katie begins to find self-acceptance and a place to call home. And when a man from her past returns to offer a second chance at love, Ramona discovers that even the best recipe tastes better when you add time, care, and a few secret ingredients of your own. BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Barbara O'Neal's The All You Can Dream Buffet.
Lady Lucks Map of Vegas (Originally published as Barbara Samuel) RITA AWARD winner A successful Web designer, forty-year-old India has a fabulously hip life in Denver and a sexy Irish lover in New York who jets out to see her on bi-weekly visits. The long-distance romance suits India just fine: Though Jack is the only man who has ever made India feel truly alive, she doesn't want things to get too serious. But then her father passes away, and India must honor the promise she made to him: to look after her mother when he's gone. Suddenly India finds herself back in Colorado Springs with the woman who both intrigues and infuriates her. Eldora is sixty something and exquisitely gorgeous, but her larger-than-life personality can suck the air out of a room. True to form, Eldora throws India a curveball, insisting that they hit the road to look for India's twin, Gypsy, a brilliant artist who lives a vagabond's existence in the remote mountain towns of New Mexico. It looks like India can't avoid her mother's intensity any longer, especially after she discovers stunning secrets from Eldora's past. Thirty years ago, Eldora regaled her twin girls with glamorous stories about her days as a Las Vegas showgirl_ stories of martinis and music at the Sahara, back when Frank and Sammy ruled the town. But the story of how she really ended up in Sin City, and the unsavory life she'd run from with her daughters in tow, is full of details she's never seen fit to share_until now. As mother and daughter sail down Route 66, the very road Eldora drove those many years ago, looking for Gypsy, while passing motels, diners, and souvenir shops, Eldora must relive a lifetime of memories that have tormented her before she can put them to rest once and for all. . . . Award-winning author Barbara Samuel brings us a heartfelt story of second chances and unexpected detours. As two women come to terms with themselves and each other, the past unravels and the future spreads out before them like the open road.
The Goddesses of Kitchen Ave (Originally published by Barbara Samuel) Trudy Marino never expected her life to turn out perfectly. But at forty-six, she was content with what she did have: her caring husband Rick . . . twenty-plus happy years raising three accomplished kids . . . and a lovely house in the artistic, vibrantly diverse town of Pueblo, New Mexico. But a heartbreaking discovery and a suddenly shattered marriage now has Trudy looking back on the choices she didn't make --and where she might go from here. Struggling to pick up the pieces, Trudy finds support from a quirky, eclectic group of friends and neighbors --her goddesses of Kitchen Avenue --all of whom are trying in their own unique ways to navigate life's little surprises. There's Jade, a fiery social worker who's finding unexpected strength to deal with her "player" ex-husband, thanks to a most unorthodox passion; Jade's grandmother, Roberta, who has just lost her husband of sixty-two years --and through memory and piercing grief wonders what to do with the rest of her life; Shannelle, Trudy's young neighbor and an aspiring writer, determined to realize her talent despite formidable obstacles . . . including the husband who's afraid her success will be his loss; and Angel, a young, quietly-knowing photographer who makes Trudy uncover a sensuality she never knew --even as he tries to get over the one love he can never really forget. As Trudy faces her future, she discovers that figuring out what to let go and what to keep is just as difficult as moving on. As she weighs what she and Rick still share against new possibilities, she'll surprise everyone -- including herself --as she tries to reconcile the best of both. From an acclaimed voice in fiction, this is a wry, beguiling, heartfelt, and warmly wise novel about second chances, unexpected choices, and the dreams that we all hunger to fulfill.
The Scent of Hours (Originally published as Madame Mirabou's School of Love, by Barbara Samuel) Sometimes real passion means living the life you've always wanted. Nicole Bridges still can't believe she's taken up residence in a Colorado apartment complex nicknamed "Splitsville." She's still reeling from her husband's affair, a divorce she never saw coming, and having to leave the upscale, comfortable world she helped make for her ex and their teenage daughter. With little money, even less work experience, and no idea what to do next, she takes tentative steps_if only to keep her head above water. Along the way, Nikki unexpectedly finds herself falling in with eccentric new neighbors_and being seduced out of her funk by a charming, elusive ex-Londoner. And through her delight in the sensual elements of perfume, she will discover the courage to form bonds she never imagined. When a discarded flyer printed with the name "Madame Mirabou" provides the spark of inspiration, Nikki dares to blend the fragments of her life into a fragrance that's uniquely and passionately her own.
