You know that feeling when you’ve read all by a favorite author, and you’re craving more? I’m that way about many authors, but lately I’ve been craving more books by Barbara O’Neal. Her books, like Sarah Addison Allen’s books, are great reads when one needs to heal. When I’m down and need to see the good in the world, I turn to these books. O’Neal writes about deep issues that can bring a tear to my eye (OK, sometimes I sob), but she manages to still give the book a lighthearted feeling. She also offers closure at the end of each book, and although I sometimes find that an open-ended book is necessary and even better than closure, I appreciate closure at times as well. I previously wrote a post on O’Neal and how I re-read all of her books last fall. Recently, I’ve needed more, though. She’s just not churning them out fast enough.
That’s when I discovered Barbara Samuel. Samuel and O’Neal are one in the same! (Readers, if you ever find out that Jim Butcher is also writing under another name, you must share. I have a major crush on his writer brain. Ugh, now I sound like a fangirl zombie.) I happened upon this tidbit of information when I was using my Google-Fu, and lo and behold there are a whole lot of books for me to read now. Unfortunately, Samuel is more of a romance novelist than O’Neal is, and I’ve never been much of a romance fan. Yes, I like romance within my books. All you need is love, right? However, when that’s the sole premise of the books and it’s full of throbbing members (that’s what she said), I tend to lose interest quicker than a virgin having sex.
However, there are some noteworthy books by Samuel in the same vein as O’Neal’s The Secret of Everything, The Lost Recipe for Happiness, The Garden of Happy Endings (not solely a romance novel, I swear!), How to Bake a Perfect Life, and The All You Can Dream Buffet. If you liked any or all of these, check out Barbara Samuel’s A Piece of Heaven, No Place Like Home, Lady Luck’s Map of Vegas, The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue, and The Scent of Hours (which may also be published under the name Madame Mirabou’s School of Love). All of these appear to have been republished under the name of Barbara O’Neal, but you should be able to find them under Barbara Samuel as well. I’ve only read two of these novels so far (No Place Like Home and A Piece of Heaven), but I’ve been pleased with the stories and have had my appetite for more Barbara O’Neal satiated for the time being. I also found that there’s a good chance these books are at the library, especially for the huge library system where I live, but like the O’Neal books, I may need to actually buy these so that I can re-read.
Anyone out there have any other authors they know of that write under a different name as well? I know Anne Rice writes, or at least used to write, under the name of Anne Rampling and A. N. Roquelaure. I know there are others out there, and I was well aware of this before discovering the O’Neal and Samuel connection. However, my interest has been newly sparked in this practice. Now I’m off to read more!