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Miss Julia Renews Her Vows: A Novel Paperback – Bargain Price, March 29, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews
Book 11 of 17 in the Miss Julia Series

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Paperback, Bargain Price, March 29, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Southern flower Miss Julia re-materializes in her droll 11th adventure, and this time out, the busybody is as busy as ever: she wraps up some business from Miss Julia Delivers the Goods by making sure thrice married rogue Mr. Pickens settles down with Hazel Marie, who is pregnant with their twins. She also contends with the return of rival doyenne Francie Pitts and puts on her detective hat to clear the name of her friend and hired help, Etta Mae Wiggins, who's accused of burglary and assaulting Francie. Meanwhile, Sam, Julia's long-suffering husband, has the audacity to suggest marriage counseling. Worse, the shrink is a man from her past—Dr. Fred Fowler, a Christian psychologist with thirty years of experience in rekindling the flame of Christ-like love in limping marriages. Can feigning the flu save her from a confrontation and, gasp, rekindle their passion? And does Francie have designs on Sam? Ross answers these questions in trademark tart fashion. Series fans will have a ball, but those unfamiliar should definitely start with an earlier volume. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

It’s hard to say which is the bigger news—that Hazel Marie Puckett has finally wed Mr. Pickens, the father of her twins, or that the oft-married Francie Pitts is back in town and living at the new Mountain Villas retirement complex. Abbotsville, North Carolina’s irrepressible Miss Julia springs into action when Francie accuses Etta Mae Wiggins of hitting her over the head and stealing a bangle bracelet. Also back in town is Christian psychologist Fred Fowler. He was the perpetrator of an embarassing incident in the church parlor when Miss Julia was newly widowed, and now she will do anything, including pretending to be ill, to avoid having to attend Dr. Fowler’s marriage-enrichment classes with her second husband, Sam. (And why is Sam so interested in the classes, anyway?) The good news is that most of the familiar characters and elements from the Miss Julia series are here. This entry is less buoyant than some others in the series, however, and the plot never builds up much steam. Expect demand from fans nonetheless. --Mary Ellen Quinn --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (March 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143118560
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143118565
  • ASIN: B005K5GAUE
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #972,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ann is the mother of two daughters and one son, and the grandmother of four grandsons (including twin boys) and two granddaughters, both of whom are her namesakes. When her children were in college, she decided to complete her own education, enrolling in the University of North Carolina at Asheville where she earned a Bachelor's degree in Literature. Reluctant to return to an empty nest, she continued her education by enrolling in the English Department of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned both the Master's and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Afterwards, she taught Literature and the Humanities at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

Ann's writing career began in the early eighties when two mysteries were published as original paperbacks: THE MURDER CURE and THE MURDER STROKE. A few years later, her first hardcover book was published: THE PILGRIMAGE, an adventure story set in the nineteenth century. All three books are now out of print, but occasionally a used copy of THE PILGRIMAGE appears on Amazon.com for sale.

The publication of the first Miss Julia book, MISS JULIA SPEAKS HER MIND in 1999, set Ann on a full-time writing career. This book went through six reprintings in less than a year, and was ranked #9 on the Independent Booksellers' seventy-six most highly recommended books for 1999. In addition, the book was named to the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers list. The paperback edition of the same book was listed in The Best Books of the First Five Years by BookSense, as one of the titles independent booksellers most enjoyed handselling. The book was also published by Readers Digest Condensed Books, appearing in twelve foreign languages.

MISS JULIA TAKES OVER was one of seven nominees for the Book of the Year Award (2001) by the Southeastern Booksellers Association.

All of the books in the series are available on audiotape and in large-print editions, and are also available through The Literary Guild/Doubleday Book Club. All of the books, except the newest one each year, can be found in paperback editions.


All of the books in the series will be published in German, Japanese, and Croatian editions, as well as on audiotape (in English) and in large print editions.

Inspiration for the escapades of Ann's much-loved character, Miss Julia, comes in all manner of ways -- a chance remark by a friend or family member, an incident she happens to see, in a dream, or by being reminded of something in her past experiences. It is always deeply satisfying to her when scenes in the book she is working on suddenly seem to fit together to make a good story. She does not outline or make detailed plans before starting a story. She does, however, have a general plot in mind before beginning to write, but this usually entails only the conflict and the final resolution, with few ideas of how they will be worked out. So, with just the beginning and the end of a book decided on, Ann relies on the characters themselves to fill in the middle with first one subplot after another. This, she says, is the joy of writing -- when a character suddenly does or says something unexpectedly, leading her to funny and surprising 'mini-scenes' that seem to delight readers.

Ann was once asked by an interviewer how she knew when something she'd written was good. She replied, "I know it's good when I fall off my chair laughing." From that response, we can be sure that she enjoys writing about her characters as much as we enjoy reading about them.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If it's spring, it usually time for another "Miss Julia" book and I look forward to it every year. Eleventh in the series, "Miss Julia Renews Her Vows" has us catching up with all our old friends from previous books and getting to find out what Miss Julia is up to this year.

