Miss Julia is one of my favorite characters, and southern fiction is one of my favorites genres. So when Viking/Penguin offered me a copy of Ann B. Ross' latest episode of Miss Julia's antics, along with the opportunity to do a giveaway, I couldn't resist.
In this latest, when James, the housekeeper for J.D. and Hazel Marie, falls and breaks his hand, he is unable to cook, leaving Hazel Marie --who can't even boil water--to cope with serving meals, cleaning house and taking care her husband, her teenaged son, and her less than a year old twin girls. Miss Julia of course, steps right in to solve Hazel Marie's problem. Her solution is to teach Hazel Marie to cook.
Her help results in a collection of cooking lessons and recipes that are right out of the Southern Cooking hall of fame. However, as in any Miss Julia story, the fun doesn't stop (or start) there. We have the ever obnoxious Uncle Vern who arrives to add to the chaos, when he moves in and begins bilking the ladies of the town for funds to open a "soup kitchen". Lloyd and James become engaged in some sort of internet/lottery scam scheme, Julia thinks J.D. is chasing another woman, and sets out to catch him red-handed. As usual our heroine manages to twist good intentions into a variety of mash-ups requiring help from all the friends,family and helpers in her life.
The recipes in the book are a large part of the fun. Everyone else seems to be doing "cookbook" versions of their stories, so why not Ann B. Ross? Although Miss Julia of course can't cook anything but basic grilled cheese, she manages to sweet-talk her trusty maid/cook/housekeeper, and other friends into "donating" recipes and lessons that are lots of fun. They are well-indexed in the book, and make this one a keeper for the cookbook shelf in your library even if the story is lighter than it might be.
If you like Miss Julia, if you like cooking, if you like Southern lit, this one's for you. It was published last week.
I have one copy to give away thanks to Viking/Penguin. Easy entry - no PO Boxes, leave me a comment saying why you want to win. Include your email address. Contest ends May 10th. I'll draw and announce on May 11th.
Title: Miss Julia Stirs Up Trouble (#14 of Miss Julia series)
Author: Ann B. Ross
Publisher: Viking Adult (2013), Hardcover, 368 pages
Genre: Southern Fiction
Subject: Housekeeping, cooking, family dysfunction
Setting: Abbotsville NC (fictional town)
Series: Miss Julia
Source: ARC from the publisher
Why did I read this book now? I love the series, and the publisher asked for a review.