The Garden of Happy Endings: A Novel

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From Barbara O’Neal, beloved author of How to Bake a Perfect Life and The Lost Recipe for Happiness, comes another magical, heartfelt novel—perfect for fans of Kristin Hannah and Susan Wiggs.
 
After tragedy shatters her small community in Seattle, the Reverend Elsa Montgomery has a crisis of faith. Returning to her hometown of Pueblo, Colorado, she seeks work in a local soup kitchen. Preparing nourishing meals for folks in need, she keeps her hands busy while her heart searches for understanding.
 
Meanwhile, her sister, Tamsin, as pretty and colorful as Elsa is unadorned and steadfast, finds her perfect life shattered when she learns that her financier husband is a criminal. Enduring shock and humiliation as her beautiful house and possessions are seized, the woman who had everything now has nothing but the clothes on her back.
 
But when the going gets tough, the tough get growing. A community garden in the poorest, roughest part of town becomes a lifeline. Creating a place of hope and sustenance opens Elsa and Tamsin to the renewing power of rich earth, sunshine, and the warm cleansing rain of tears. While Elsa finds her heart blooming in the care of a rugged landscaper, Tamsin discovers the joy of losing herself in the act of giving—and both women discover that with time and care, happy endings flourish.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Bantam
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Published on
Apr 17, 2012
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9780345534460
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Romance / Contemporary
Fiction / Sagas
Fiction / Women
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Mary and Ross were in Rome on a junior-year-abroad program when they had their baby, Natassia, who was conceived on a dare: “Do it with no birth control,” another couple had challenged. “We’ll do it if you do it . . .”

Mary and Ross are unmarried, ambitious, and way too young, and though smitten with their daughter, they eventually—and with regret—abdicate responsibility to Ross’s parents, who raise Natassia in the intellectually stimulating (and seemingly loving) atmosphere of their Manhattan apartment. Fifteen years later, 1989, Natassia is an Honors student and a violin player. Despite the absence of her mother, a world-class modern dancer who survives by living in the moment, and her father, a physician in the Pacific Northwest, Natassia is thriving—until her mysterious romance with a man she will not identify derails her so profoundly that her parents, grandparents, and even her godparents, Nora and Christopher, must come together to save her. A dancer, a doctor, two book editors, a painter and a psychotherapist—all are forced to turn away from and also draw upon the creative and intellectual endeavors that consume and define them. Struggling to buoy Natassia, her guardians sink along with her into the deepest darkness.

Mary, a Korean war orphan, must learn from step one how to provide the mother love she herself never received; indeed, the daughter's breakdown sparks the mother's coming-of-age. Ross, still in love with Mary after ten years’ separation, must face the consequences of his obsessions. And Nora and Christopher, burdened by a decades-old secret, use desperate measures to save Natassia—and their marriage.

Within the intimate universe of one unorthodox family, Falling in Love with Natassia explores the blurred lines between love that heals and sex that harms. These characters will shock you with how forcefully their hurt hearts demand restitution; they will mystify you with the paths they choose as they move toward recovery and redemption.
“Nancy Thayer is the queen of beach books.”—The Star-Ledger
 
In this captivating novel, New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer tells the wonderfully moving story of three women who forge a unique bond one sun-drenched summer on New England’s Dragonfly Lake. Thirty-year-old Morgan O’Keefe put her science career on hold to raise her young son. Though Morgan loves many things about staying home with her child, she feels restless and ready for a change. Struggling artist Natalie Reynolds, fed up with New York City’s hectic pace, moves to the Berkshires for a year to house-sit her aunt’s fabulous home on Dragonfly Lake, where a handsome neighbor becomes her unexpected rescuer. After her mother breaks her leg, Bella Barnaby quits her job in Austin and returns home to help out her large, boisterous family. While an attractive architect has designs on her, Bella harbors long held secret dreams of her own.
 
Summer on Dragonfly Lake is ripe for romance, temptation, and self-discovery as the paths of these three women unexpectedly intertwine. Summer Breeze illustrates how friends, old and new, can offer comfort, infuriate, or even open one’s eyes to the astonishing possibilities of life.
 
Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.
 
“Nancy Thayer has a deep and masterly understanding of love and friendship, of where the two complement and where they collide.”—Elin Hilderbrand
 
“An entertaining and lively read that is perfect for summer reading indulgence.”—Wichita Falls Times Record News
Few authors have understood the tender intricacies of relationships better than the incomparable Belva Plain. For three decades her deeply moving epics have captivated the hearts and imaginations of readers everywhere. Now, in her final novel, she comes full circle with the themes she took up in her very first work, Evergreen, bringing us this unforgettable story of family and friendship, love and marriage, the challenges of life and the true secret of happiness.

Though Iris Stern considers herself a modern woman, with a successful academic career and a happy marriage, she still holds steadfast to her old-fashioned sensibilities. But as the mother of three adult children, each with their own lives and burdens to bear, she often finds those sensibilities called into question when confronted with the choices her children have made.

For one of Iris’s daughters, it’s the choice of a fresh start in New York City—and a last chance to save her troubled marriage. While Laura and Robbie cope with an impending separation and its effect on Iris’s young granddaughter, Iris herself must come to grips with the discovery of a long-held family secret. But it’s an emotional parting of another kind that looms most prominently on Iris’s horizon—as neither her beloved husband, nor the solidity of her own marriage, is immune to the ravages of time.

Through separations and reunions, the changes we cannot avoid and the love that sustains, Iris will weather whatever lies ahead with a faith that cannot be shaken. Like the inmost rings of a tree that abide through the generations, she will be as strong as heartwood.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Danielle Steel follows a talented and creative woman as she launches her first television series, helping to recruit an unforgettable cast that will bring a dramatic family saga to the screen.

Kait Whittier has built her magazine column into a hugely respected read followed by fans across the country. She loves her work and adores her grown children, treasuring the time they spend together. But after two marriages, she prefers to avoid the complications and uncertainties of a new love.

Then, after a chance meeting with Zack Winter, a television producer visiting Manhattan from Los Angeles, everything changes. Inspired by the true story of her own indomitable grandmother, Kait creates the storyline for a TV series. And when she shares her work with Zack, he is impressed and decides to make this his next big-budget project.

Within weeks, Kait is plunged into a colorful world of actors and industry pros who will bring her vision to life. A cool, competent director. An eccentric young screenwriter. A world-famous actress coping with private tragedy. A reclusive grande dame from Hollywood’s Golden Age. A sizzling starlet whose ego outstrips her abilities. L.A.’s latest “bad boy” actor, whose affairs are setting the city on fire. An unknown ingénue with outsized talent. And a rugged, legendary leading man. As secrets are shared, the cast becomes a second family for Kait. But in the midst of this charmed year, she is suddenly forced to confront the greatest challenge a mother could ever know.

The strength of women—across generations and among friends, colleagues, and family—takes center stage in this irresistible novel, as all-too-real people find the courage to persevere in life’s drama of heartbreak and joy.
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.
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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