Monday, April 30, 2012

Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann B. Ross

     Julia Springer may not be the best feminist or the most socially conscious person, but she's doing alright considering the sheltered life she has led up to this point.  She never had to make many decisions - her husband, Wesley Lloyd, made sure of that - but with him recently dead and buried, Miss Julia is left to fend for herself.  Well, sort of.  As it turns out, Wesley Lloyd was a stingy, but incredibly wealthy man, and Julia is the sole beneficiary of his estate.  So with a newfound financial freedom, Julia and her maid/confidant, Lillian, are enjoying being able to finally relax.

   But soon enough, it seems like everybody in their small, southern town wants a piece of Julia's inheritance - especially the church.  And to further complicate matters, it seems that Mr. Springer was not such a faithful, loyal husband.  Julia finds this out when his mistress appears at the doorstep with Mr. Springer's illegitimate son in tow.  Wesley Lloyd Jr may be a skinny, 9 year-old child with a pale complexion and a nervous demeanor, but his arrival sets off a whole chain of events that Julia Springer was never prepared for.  But as any self-confident, determined southern woman would do, Miss Julia learns how to face her problems and takes care of business!

     Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind is a light, but entertaining read.  Julia may have once been sheltered and naive, but she quickly breaks out of her shell and emerges as a proud, sassy southern woman.  It's easy to sympathize with Julia and her small, personal triumphs, and we soon see that she is more courageous than anyone knew she could be.  Well, she never had the opportunity before, but now things have fundamentally changed for Julia, and with her newly-discovered bravery and a few very supportive friends, Miss Julia really does find her voice and speaks her mind.

     Ok, so this novel may be a little melodramatic at times, but Miss Julia's story is delightful and heartwarming, nonetheless.  With southern charm and a fast-paced plot, Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind evolved into an ongoing "Miss Julia" series, of which there are now 13 books in the collection.  The prose may not be poetic or groundbreaking, but as Ann B. Ross has said, she just wanted to tell a good, entertaining story, and that's exactly what she did.

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