Review: The Art of Inheriting Secrets by Barbara O’Neal

38093951When 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.

One glance at the breathtaking Rosemere Priory and Olivia understands why the manor, magnificent even in disrepair, was the subject of her mother’s exquisite paintings. What she doesn’t understand is why her mother never mentioned it to her. As Olivia begins digging into her mother’s past, she discovers that the peeling wallpaper, debris-laden halls, and ceiling-high Elizabethan windows covered in lush green vines hide unimaginable secrets.

Although personal problems and her life back home beckon, Olivia finds herself falling for the charming English village and its residents. But before she can decide what Rosemere’s and her own future hold, Olivia must first untangle the secrets of her past.

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: NetGalley and Audible          My Rating: 5/5 stars

It is so nice to be able to end the book reading year on such a high note!  I kept shuffling this title around on my TBR list and now that I have listened to the book, I am so mad at myself for waiting so long to read this magic!

I listened to this book in a single day (yes, my ears hurt!) and regret nothing.  I couldn’t stop listening to this story and simply had to know how the whole mess would turn out in the end.  From the opening lines to the very end, I was totally absorbed in the mystery of Rosemere Priory, Olivia’s past, and the tragic history of the Shaw family. 

In the span of just a few weeks, Olivia Shaw loses her beloved mother and discovers she has not only inherited land and a home in England, but also a lofty title.  With nothing to do but pack her bags and head to England, Olivia dives into a completely overwhelming situation that takes her through history, challenges her world view, and forces her to make some very difficult decisions about her future and the future of Rosemere.  As it turns out, Olivia isn’t alone in her tasks.  With the help of a wonderful Indian family who also have strong ties to Rosemere, an aging yet wonderfully generous Earl, and a local baker with a long memory, Olivia has a host of helpers willing to listen, aid, and simply act as her champions.

As Olivia begins to dig through the history of her ancestral home, she uncovers some startling truths with the ability to destroy lives, right ancient wrongs, and answer questions she never even knew she should be asking.  Her family’s history is tangled and twisted, but Olivia is determined she will not repeat history, nor will she become as so many of the Shaw’s before her became.  Olivia is dedicated to Rosemere, to a future in England as a countess, and to revitalizing the entire area and making Rosemere something it hasn’t been in centuries, a place of joy and happiness. 

Unfortunately, Olivia’s path isn’t at all an easy or inexpensive one and there are those who would be better served if Olivia just sold the land and trotted right off back to her old life in San Francisco.  In fact, those with an interest in her land and title are willing to go to extraordinary lengths to ensure she has no reason to stay, no reason to uncover the secrets of the past, and certainly no reason to restore and revitalize the area.  Dark and twisted plans are afoot, and Olivia finds herself in a whole world of hurt far sooner than she ever anticipated.  Her HEA is going to take monumental effort.

The Bottom Line:  The Art of Inheriting Secrets is one of my favorite tropes, the past meets the present!  I don’t think it would have mattered if I had physically read or listened to this book, I was going to love it.  Olivia is such a strong and resilient character and it was very easy for me to like her and champion her cause.  At every turn, Olivia is confronted by some new fresh hell, but is able to manage it all through patience, loads of question asking, a strong will, and with the support of her new friends.  The uncovering of the past and how it so dramatically impacts the present very much kept me engaged and involved in the story.  Everything is perfectly woven together, nothing is out of place, and it is all laced together with wonderful descriptions and imagery.  Oh, and there’s ALL the food 😊  I am so pleased with this book and find myself wanting to sing its praises far and wide.  One-click this one, dear reader!  You’ll thank me for it later 😊

Goodreads | Amazon | Paperback | Audible

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