Carrying over from the last book, Hazel Marie is pregnant with twins and Mr. Pickens is finally making an honest woman of her in the opening scenes as they head off to a quick marriage ceremony. As with everything in these funny books, it may be quick but it isn't easy ! Multiple story lines diverge from there as Etta Mae takes a front and center role this time out and our usual cast of characters including Sam, LuAnne and others get caught up in the mystery that runs throughout the novel.

As with all the Miss Julia books, they are not action-packed and fast moving, but boy are they fun ! This one is no exception and for fans of the series, I don't think you will be disappointed. To truly appreciate these, it would be helpful to go back and start at the beginning, working your way through the series. While it could stand alone, this book is at its best with the background knowledge of the others. One thing I really would like to complement the author for - Miss Julia has actually grown as a character over the years and while retaining her wonderful quirkiness, she has actually changed fairly considerably from the stiff, unbending character we met in "Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind". It would have been so easy to take what worked and keep it the same, but Ms. Ross has done an excellent job with this character and I am so grateful as it has helped to keep my interest over the years.

Overall - a fun, enjoyable read that is a great way to spend a quiet afternoon.
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Format: Hardcover
Ann Ross has done it again. Lots of writers who continue with a series lose their touch after the fifth or sixth book, but Ann Ross just keeps getting better and better.
This book finds Miss Julia happy that J.D. Pickens has finally made an honest woman out of Hazel Marie and Miss Julia is ready to relax for a change. But no, no, that's not about to happy. Sam informs her that Pastor Ledbetter has scheduled a series of classes on marriage enrichment and he wants him and Julia to attend as sort of mentors. Julia gets it into her head that Sam is unhappy and is looking for way to enrich their own marriage. She then starts trying to figure out what she is doing wrong. She and Sam go to church on Sunday and the pastor introduces the man who is going to conduct the seminar, Dr. Fred Fowler. Oh no, he's the one who got Miss Julia in the bridal parlor all those years ago and she forgot herself. So, Miss Julia starts trying to figure out a way to get out of those classes and that's when the fun begins.
Then, another problem turns up: Etta Mae Wiggins gets accused of assault and robbery and of course, Miss Julia has to investigate and prove Etta Mae innocent.
This book is so uproariously funny, you will laugh out loud. I'm in my fifties and I don't have the energy she does to keep on doing the things she does.
Do not miss this book. Miss Julia is a trip of the best kind.
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Format: Hardcover
This latest entry opens with Miss Julia breathing a sigh of relief over the hurried nuptials of Hazel Marie and J. D. Pickens. But there's no rest for the weary and in typical Miss Julia fashion she finds herself coming to the defense of Etta Mae Wiggins when the hard working home health aide is accused of assaulting and stealing from a client. As if that wasn't enough, some unpleasant memories are resurrected in the form of one "Doctor" Fred Fowler, who slithers in to Abbotsville hawking his own brand of marriage counseling.

The author clearly has a deep fondness for these characters and as a reader I'm touched by that. Miss Julia's narrative is brimming with her sharp wit and her uncanny ability to spot the ridiculous in situations (as well as people) is often very, very funny.

I may be a big fan, but I'm not totally blind to some of the book's shortcomings. There was way too much time spent fretting over whether or not people will put two and two together and come up with the fact that Hazel Marie was already pregnant when she got married. Unless they've slept through Health class (and Math!) people aren't going to be fooled no matter what convoluted story is concocted. As for the whole debacle surrounding Julia's "past" with Fred Fowler...tsk, tsk, Julia - give Sam more credit than that!

Despite a few hiccups in the plot this was a warm, humorous and entertaining read. I enjoyed the familiar feel of these characters and the world they inhabit.

This is the eleventh entry in a series that is best read in order. I'd recommend starting with the first book, "Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind".

There is no sexual content or swearing; Miss Julia simply wouldn't hear of it!
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Format: Hardcover
Now that she has FINALLY gotten Hazel Marie to walk down the aisle (such as it was) with Mr. J.D. Pickens, maybe Julia Springer Murdoch will actually have a chance to take it easy for a while. But no, that's not the way her life goes. Most senior citizens wouldn't be able to keep up with the pace this woman sets. Heaven knows what kind of calamities would descend upon the residents of Abbotsville, North Carolina, if Miss Julia didn't intervene.

As usual, Julia immediately finds herself dealing with various predicaments. Some of them are real; and some are imagined, but are nevertheless very real to her. The Presbyterian church across the street is sponsoring "marriage enrichment" counseling sessions, designed to put the passion back into stale relationships. And Julia's husband Sam wants them both to attend! Is something wrong with their marriage that he's not revealing? How can she get out of going to these silly (not to mention inappropriate) sessions? And can she ever confess to him the real reason she doesn't want to go?

At the same time, Julia's friend Etta Mae Wiggins finds herself wanted by the police. She's a suspect in a somewhat dubious assault case. Can Julia rescue Etta Mae and find out who REALLY bopped Francie Pitts Delacorte on the noggin? It seems the local police force is always in need of assistance in these matters.

It's fun to once again connect with Miss Julia and her extended family, including Lillian and little Lloyd. This time Julia finds out that a person can only pretend to be sick so long, before other people start treating her as if she's an invalid. And lurking in the background is her very real worry that Hazel Mae and J.D. may not have what it takes to make their own marriage work.
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