Sunday, April 18, 2010

35. Miss Julia's School of Beauty by Ann B Ross

I just visited Ann B Ross's website and see that she has written a score of Miss Julia books.  I don't know where my read falls in the order of things but it became immediately apparent that I was not reading the first book.  Maybe if I had started at the first, I would have liked Miss Julia a bit better.  She's an older woman who is bound by convention and rules of etiquette.  Having just remarried by eloping a few weeks, she is distressed by the news that the marriage may not be legal.  Naturally, she tries to keep everything a secret to avoid public humiliation and also moves her new husband to an upstairs bedroom to satisfy her moral compass.  In the meantime, Hazel Marie, her first husband's mistress who now lives with Miss Julia (I know there is a great story here somewhere.  I may have to find this book and read it), has been put in charge of a local beauty pageant to raise money for the sheriff's canine unit.  She enlists Miss Julia's aid in training the contestants in manners and deportment.  There are some humorous situations going on within this book, but mostly, I found the characters to be a bit too cartoonish and Miss Julia too hidebound and judgemental.  I did like that sex is only alluded to although it crops up more often than Miss Julia is comfortable with.  She really is a prude, but also has a heart of gold when push comes to shove.  Her husband, Sam, is my favorite character.  He seems to have a twinkle in his eye all the time and handles Julia's concerns with a light touch.  He makes her much more likeable.  All in all, I found the book to be cute but a bit silly. 
Rating:  3.5

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