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Miss Julia Delivers the Goods: A Novel Hardcover – April 16, 2009
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Miss Julia agrees with her husband. "Well, I'm not either, and, as you know, I rarely do it. It's only when I'm absolutely sure of what's best that I dare to step in. But this is surely just such an occasion." (pp. 58-59)
As we avid readers know, this will not be the first time -- nor, we suspect, will it be the last -- that Julia Springer Murdoch has taken charge of a situation and has run it her very own way. This feisty Southern senior has seen her share of unusual circumstances. And somehow she manages to survive them all and even maintain a certain amount of dignity and composure in front of the others residents of her conservative North Carolina community. What other woman would make a place in her home for her dead husband's mistress and her illegitimate son?
In this installment, the majority of the plotline centers on Hazel Marie's latest problem. I won't reveal what specific challenges it represents. As usual, Miss Julia does what she believes in her heart to be the right and moral thing to do. What other option is there? Hazel Marie will just have to come around to her way of thinking, that's all.
In the meantime, Julia's second husband Sam is still working on researching the legal history of Abbot County. As a retired lawyer, he's the best person to write a book on the subject. But in the midst of Hazel Marie's dilemma, Sam's home is trashed and vital pieces of information are stolen. Does someone want to stop Sam from publishing the truth about a decades-old case? Or was the break-in merely a coincidence? Miss Julia steps in to help Sam and J.D. Pickens with their impromptu investigation, giving an air of mystery and down-home intrigue to the story. And as usual, Julia's housekeeper Lillian is a willing accomplice in the pseudo-adventures.
Since these novels are always written in first person, we readers are always privy to Miss Julia's perspective, assumptions, and thought processes. If we were in Abbotsville ourselves, we could warn her or even the people around her of consequences to actions taken. But we can't; we're only distant bystanders. And that's part of the fun of it. "Miss Julia Delivers the Goods" is another wonderful episode in the series, with both head-shaking and laugh-out-loud moments. Newcomers need not have read the previous books to get a kick out of this one. But it's a given that they'll want to catch up on the rest, afterward.
You could argue that nothing much happens in this book ...and I'd pretty much agree with you. The enjoyment for me comes from spending time with these wonderful characters that have begun to feel like old friends after so many years. Miss Julia and Lillian have such witty and fun dialogue; their scenes together just come alive. I love fictional Abbotsville with its Southern small town idiosyncrasies and regional charm. Most of all, I really appreciate the overall "feel" of this book - warm and uplifting. Predictable in the best possible way. Yep, I consider this my literary Zoloft - mood lifting with the added benefit of no unwanted side effects!
To really appreciate the characters in this series I think you need to start at the beginning with "Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind". It is a joy to watch these characters grow and evolve from book to book. Highly recommended for those who enjoy Southern fiction (on the lighter side) with just a hint of a cozy-type mystery tossed in.
Swearing? Sexual content? Not on Miss Julia's watch - why, what would the neighbors think?