From Publishers Weekly
The Rita Award–winning author (as Barbara Samuel) of The Lost Recipe for Happiness returns with the absorbing story of Ramona Gallagher, a 40-year-old woman whose joy in running a bakery in Colorado Springs helps her transcend a life that's anything but perfect. Ramona has a prickly relationship with her large, restaurant-owning family and a deep love for her daughter, Sofia, who Ramona had as a teenager and is now grown and pregnant. When Sofia's husband is injured in Afghanistan and she flies to Germany to be with him, Ramona is left to care for Sofia's 13-year-old stepdaughter, Katie, a scrawny child whose drug-addicted mother is in jail. Over the summer, Ramona struggles to keep her business afloat and find some solid footing with her family, bonds with Katie, aches for what her daughter is enduring, and rekindles a romance from 25 years earlier. O'Neal's tale of strong-willed women and torn family loyalties is a cut above the standard women's fiction fare, held together by lovingly sketched characters and real emotion. (Dec.)
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Ramona Gallagher does not do well with her family. Born into a long line of restaurant owners, shipped off to the country when 15 and pregnant, and skipped over for promotion in favor of her ex during an acrimonious divorce, she broke away from her family and opened her own bakery. She now leads a quiet life while residing with her pregnant daughter, Sofia, whose husband is stationed in Iraq. When Sofia receives a call that her husband has been injured, she flies to his side, leaving Ramona to take care of Sofia’s stepdaughter, Katie. Katie, 13, has had a rough life with her drug-addicted mother while her father is overseas, and Ramona, out of practice and remembering her own mother, tries her best to deal with the prickly teen. Under Ramona’s care, Katie slowly blossoms until another tragedy threatens to permanently ruin them all. O’Neal’s third novel is, like its predecessors (The Lost Recipe for Happiness, 2008; The Secret of Everything, 2010), a dramatic, emotional story with honest characters and a warm heart at its center. --Hilary Hatton