A Piece of Heaven (Originally published as Barbara Samuel) With her acclaimed hardcover debut, No Place Like Home,readers enthusiastically welcomed Barbara Samuel into the ranks of bestselling women's fiction, applauding her stirring novel of loss and redemption. In A Piece of Heaven, she shares another poignant tale rich in atmosphere and insight that explores the complexity of relationships, the importance of family, and the healing power of love. In the sun-baked hills of New Mexico, Luna McGraw has lived a lifetime of regrets, struggling to conquer the demons that destroyed her marriage and caused her to lose custody of her beloved daughter. But as Luna fights to rebuild a relationship with the troubled teenager, she remains haunted by images of her own childhood and the father she barely knew. Strong and resilient as the houses he builds, Thomas Coyote comes into Luna's life one extraordinary night when his grandmother nearly dies while conjuring a fiery brew of spiritual enchantment. Luna does not need a man -- especially one with a needy ex-wife --to complicate her fragile dreams of the future. Their attraction pushes them both beyond reason into a place where there is only possibility. Yet it will take more than passion to recover the tattered pieces of Luna's soul, more than time to forgive the sins of an offending husband, and more than promises to mend the broken heart of a child. A Piece of Heaven is an irresistible novel full of colorful characters and lush settings spiced with the magical flavors of the Southwest, a brilliant tapestry of romance and realism by a master storyteller.
No Place Like Home (Originally published as Barbara Samuel) RITA AWARD winner Sometimes a wrong turn is the only way home. . . . No Place Like Home tells the unforgettable story of a family bound together by tradition_and the emotional journey of an estranged daughter risking everything for a second chance at life and love. Twenty-one years ago Jewel Sabatino left her childhood behind and never looked back. After a magical taste of fame, she found herself alone with a son to raise and not much else. She survived with the help of Michael, her one true friend. But now Michael is too sick to care for himself, and Jewel has run out of options. She leaves New York for the hills of Colorado, unsure if the family she ran from will welcome her back. For Jewel, coming home is falling back into a world that smells of Italian restaurants and home-baked pies. It is the laughter of sisters preparing for a summer wedding, and the peaceful haven for a treasured soul mate's last days. It also means facing the unforgiving eyes of a father betrayed by his favorite child_and letting go of a son who is ready to become a man. But most of all, it is the love she discovers in her own wary heart when Michael's brother Malachi unexpectedly arrives on her doorstep. Told with breathtaking insight and deep emotion, No Place Like Home is a joyful feast for all the senses, a vibrant bounty of love, and a tender life lesson to be savored long after the last page is turned.
Perfect for fans of Kristin Hannah and Susan Wiggs—Barbara O’Neal’s new novel of food, friendship, and the freedom to grow your dreams brings together four very different women longing to savor the true taste of happiness. Popular blogger and foodie queen Lavender Wills reigns over Lavender Honey Farms, a serene slice of organic heaven nestled in Oregon wine country. Lavender is determined to keep her legacy from falling into the profit-driven hands of uncaring relatives, and she wants an heir to sustain her life’s work after she’s gone. So she invites her three closest online friends—fellow food bloggers, women of varied ages and backgrounds—out to her farm. She hopes to choose one of them to inherit it—but who? There’s Ginny, the freckle-faced Kansas cake baker whose online writing is about to lead her out of a broken marriage and into a world of sensual delights. And Ruby, young, pregnant, devoted to the organic movement, who’s looking for roots—and the perfect recipe to heal a shattered heart. Finally, Val, smart and sophisticated, a wine enthusiast who needs a fresh start for her teenage daughter after tragedy has rocked their lives. Coming together will change the Foodie Four in ways they could never have imagined, uniting them in love and a common purpose. As they realize that life doesn’t always offer a perfect recipe for happiness, they also discover that the moments worth savoring are flavored with some tears, a few surprises, and generous helping of joy. Praise for The All You Can Dream Buffet “Charming and genuine . . . Peppered with realistic details about organic farming, blogging, the Oregon landscape, and the very relatable sorrows and joys of being human, this is a sweetly engrossing read with which to curl up.”—Booklist “[A] feel-good story . . . [The All You Can Dream Buffet] rings all the right bells.”—Kirkus Reviews “A top-notch romance . . . [A] satisfying read is in store for all who pick up this book for a fun time and a foodie fling.”—BookPage “Highly relatable characters will draw readers in immediately. The ‘foodie’ background of the story is also fun and contains recipes and photos as well from the characters’ blogs.”—The Parkersburg News and Sentinel “O’Neal’s latest is a sweet tale of friendship and love. . . . The heartwarming novel will touch the soul and resonate long afterward.”—RT Book Reviews “Delicious . . . These thoroughly entertain with moving plotlines and rich character development. . . . I can’t recommend this beautifully written novel enough. It has a deep base of warmth, a cupful of humor, a generous dollop of romance, and a gentle dash of the other worldly. And I’ve found a new-to-me author to savor!”—Romance Reviews Today “The All You Can Dream Buffet is a charming tale of food, friendship, endings and new beginnings, and freedom from all that stops one from being true to oneself. If you’re in need of the comfort read, this is the one.”—BookLoons

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