Friday, July 13, 2007
Review: Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind
Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann B. Ross
Summary: The story of Julia Springer, a proper Presbyterian wife in a small North Carolina town, who finds her true self after the sudden death of Wesley Lloyd, her husband of 44 years. It turns out that Wesley Lloyd was a millionaire and Julia never knew it - he didn't think women should have any knowledge of finance and he seemed to think he'd take it with him, anyway. Julia is just getting used to the role of rich widow (and finding it very much to her liking) when Hazel Marie Puckett appears on the front porch with a nine-year-old boy in tow who is the spitting image of Wesley Lloyd. Hazel Marie is on her way to beauty school in Raleigh and since Wesley Lloyd left her nothing, she decides to leave Junior with Miss Julia. Meanwhile, Miss Julia's fortune has attracted a variety of opportunists, particularly Pastor Ledbetter, who insinuates that her departed husband planned to leave his money to the church and then goes on a campaign to have Miss Julia declared incompetent. In the end, Miss Julia comes into her self marvelously, after years of being told what to think by her husband and her church.
Why'd I pick it up? I had about the newest one in the series in a review journal and it indicated it was a popular series and it sounded good, so I added it to by TBR list. And then along came the Southern Reading Challenge, so it was a perfect time to read it!
Favourite quote: Miss Julia makes so many wry observations, it's hard to pick one. But one that sticks in my mind is this one about the slimy Brother Vern, as he sits down, "his thighs bulging like hams. I don't normally notice such intimate details of a man, but polyester makes for a snug fit."
Overall: It was absolutely not what I expected. I was thinking it was either going to be a Murder, She Wrote type of mystery or the story of a small town busybody. It was much, much better!
I don't want to give too much away - there are lots of twists and turns and people popping up. The supporting characters are very well-done and colourful. Julia's black maid, Lillian, is a very wise friend (though, as one review mentioned, she talks like someone out of Gone With the Wind), the polyester-clad Brother Vern is every inch the oily televangelist, and Pastor Ledbetter is so insincere while trying to be caring I wanted to slap him. The ending is a happy, if unconventional one, and I look forward to reading more of Miss Julia's adventures.